Labour forces through building over Sutcliffe Park

A controversial plan to build an indoor athletics track and car park over a large chunk of grass in Sutcliffe Park was forced through by the Labour Council’s leadership on Tuesday night.


The plan was opposed by four Councillors (including both Conservatives) but rammed through by three Labour Cabinet Members and the whip (using his casting vote) after a 4-4 drawn vote. 


Speaking against the proposal, the Chair of the Friends of Sutcliffe Park told the Planning Board that the group had been “treated with contempt” and Chair of the Greenwich Parks Forum Dr Terry Powley said that the plan contravened many of the Council’s own policies. 


Given the level of opposition from local residents it appeared that an attempt had been made to withdraw the car park from the application at the last minute while simultaneously leaving it on all of the plans.  


Spencer said “This blatant attempt to hoodwink residents was not appropriate and the whole application needed to be withdrawn.  The athletics centre would be a lot less controversial if it could be shifted towards the existing track. Instead of building a car park where many people play football or train the athletes could use the John Roan car park which is opposite Sutcliffe Park.” 

The plan for the development contained in Council papers is shown below:

Spencer continued “This was another disgraceful decision, with Labour Councillors forcing through a building on green space in complete contravention of their own policies.  The attempt to pretend that the car park was not being considered tonight despite its inclusion in the documents, maps and slides was a farce which residents saw right through.”


“It is a real shame as the idea of an indoor athletics centre on the site is not a bad one, but because of lack of consultation with local residents and park users, the plan is completely inappropriate.  A building within the existing athletics track’s boundary would have been widely supported, but the tarmacing over of the whole south west corner of the park where groups play football, rugby and train seems completely inappropriate for what will be an elite sporting facility.” 


“We have seen this kind of plan before when the Council tried to build over Eltham Park and only Conservative Councillors seem to have any success in opposing the Labour Council’s attempts to concrete over our woods and parks.”