Saturday, 16 May 2015

Shepherd's Bush Debates Future of Hammersmith Park

Members of the public question the Council
At a meeting on thursday at the White City Community Centre, local residents questioned members of the Council about the future of Hammersmith Park, and what the recent changes to the proposals by Play Football might mean in practice. The meeting was nowhere near as bad-tempered as the last public hearing, when Play Football's Barry Hunter received a two hour public flogging from an angry crowd, but there was still a sense of frustration and anger from the many people who showed up.

Hammersmith Park
The new plans for Hammersmith Park look, on the face of it, much better than the old proposals. Play Football will no longer have a 35 year lease; instead they will have a 7 year management contract. So, claims that the park is being privatised no longer apply (Actually, Play Football is a charity run for the benefit of civil servants who play football. It's not really a private company at all, more a branch of government).

There will also be two tennis courts and a multi-use games area (MUGA) which also means fewer football pitches. So, there have been some very meaningful concessions made to the original proposals.   Below you can see a picture of what the original scheme looked like.

The new plans are still in the consultation process - hence the meeting. But you can see roughly what they might look like in the image below. There are three proposed options, all fairly similar, of which Option C below is one.

So the basic difference is that on the south side of the development there will be fewer football pitches.  Replacing them will be two tennis courts, a games area, and more green space.

Many of the questions for the Council were essentially the same question posed in different ways, and amounted to "Can't we just get rid of Play Football and do what we want?".  The Council representatives explained patiently (many times) that Play Football have a contract, and are entitled to enforce it. The current changes to the original proposals have come about through negotiation, and the fact that Play Football are willing to make any changes at all is down to public pressure and the good offices of the Council negotiators. Contracts can't simply be torn up.

Members of the public are invited to make their views known. To participate in the official consultation, follow this link.

The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. Read about the Campaign to Save Hammersmith Park, find out about our new Farmer's Market, see what's on at The Bush Theatre, find out the latest news on the future of Shepherd's Bush Market, and the Council's plans to upgrade the Goldhawk Road and the Uxbridge Road. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at

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