We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Hook Road Arena not suitable for Sports Pitches!

May 1, 2008 3:10 PM
Jon and Simon

Cllr Lees (R) with Simon Hughes MP : they canvassed views of young people in Epsom during the last election

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has abandoned attempts to find a sports use for part of Hook Road Arena, despite a development strategy which says it should increase provision of outdoor sports pitches and recreation.

Hours of discussions, meetings of a specially commissioned working party plus the advertising costs involved in seeking expressions of interest from sports providers have all been a waste of time. The council voted by majority on 29th April to keep things as they are at present.

The council's Audit of Open Space conducted in 2006 (part of its more formal Core Strategy) had identified Hook Road Arena as a significant area of green space which could be considered for improvements and also recommended that a better relationship is formed with football clubs. Lib Dem councillors wanted to continue discussions with sports providers who were interested in using part of the Arena for football or for a golf driving range, but were outvoted at a meeting of the full council on 29th April. The Lib Dems claim that a workable formula to deal with concerns about traffic and usage had not been discussed at all and say that abandoning the idea at such an early stage is premature and poor judgement.

Cllr Jonathan Lees (Stamford), deputy leader of the Lib Dem group of councillors, said

"Any kind of sports facility is going to create traffic but the Arena has a huge new road system well able to cope. After all, we're not talking about building a stadium here and the area concerned is only a part of the whole Arena! The council acknowledges that it underprovides for the 12-18 age group but unless it is prepared to consider the broader picture and accept its own policies, things won't change. Residents' Party councillors put just about every other consideration before the needs of young people and fail to see that using part of this green space will preserve its amenity value for the future."

He continued

"we can only hope that central government doesn't tamper with Green Belt status and we end up being forced to have a massive housing development on the site instead."