Warren Farm Sports Centre is an open public space and categorised as Metropolitan Open Land (MOL Policy 17.7 page 232). It is Ealing's largest sports ground, with up to 20 football pitches and six cricket pitches in summer being on well drained land. Sports clubs were using the site mainly at the weekend. Part of Brent River Park the site has a conservation area that runs alongside Windmill Lane from where Little Owls can be spotted. It is referenced several times in the Ealing Unitary Development Plan categorised as part of the Brent River Park Nature Conservation Management Area as well as having local and strategic viewpoints to the east. It is currently derelict, with limited maintenance and in use by local residents for recreational purposes with no official sports activities taking place.
It was actively used by the following User Groups:
The Sports Centre has seen better days and there is an immediate need for Ealing Council to reduce costs. Ealing Council have selected QPR football club as their preferred partner to develop the site for use as a Category 1 Football Training Academy (all part of the Football Associations EPPP) and Community facility. Indications are that QPR will invest in the region of £30 million into the site. The following facilities and services were proposed in 2012 as available to the community in the plans submitted to Ealing Council alongside the Training Academy:
An Advisory Panel has been established and meets every 3 months with representation from local resident groups, community groups, QPR Community Trust, Ealing Council and sporting governing bodies to provide on going consultation before and during operation of the facility and to develop a community plan for the facility. Members of the Advisory Panel toured the site on April 22nd 2013 with representatives of QPR, Ealing Council and Local Safer Neighbourhoods Policing team.
During public consultations a number of responses have been expressed, both positive and negative. The list below is not exhaustive, please get in touch if you wish to add anything here:
A local resident has set up a petition against the proposals and further comments may be viewed there.
Hanwell Community Forum have launched a legal challenge with the support of the Green Party against the planning decision and are seeking funds to assist with this cause here.
A web site, www.savewarrenfarm.com voices opposition to the plans.
Since 2009 Ealing Council have undertaken a strategic review of sports in the Borough and developed a plan which has included Warren Farm Sports Centre as of strategic importance. the plan has been endorsed by Sport England.
The intention as indicated by Ealing Council in their Pre-Qualification Questionnaire is to dispose of the Warren Farm Sports Centre by way of a long lease of up to 200 years to an organisation with the ability to rebuild high quality sporting facilities which are also accessible for community use at an affordable cost. The selected partner must be able to deliver a scheme that is acceptable in an area of Metropolitan Open Land and demonstrates the ability to provide sport and leisure facilities for the benefit of the community as a whole.
Ealing Council decided in an urgent agenda item at a council cabinet meeting in December 2011 to approve the marketing of a maximum 200 year lease of the site. The decision passed scrutiny after concerns were raised about the unusual length of the lease. Bidders were sought in response to a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire. A short list was selected and bidders responded to a Request For Proposal (RFP) issued by Ealing Council.
A decision on the successful partner was announced on 14th May 2012 and QPR Football Club were selected as the preferred partner. Community consultations occurred on 14th June 2012, 20th November 2012, 24th January 2013, and 26th February 2013 with representatives of Ealing Council, QPR and associated companies presenting and taking questions from members of the public. Comments have been submitted on the plans by interested parties. The comments and plans were reviewed and debated at the Planning Committee meeting held on 24th April 2013. The planning application was granted by the Planning Committee and has subsequently been reviewed by the Mayor of London's office (Boris Johnson) and The Secretary of State for Communities (Eric Pickles) without comment. A letter of intent to file a claim for Judicial Review was received by Ealing Council from Hanwell Community Forum. The Council officer decision to enter into a development agreement with QPR was upheld after 90 minutes of debate on 15th August 2013 at an Ealing Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting. An application for a Judicial Review was filed with the Royal Courts of Justice on 30th January 2014 by Hanwell Community Forum. The claim for a Judicial Review was granted by a Judge, and the process proceeded to the courts for a Judge to review. The Judge ruled against the appeal both formal and a subsequent Oral appeal. Preliminary site works such as surveys have been undertaken on site at QPR risk. New plans were submitted in April 2015 which have been scaled back in size and budget. QPR are in the process of selecting a contractor to work with the architects to provide detailed plans of the design and then construct the facilities with the goal being to open them for the 2017/18 football season.
The original intention from QPR was to have the training grounds ready for the 2013/2014 football season, however having secured the preferred bidder spot from Ealing Council, the timetable shifted out to the 2014/15 season instead to allow time for more detailed design, planning and consultation. A challenge by a local residents group in Hanwell delayed any progress while a Judicial Review process was undertaken. The intention now is to open the centre for sports activities commending in 2017. The original architects have changed and Populous appointed who have an extensive pedigree of sports facility design (having designed the stadium for the London 2012 Olympic Games amongst others). Planning permission has been granted. A development agreement was signed on 20th Dec 2013 between Ealing Council and QPR. A Section 106 agreement has been signed. Ultimately a 200 year lease agreement will be signed with QPR only when the construction is complete. QPR have invested in refurbishing their existing training grounds at Harlington (article here) which will provide them some time. In the meantime, Warren Farm will likely remain as it is in an under utilised and derelict condition pending the promised investment to be realised from QPR.
The opinions expressed in the content below are that of the original author on Twitter:
Here's a short video clip on some of the activities of QPR in the Community Trust who are seeking to manage and operate the community facilities for Warren Farm. It's a reasonable reflection of what the local community can expect should the proposals go ahead:
While a Development Agreement has been signed between Ealing Council and QPR, opposition groups believe that alternative options should still be explored. One such option is to develop the site for 100% Community use along the same lines as that taken with The Hub at Regents Park. David Morley were the architects and details of the project can be found here.
This web site was built in March 2012 and is a place where individuals and organisations can find and share information and views on the proposed plans to redevelop Warren Farm Sports Centre and keep abreast of news relating to the Sports Centre.
The web site is focussed towards the Community aspects of the Sports Centre, leaving the QPR aspects to established football supporter web sites to report.
If you have information about the proposals or wish to contribute then please get in touch by contacting us here, or use the contacts section of this site to direct your feedback to the parties involved.
The site itself is neither for nor against the proposals, but does wish to reflect the needs of the user groups, immediate and local community and is compiled and edited by a local resident.
Any views expressed on this site in the discussion or user groups sections belong to the views of the individuals or groups concerned and are not representative of the site as a whole or those responsible for it. Links to others sites from this site do not imply an endorsement of the content of the linked site and vice versa.
References to this site require prior permission. Press and media should contact us for further details. If you feel that any copyright infringement has occurred with material on this site, then please get in touch so that we can work together to ensure that the relevant information is shared legally.