For many years the Liberal Democrats have been supportive of initiatives to improve access to youth club services for our residents in Chiswick and Acton.
The Southfield Ward Forum, which the Liberal Democrats chair, has funded W4 Youth on two occasions to help provide a range of activities for teenagers in the area such as football and table tennis.
After many years of hearing about possible plans for a youth club on Southfield Rec, by surprise it appeared on the agenda of a Council meeting this week with no up-front briefing for Southfield ward Councillors to ask questions. This approach is very regrettable as residents and Councillors will have lots of questions and it would make sense to ensure they are dealt with in an organised fashion.
There are implications on requiring planning permission (the Council told ward Councillors that the only buildings that can be sited on Southfield Rec would be those that relate to maintaining the grounds such as for tool storage) so it appears the Council is by passing its own rules when it wants to without taking into account the views of residents who might be affected such as those living in the South Western section on Wilkinson Way or Southfield Road.
The Council plan to grant a 99-year lease to W4 Youth for the construction of a community sports hub including a car park. The suggested uses include: Youth clubs (street dance club, drama club), sports facilities (T20 cricket club, football pitches), a café and administrative offices for the charity.
It also appears that the lease will allow the football pitches and tennis courts to be hired out. We have asked whether the Council has consulted the current users of the football pitches and the tennis courts but so far not had a response.
I am in favour of improving the facilities for local people but these types of initiatives should be done by involving residents as well as local Councillors so that a better outcome can be achieved.
As it stands currently there are lots of questions and it appears that the Council should have asked to attend the Southfield Ward Forum meeting that was held in the last two weeks.
This would have been an opportunity to put forward proposals, listen to concerns and answer questions so that any proposals will be better for all.
For the Council to shun the local residents' association, residents and ward Councillors is deplorable.
The proposals can be seen here on the Council’s website (report 14).
If you have any views please let me know at email@example.com