Sunday, 13 April 2014

Threat To Local Cricket

Back in November, the blog reported on the threatened sell off of the Old Salesians Playing Fields in Ewell where many Worcester Park Cricket Club games are played. A couple of days ago David Stemp from the club contacted the blog to say their worst fears have been realised.

David told the blog:
"Within the past week Abbeyfield Homes have submitted a plan to Epsom and Ewell Planning Department to build 60 homes upon the site. If the plan comes to fruition it will be disastrous for all those youngsters in Worcester Park who are keen to play club cricket in the summer months. Whereas 30 years ago there were over 20 grounds which could be hired from the London Borough of Sutton, there are now NONE. It is vital we try to protect Old Salesians Playing Fields as it is one of the closest, available cricket squares we can use. 
Old Salesians is used in the summer primarily by our 3rd and 4th XI League teams on a Saturday and our Colts on a Sunday. The ground is also used by Ewell Castle School, Dom Bosco School,  St Clements School and Old Salesians Football Club. Old Salesians turn out 6 soccer sides on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. After 83 years on the site, and after having built their own clubhouse, they are due to be evicted if the plan goes ahead. 
The plan will also be disastrous for the local residents in Ewell as it will greatly increase the amount of traffic in an already congested  village and will do nothing at all to alleviate the threat of flooding. The flood waters in front of Bourne Hall have only just disappeared. The Environmental Agency indeed has classified part of the site as being highly likely to flood. 
Epsom have allotted 20 sites which can be developed by 2020 but none of these were good enough for the developers who want to rob the youngsters of the area of some of our precious playing fields."
The plans can be viewed on the Epson & Ewell Borough Council website here. Concerned residents and cricketers have have formed an action group to try to protect these valuable playing fields. There is a meeting of the Ewell Village Residents Association next Wednesday, the 16th, at Bourne Hall at 8:00pm where the Action Group plan to garner as much public support as possible.

It is this bloggers view that
"Local sport is extremely important to the local community. As well as providing a focal point and common interest that can bring local people together, keeping them fit and healthy, it also provides vital opportunities for young people to grow, learn discipline, learn how to be part of a team as well as giving them something fun and exiting to do. Protecting our sporting venues is of the utmost importance."
There is also an online petition to save the playing fields. If you value local sport and cricket, please sign the petition here.