Tuesday, 20 November 2018 19:48

Transforming playing field into multi-sports attraction

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Toby Kingsbury, a director of a sports and leisure consultancy, unveiled the masterplan for a multi-sports attraction at Barnet playing fields in Dollis Valley Toby Kingsbury, a director of a sports and leisure consultancy, unveiled the masterplan for a multi-sports attraction at Barnet playing fields in Dollis Valley
A major redevelopment of Barnet playing fields in Dollis Valley could include the provision of a skate board park, children’s play areas, an outdoor gym as well as a series of new football pitches and a new community centre with indoor sports facilities.

A master plan showing how the green space off Barnet Lane might be transformed into a new sports attraction for High Barnet have been unveiled by consultants hired by Barnet Council to advise on a project that could cost several million pounds to deliver and might not be completed until 2023.

Local residents were given their first chance to see the latest plans at an open evening at the Hope Corner community centre organised by the Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy.

Comments are now being invited and the public are being asked to view the project and to take part in an online questionnaire on a dedicated page on Barnet Council’s website:
https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/Phase_2_Barnet_Playing-Fields

The deadline for comments is December 2. SLC would prepare a final report by January 25 which would then be worked up to form a feasibility report which would include costings and a business plan, ready for consideration by Barnet Council’s environment committee next March.

The masterplan shows the improvement proposed for Barnet playing fields and the adjoining King George V playing field, the other side of Dollis brook.

Significant changes are already being made to the area following the go ahead for the new Ark Academy school on the site of Underhill football stadium, the former home of Barnet Football Club.

What was formerly the pitch of Barnet Cricket Club is being converted into playing fields for the new academy, which opens next September, and on adjoining land there are new artificial and grass pitches for the Hadley Wood Sports Trust.

Under the masterplan, the land beside the Ark Academy playing fields would be redeveloped as a park for wheeled sports such as skate boards and scooters.

Next to the skate park would be a new adventure playground for children aged over seven, which would feature wooden structures for climbing, slides and zip wires.

In addition, there would be a separate play area for children aged up to six.

What came through so strongly when we talked to the community was the demands for facilities like a skate board park, adventure playgrounds and a community hub with a café and toilets

For older children and adults there would be an outdoor gym with static exercise and resistance machines for keeping fit.

All four areas would have free access.

In the centre of the redevelopment would a sports and community hub with indoor climbing frames for children, games areas for basketball and netball, two community rooms with multi-purpose activity space for exercise classes, dances, boxing, martial arts, and children’s gymnastics, and a community hub café.

The new hub would replace facilities currently provided at the Rainbow Centre on the Dollis Valley estate.

The area between the community hub and Dollis brook would be redeveloped to provide four new junior football pitches.

Across Dollis brook, the King George V playing field would be converted into a Gaelic football pitch, plus two practice areas, for St Kiernans Gaelic Football club, ready for when it moves from its current home at Montrose Park.

As part of the redevelopment, there would be a new footbridge across Dollis brook and there would be new footpaths and cycle paths to link up with the London Loop cycle path and the Dollis Valley green walk.

Toby Kingsbury, a director of SLC, told the Barnet Society that the masterplan builds on an earlier consultation with local residents.

“What came through so strongly when we talked to the community was the demands for facilities like a skate board park, adventure playgrounds and a community hub with a café and toilets.

“The other top priority was the need for new pedestrian and cycle paths so there was better access for walking, jogging and cycling, and an opening up of the area for greater community use.”

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9 comments

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 21 November 2018 18:32 posted by Louise Murphy

    I’d like to know with this new plan plus the ark academy, how local roads will cope with traffic and parking. It’s at a stand still most of th time now.
    The old Quinta club at the end of mays lane still stands, and this area is not so residential. Why can this not be done up? The fields are a beautiful area where in the summer pitches are marked up and used for football now. It has all you mentioned on a smaller scale and barely used. Why ruin a beautiful open space with concret and cafes. Aren’t there enough of those in our empty high street. Leave our green spaces alone.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 22 November 2018 12:34 posted by Carol Grieve

    Totally agree with the above comments...…………. put in football pitches & suchlike if you must but please, please don't build on the fields. The Quinta Club simply needs refurbishing (or even demolishing & rebuilding to accommodate some of the proposed elements). Any more activities in the fields will simply increase what is already a nightmare traffic load and there is already nowhere for people to park - if people drive to access the play areas, keep fit equipment, etc, the traffic & parking in the surrounding roads will be horrendous.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 24 November 2018 08:12 posted by David

    This is an amazing idea. Barnet is 100% missing a place where families can hang out. Strong support for this from everyone I have spoken to. The fields are great but having a community focal point will draw more people in to appreciate them.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 24 November 2018 15:59 posted by Mark

    The crossing over the road to the fields from the London Loop path is death trap. And now the Astro pitches are there, walking through the car park by the table tennis centre is also dangerous.
    So anything that fixes that is fantastic.

