PETITIONERS want a replay of a run-off between two groups who competed to redevelop Whitchurch Playing Fields.
Constituents are lobbying Harrow Council’s Labour ruling group to void its decision to lease the site and its dilapidated pavilion in Wemborough Road, Stanmore, to a commercial group, Whitchurch Consortium, rather than a local sports club collective such as Harrow RFC.
Councillor Barry Macleod-Cullinane (Conservative) said the project had relied on an out-of-date research report and Whitchurch Consortium’s proposals to rebuild the pavilion and improve sports facilities in the playing fields had been ‘imposed’ on locals.
He told a public meeting at Stanmore Library on Thursday: “Consultation is the thing that is singularly lacking, about how we use it as a resource. We have to make sure we don’t spoil it for future generations.
“Having a planning policy and planning brief is crucial and Labour has just driven the decision through.”
Maurice Leaman of Harrow RFC said the club had outgrown its Wood Lane home and had promised less intensive and less commercially exploitative use of the land if it had won the lease, thanks to a financial gift to the club.
Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar, portfolio holder for property at Harrow Council, admitted to the Observer it was an error to suggest ward councillors had been consulted prior to the decision but stood by the choice. Andrew Trehern, corporate director of place shaping, apologised for the mistake.
Whitchurch Consortium will consult on its proposals ahead of a planning application later this year.