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Haringey is in the position that it must make cuts in its expenditure over the next several years, and spending on parks and recreation facilities has not escaped the chop. My own particular interest in Finsbury Park is in the running track, although the cuts will also mean a deterioration in groundskeeping generally and litter picking.

An announcement in the the most recent Haringey People suggested that control of the running track would pass outside the council, but that some funding would pass with the control:

"White Hart Lane Community Sports Centre and the Finsbury Park track and gym will be leased to local sport clubs or agencies, while funding will be redirected to the voluntary sector, allowing them to deliver some services"

 

The email I have just received states otherwise.  See below.

 

Dear Adrian

 

Thank you for your enquiry regarding Finsbury Park Track & Gym

 

The Council has formally decided that officers should seek 3rd party interest to operate and manage this facility. The only alternative to this is regretfully closure of the facility. Currently the facility is costing the Council approximately £50K per annum to operate. Given the budgetary cuts the Council has been forced to make (Recreation Services must make a 50% cut to its budget over the next three years) we are therefore looking to lease the facility to a third party at no future cost to the Council.

 

To specifically answer your questions:

 

  • Haringey Council is not proposing to make any funding available to the private/3rd /community sector to operate the facility
  • There is no readily available money but officers have given advice and put the current stakeholders in touch with HAVCO (Haringey’s umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector) to assist them in their efforts to lever in external funding
  • We have not yet finalised our criteria but we are looking for a solution we hope will:
    • Save the council £50K per annum in operating costs
    • Promote sports development
    • Protect current stakeholders
    • Ensure the facility remains available to the community in some form
  • Current staffing arrangements across the whole of Recreation are subject to restructuring at this time and the full implications of this are not yet known. There is one staff member on site with a permanent contract, other staff members are agency workers
  • We hope to retain public access as per present. However we recognise that potential tenants may not find this viable and therefore this aspect will probably be a matter for negotiation with the preferred bidder
  • We will be advertising this opportunity shortly and will update the public throughout the process via Haringey’s website (the Finsbury Park page), customer newsletters and stakeholder meetings

 

Regards

Andrea Keeble

Sport & Recreation Programme Manager

 

Recreation Services

3rd Floor

40 Cumberland Rd

N22 7SG

 

020 8489 5712

0787 015 7940

 

Tags: athletics, finsbury park, lease, track

Views: 255

Replies to This Discussion

I know that personally this would be a considerable nuisance to me. I have documented my geriatric athletics skills and the existence of training facilities so close at hand has helped me tremendously. Lee Valley is a drive and Parliament Hill a longish bike ride, with training at the end - Finsbury Park is but a jog away. 

Putting my personal convenience to one side is this an important question. I think so:

Parks generally - part of the spectacle of the recent Royal Wedding was the greenery so close and the crowds in Hyde and Green Parks - parks generally are an important part of London and should be maintained

Athletics - this is the year before the London Olympics - part of the legacy should not be a derelict and abandoned track and clubhouse in Finsbury Park

Obesity - has been described as an epidemic - training and exercise should surely be made more available not less

Youth Services - I am something of an exception at training nights - most of the athletes are aged from about 11 up to early 20s - under the supervision of older, wiser heads - rather like a youth club

Public Safety - presumably if the track does not find a new keeper, then the gates will be locked and the doors and windows boarded up, almost like an invitation to graffitists, squatters, vandals and delinquents

Public Access - one of the options the council is considering is allowing a tenant to take the track and close it to the public

Appearances - the track is a big part of the Park - if it is abandoned and becomes a blight, then the whole ambience of the park will change

 

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