Opponents to seek judicial review over 'privatisation' of public asset
Campaigners say Ealing Council will today (22nd October) sign away protected Open Land to Queens Park Rangers football club for a ‘peppercorn rent’.
The football club plan to develop a £30million sports complex at the 60-acre Warren Farm site on Windmill Lane in Southall after being given the go-ahead by Ealing Council.
Nic Ferriday, chairman of the Brent River & Canal Society, said, “This is privatisation of public assets. A large area of green open space is being stolen from the public and given to an unaccountable big business.”
The council’s valuers, Kushman and Wakefield, have valued the land at £1.8 to £2.25 million pounds. But opponents - ‘Save Warren Farm’ group - say this is despite the planning permission which makes the land hugely valuable.
They estimate the land with planning permission in the region of £32.5m.
Ealing council claims there will be community benefits. Existing changing rooms have become become derelict and QPR would build some new ones. QPR would also run at their expense the few remaining (sub-size) football pitches. The council claims there will be around £8 million of community benefits, but campaigners say no details or guarantees have been seen.
Mr Ferriday added: “The council has a responsibility to achieve best value for its residents, both financially and in non-financial terms. The council has manifestly failed to do this on Warren Farm. The council has closed ranks with even the Audit Committee turning a blind eye to the giveaway.”
A council spokesperson said: “The development agreement between the council and QPR is expected to be signed next week, once the legal documentation has been finalised and approved.
“As part of the agreement, QPR will commit to significant investment in Warren Farm and its public facilities. A Community Sports Development Programme (CSDP) has also been drawn up, which would see QPR offer a range of sport programmes for local people as well as other opportunities to take part in community activities.”
Despite local opposition, Ealing council is pressing ahead with the deal. The community is planning to take Ealing council to court, by means of Judicial Review.
22nd October 2013