    But agree with others that the Mays Lane traffic is already a disgrace, and all these new attractions will make it worse.

  • Comment Link Monday, 26 November 2018 18:00 posted by Quinton Dighton

    Only a few days to have your say!!!
    -I support some of the improvements but at present the scheme is very large with some glaring problems. Size and landscaping don’t sufficiently reflect that this is green belt-
    -- Is a cycle lane on Fairfield Way/Grasvenor Ave proposed upto the park entrance? Its too narrow. If parking is lost this will compound problems already likely to be caused by the extended facilities and new Ark Academy.
    Skate park location is unsuitable- it will cause disturbance to nearby houses and is hidden by adventurous play making parents’ supervision difficult, possibly leading to bullying. Also tight site gives a built up rather than green look. Better located on other side of adventurous play near toddler play, outdoor gym etc so parents can supervise, perhaps instead of one or more junior pitches(4 proposed).
    -Extension to car park below Ark is very dangerous and unsuitable. Its’ already narrow and blocked when just one car turns/backs out. Extending further via a blind bend will lead to traffic queues, pollution and accidents.
    -Possible alternative making parking area wider by re-siting existing grass pitch or preferably a larger carpark where Gaelic pitch proposed with a re-sited foot/ cycle bridge across the brook.
    - Do we really need all 4 new Junior pitches and 2 Gaelic Football pitches plus indoor and outdoor play areas?
    - 3 m cycle routes in park very wide- 2 m adequate and would reduce the built-up look

    There is no funding agreed. Realistically only some parts are likely to be built in the near future so which bits do we want?

    Comments close on Dec 2nd https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/Phase_2_Barnet_Playing-Fields

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 28 November 2018 07:53 posted by Sam Barnes

    This is total madness. Why build on a lovely green space enjoyed by all. Gaelic football and a skate park.. really! The parking and traffic is already a nightmare, compounded when the school opens, and this scheme makes it worse. What about local residents coming home in the evening after a long day at work being unable to park, the noise in the evening and the fact that teenagers will be attracted to the area late at night. Clearly not thought through. Should be stopped immediately. Leave the green areas alone.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 28 November 2018 14:12 posted by Simon S.

    The scale of the proposed development is an ecological disaster for those many residents who live around these fields.
    The noise, pollution and traffic will exacerbate the problem we already have and together with the ark school, destroy the character of a lovely area..

    Anyone attempting to get to work will know the traffic nightmare we face now.
    What on earth will it be like a year from now!

    I agree we do need more communal facilities such as for the Rainbow Centre and limited sports and play areas, but 2 vast Gaelic pitches is absurd.

    There are other more suitable locations for much of what is planned.

  • Comment Link Friday, 30 November 2018 23:18 posted by Laura Ceccarelli

    The green belt should be left green!!!! No unsightly concrete skate-parks or buildings for indoor activity as there already will be the new Ark academy building facilities.
    A small cafe would be nice and some tasteful outdoor regeneration facilities with toilets/baby changing and a focal point for families is definitely needed.. But Less is more!!! Think carefully... Leave green space... make it environmentally friendly and user friendly to update this unloved, underfunded grim looking area. Uplift and a more urban feel is in needed without an overkill of all these extra theme-park style attractions! I’m thinking a family sunday stroll with a stop of at a locally run cafe, and maybe a central feature like a small lake, similar to verelilium park in St. Albans which has been tasteful transformed to a happy green space within the community. Please don’t ruin our green space for a skate ? park.. use a vacant warehouse in borehamwood for that. Not our peaceful green space!!

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 04 December 2018 11:00 posted by Local resident

    Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't one of the arguments against Barnet FC staying there about the congestion that was caused?

    A new school, new football pitches, new sports club, new play area - on top of already gridlocked roads...

    I bet they wish they'd never driven the club out of town now.

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