The new secondary school, Heartlands High School, which has been built alongside the railway near Alexandra Palace Station, does not have any playing fields.
On two sides it would extend 10 or 12 metres into what is known as ‘the cricket scrub’: i.e. the raised area covered in small trees and bushes between the clubhouse and the edge of the old race track. The ‘cricket scrub’ is an important area for nesting birds, and it would be seriously damaged by the excavation necessary to construct the ‘MUGA’.
The Club would like to have the MUGA so that their members could train there in the evenings, and it would provide the school with a pitch to use when the grass pitches are unplayable.
Funding of the MUGA by Building Schools for the Future and the Football Foundation has not yet been secured, and a planning application has to be submitted to Haringey. That is expected at the end of this year (2011).
Although the benefits to the school and Club are evident, the Friends of the Park have expressed serious concern over the impact, within a conservation area, of a substantial fenced and floodlit installation which removes significant wildlife habitat. The public will have a chance to comment when the planning application is published.