In a positive move for the local campaign to preserve Udney Park playing fields for community sport, Munira secured a commitment from Sports Minister Stuart Andrew to raise the issue with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

The future of Teddington’s Udney Park has been in question since 2015, when it was sold to developers after a community bid was rejected. With the lack of playing fields space for training and fixtures a significant issue for local sports clubs – and with Udney Park up for sale again – Munira and other campaigners are again urging the current owner to sell to community interest groups.

In her question to Minister Andrew in Parliament, Munira asked him to join her, local sports groups and the local authority in backing the community bid from the Udney Park Community Fields Foundation, chaired by Jonathan Dunn. The foundation recently applied for assistance via the Government’s Community Ownership Fund, which would aid in the acquisition and restoration of the site.

“It has been incredibly sad to see the playing fields go to rack and ruin over the past decade as successive developers have failed to build on it, especially with so many sports club in our area absolutely desperate for pitch time,” says Munira. “I was pleased to hear the Minister’s commitment to raise the plight of Udney Park with DLUHC, and will continue to press for the return of these precious playing fields to the community for everyone to enjoy.”

Apart from being an important sporting site, Udney Park is also a critical part of a connected ecology network of local parks and river embankments. The Udney Park Community Fields Foundation has proposed refurbishing the park pavilion and providing a fully equipped gym, community rooms, and space for a community café. Their plans also include a jogging track, cricket pitches, a children’s playground and an outdoor gym area.

Last year, Munira highlighted the Udney Park campaign in a debate in Parliament on women and girls’ participation in sport (here).