'Sports fields in need of repair', claims Lambeth Councillor
Playing fields used by schoolchildren for competitive sports have fallen into a state of disrepair because of a council’s neglect, it has been claimed.
Opposition councillors allege the pitches in Rosendale Road, West Norwood, are no longer being allocated a budget by Lambeth Council to keep them up to club standards.
The site, which hosts matches for the Lambeth Schools Football League and games for children from Rosendale Primary School, receives occasional maintenance from residents and young offenders working as part of the council’s Community Freshview programme.
But Conservative councillor Clare Whelan, who represents Thurlow Park ward, said she continued to face an “uphill struggle” to obtain proper provisions for the grounds.
Following a meeting between pitch users and councillors on June 1, she claimed the council was “not engaging” with voluntary groups who had offered to take over the full-time running of the pitches.
She said: “There is still a complete void in terms of long-term maintenance. So what I am still trying to do is to provide some kind of commitment to maintain the pitches properly.
“The whole thing is still a dreadful mess and yet we are short of playing fields space in the borough.
“The council are just not really engaging and I think it’s all an uphill struggle.”
But in response to Coun Whelan’s question submitted to a full council meeting for Thursday(June 21), Councillor Rachel Heywood, cabinet member for children and families, said she was committed to finding a “sustainable future” for the playing fields.
She said although “limited funding” was available to pay for repairs, she was keen to explore alternative maintenance options.
She said: “However much money was found to do quite a lot of work on the tennis courts, we did not then set money aside to maintain them. A lot of brambles have grown up and there’s no groundsman.
“Despite the financial climate I feel it would be timely to explore the possibility of reviving earlier plans, such as community fundraising events and sponsorship, to improve the fields and to secure a sustainable future for them.”