THIS is an open letter to Mr Kam Sangha. I notice that your title incorporates the word "asset" and this is what will be lost if cordonedoff sports pitches take over the open land in Elthorne Park.
An open space enjoyed by many will be restricted to use by the few. Although I am an ex-dog owner who positively hopes to come across a dog walker so that I can make a fuss of their pet, I have sympathy with the idea of poo-free grass. I see most people clearing up after their pets but there is one ignorant dogowner who finds it amusing to bag the poo and then throw the bag in the bushes or trees. But this land is used by all kinds of people, not just dog owners.
The following are my reasons for objecting to the proposal.
I know the council has to be seen to tick the Olympics box but it should not do so for the benefit of one group over another. Sports pitches will be used pretty well exclusively by young males. Let your imagination range freely for a moment. Can you imagine a piece of land this size being given over for the exclusive use of older women? No, I didn't think so. It makes you laugh, doesn't it? Sports pitches will only be used at certain times on certain days rather than being in constant use as the land is now. So not only would this land become the preserve of the few but the use of it would also be greatly reduced.
A large chunk of land has already been commandeered within the park (behind the school) for basketball and five-aside football. I never seen women (of any age) using this space.
As well as depriving the majority of people from access to the land they have enjoyed for many years (in my case 24 years), it would also restrict animals from ranging naturally. People and animals would be penned into restricted areas. The government/councils want to have their cake and eat it. On the one hand we are bombarded with information about London losing its wildlife, how important it is for the mental and physical well-being of people (all people, not just young men) to get out into the open air, and on the other hand, they are building on every available space and taking away our open land.
We have few natural, open space areas in Ealing where one can feel safe when walking and I don't want to lose this one. I don't drive. Elthorne Park is the nearest open space to my home and I go there frequently.
As an older woman, I want to be able to continue to wander as and where I please and I don't want to be trapped on a narrow, fenced-in path from which there is no escape should it be necessary. It is, of course, not only women who need to be wary. The middle-aged husband of a friend was mugged on the canal path below Elthorne Park.
I know the nearby motorway and the planes can be noisy but in the gaps in between I want to continue to hear the birds singing, not men shouting and swearing.
I note that very little warning of these proposed changes has been given and that the time period included the Easter holidays when many people are away.
GILLIAN BROWN West Ealing