sharing news and views from Crouch End and Hornsey
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.
"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.
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:
Sport & Recreation Programme Manager
40 Cumberland Rd
020 8489 5712
0787 015 7940
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