Teddington Sports Ground

MQT on 2015-07-15
Session date: 
July 15, 2015
Question By: 
Tony Arbour
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Given your concerns about the loss of playing fields in London, do you share my concerns about the potential sale and development of the 13-acre Teddington Sports Ground owned by Imperial College, in breach of covenants designed to ensure that the Ground be used for sport in perpetuity, and will you do all that you can to ensure that these valued playing fields are protected?


Answer for Teddington Sports Ground

Answer for Teddington Sports Ground

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.  Thank you very much, Tony, for raising this with me.  The London Plan policy is absolutely clear that you cannot have a loss of open space unless you have equivalent or better provision.  No application has been made for this site.  I note that it was donated to Saint Mary’s Medical School by Lord Beaverbrook [20th century British businessman] and later taken over by Imperial College London in 1937 specifically for use as rugby union pitches.  It would be an absolute scandal and an outrage if that land was lost for that purpose.  However, I hope that has not prejudiced any discretion I may have if the matter were to come before me.

Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chair):  Mr Mayor, thank you for using the phrase ‘absolute scandal and outrage’.  That is exactly what the locals feel.

I know that you do not want to prejudice your position on this.  However, given that this is a public body dedicated to sound mind and sound body that wants to close down a sports ground, which was left to them, as you have rightly said, to continue to be a sports ground in a borough which despite its wonderful name and wonderful provisions actually has a shortage of play space, in the place where the Rugby Union World Cup is to be played, I wonder if you could possibly use your moral suasion - which has nothing to do with your planning powers - to say to the great and the good who serve on the board of Imperial College that they are betraying their trust in seeking to dispose of this property, which was left, as I say, for sporting purposes?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I do not want to go any further than the already colourful language I have used in this matter.  My general view is that you should keep green space in London and rugby pitches should be regarded as sacrosanct. 

Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chair):  Thank you, Mr Mayor.