Anger over plans for Ham games area

Cage: The games area is not supported by some

Cage: The games area is not supported by some

First published in News Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Unhappy people in Ham have objected to proposed games area being built on their village green.


Nearly 200 objection letters have appeared on Richmond Council’s website, with residents arguing they were not consulted before the proposals were put in place.


Richmond Council will consider the plans at a planning meeting on September 6.


The multi-use games area (Muga) would measure 14x28m with a four metre fence and four floodlights surrounding it.


The structure would be adjacent to Ham Youth Centre off Ashburnham Road can be used for sports such as football and basketball.


Residents are concerned and influx of youths means the proposed Muga will cause an increase of noise, litter and graffiti in the area.


On hearing of the application, Alison Esau of Wiggins Lane began to ask other residents if they were notified of the planning application.


She said: “Of all the people I spoke to none of them knew anything about it and everybody was absolutely horrified. Councillors have very much been keeping this under their hats and have done their very best to conceal it as they know there is going to be a stream of protests.”


Others living near the green said the Muga was not needed due to the range of sports areas nearby, such as cricket, football and tennis facilities at King George’s field in Ham Street.


Another Wiggins Lane resident complained about the aesthetics of the proposed structure and said the green was enjoyed by families in the area.


She said: “They want to put up a metal prison type compound taking a great big chunk out of the green.”


The plans have been put forward despite locals voting conservation of parks and green spaces as a top priority in the All in One survey.


Richmond Council held a pre-planning consultation for residents on April 10, but people in the area said they knew nothing about it.


A spokesman for Richmond Council said: “The area will be supervised and monitored by the council to prevent an increase in littering or graffiti. If the plan is to go ahead a provision of a new green space at the front of the centre has already been agreed.”


The proposed Muga resulted from a survey of 520 young people who were given the choice between the games area of a cafe in the youth centre in which 419 voted for the games area.


Councillor Christine Percival, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Boredom and a lack of facilities are often the root causes of antisocial behaviour and youth violence in our community, so one of our key priorities is to provide local young people with appropriate spaces where they can spend their spare time in a positive way.”

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