Sunday 25 October 2020

Bowling Green Pavilion - UPDATE on Planning Re-Designation by Wandsworth Council

A brief update as of 2-March-2021, while still in lockdown three. Indeed Wandsworth Council's Planning Application Committe earned the community-activism a reprieve from the crazy-golf developers. This is from newsletter of a respected Wandsworth Councillor Tony Belton on the PAC:

Of course the dragged-in-mud reputation of "Putt-In-The-Park" enterprise does not interefere with their entrepreneurial avarice, and have subsequently appealled the decision to Wandsworth and the central planning inspectorate.

The many in the local community are pushing-back against such crazy-golf development in preferring Common land stay in Common community hands. The arguments for preservation are many. Ranging from plastic-pollution to loss-of-sporting amenity of the development proposal. Yet conservatorship of Clapham Common falling on Lambeth Council hands, offer the argument: that they cannot maintain bowling-greens sustainably due to financial-budget pressures. Not the bean-counters fault, but perennial mismanagement by Lambeth Council is my personal observation.

So we have one final re-course to figh-the-power
The deadline for submitting objections is March 8th quoting reference no. COM/3268390 and they go to :-

Reference No. COM/3268390.
Putt in the Park. Bowling Greens, Clapham Common, SW4 9AN
Dear Sir/Madam...
First you should say briefly where you live, if you are local, and that you don't approve of the project.
You should give some of the arguments against it. Please feel free to use the ones we've listed below. (See Cllr. Belton planning-clarified argument above)
Finish by urging the Inspectorate to refuse the application.
Yours faithfully,

Write in to Consultation by 28th October 2020 - Hurry HERE! or search "Plannning application for Pavillion 2020/253
Clapham Common Bowling Green in in Aug'17

I hope residents living around the Clapham Common green space, will object strongly, or indeed otherwise, to the re-designation of the Bowling Green Pavilion: "Change of use from D2 Pavilion to A3 - Restaurants and cafes". I and a few other reidents expressed concern in April 2019 when I posted original note Clapham Common Westside Bowling Green Closure.

My objection to the whole idea of crazy-golf articulated as “Putting In The Park” is simple. I for one really do not want a part the common land belonging to generations of past and present taxpayers hived-off / leased to private enterprise to run and manage for profit, or even for non-profit impetus. It simple because its says so on the tin; its in the name of our park “Clapham Common”. “Common” land for us, the locals and residents.

From that over-arching principle – we do still have them in this fair but firm land – many arguments for and against re-designation from bowling-green facility to crazy-golf can and has been made surely. From a political perspective, Lambeth Council have conceded they do not have the financial budget to manage and operate lawn-bowling outdoors without loss of income (instead its offering one indoor carpet bowling in Brixton). Lambeth officialdom of Councillors and managers have also got rid off lawn bowling greens in nearby Brockwell Park. Yet Tory / Conservative managed council Wandsworth, through outsourced “Enable” maintain lawn-bowling facilities at two of its centres on Wandsworth Common and St Georges Park, I believe.

So the falacious argument that bowling is in poor demand by gentle Wandsworth residents is NOT the over-riding reason, but that Lambeth maintained the bowling green in poor state i.e. did not resurface the lawn but paid one groundsman “Steve” c.£30k annually for its up-keep, toiling against the odds. Therefore serious bowling-enthusiasts did not use Clapham Common bowling, only occasional young revellers with their beer-bottles in hand used facility. That the moribund state Lambeth managed the facility towards. The rationale for bowling-green re-designation should not be Lambeth management incompetency. And its adjunct implication of wasted taxpayer funds.

 (Towards joined-up-thinking it should be here noted that Lambeth Council taxpayers have allocated £210,000 to re-surface a large chunk of the Northside of the Common in preparation for commercial “events”, with tougher grass (less conducieve to fauna) and better drainage – when two bowling greens couldn’t be re-surfaced and operated. Labour-controlled Lambeth Council would seem to have Tory aspirations towards capitalism too!)

 That was only eloaborating on the political perspective allied to Council finances which would seem to dictate this change of use from its original intended purpose. “Conservatism” seems dead from local political-powers, that of conserving benefit for the future residents and taxpayers.
Other Principal Considerations: 
1. Covid19 / pandemic has highlighted necessity of PRESERVING public open-spaces sports like bowling
2. Wandsworth residents will be SUBSIDIZING Lambeth taxpayers
3. Change to a restaurant from sports-purpose usually accomodates an ALCOHOL license
4. Idyllic corner of Clapham Common Westside will become SUPER-CHARGED in nature
5. Astro-turf crazy-golf features is insulting to GREEN-ENVIRONMENT trends

Posted by local resident of 40+ years, and now Clapham Common tennis-coach and activist Krishna Siva, please contact me on for further information.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Clapham Common Tennis: Special Covid19 Report

We at Lineball Tennis, primarily coach Krishna and perennial past potential clients, based at Clapham Common tennis courts entered covid19 lockdown from 23 March, and came out to play on the tennis courts on 14th May 2020.

Everyone will have stories of the time that passed between those dates as "interesting", to say the least! Even in the "new normal" there is an air of hope expectancy filled with anxiety. And rightly so! Full tennis lockdown ended officialy in London and nationwide, as announced in the daily briefings from Downing Street, on Monday of the week, that tennis would again be permitted with "social-distancing" covid19 restrictions on Wednesday 13th May 2020.

Whether Lambeth Council and outsource GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) organisations, responsible for the Clapham Common tennis facility (near the now defunct bowling-greens), are superstitious, bureacratic or simply late, LineBall principal Krishna kicked-off tennis one day later than at his private nearby tennis club Grafton LTC. Where he played his old neigbourhood friend on synthetic clay surface, on lucky for some day 13th of May.

Talking of "old neighbour" we have  the familiar former speaker of the House of Parliament John Bercow visiting Clapham Common tennis facility. He plays tennis with his son in the early morning, "2/3 times a week" as he suggested. How pleasant and lively the fellow in person, as he was as controversial personnae and charisma in his function as leader of Parliament's proceedings by Members of Parliament - MPs. Mr Bercow has been spotted as local "celebrity" by others too. Next time LineBall Tennis might offer coaching services to JB!

Mentioning politics, your local tennis coach and long-time resident Krishna is involved in struggle to book rare tennis-court slots at the venue. The mentioned GLL online-booking he is subjected to is unwieldy to the flexible needs of the excessive number of tennis coaches at Clapham Common Westside. Under tennis-coach licensing guidelines brought in by Lambeth Council, Krishna was registered as "the last tennis coach" by the then Council officer Trevor East. Yet there are newer coaches since him operating on premises all the time! This is report-worthy, as Krishna cannot book the court, hours or times for his perennial customers needs currently. Explained by the Council's management on enquiry: since GLL phone-booking staff furloughed, only online booking system available (more on this dysfunctional system). Maybe you had similar online tennis-court booking difficulties? (Thus far unexplained, is how Julian Cousin's is continuing to block-book his courts 4 and 5, for his business practice. We will ask ask Council for what obligation they have to him).

On other tennis-client news during pandemic times we have Cyprien emerging as self-proclaimed "God" by outpacing his tennis-grouping adversaries in matchplay. In one-to-one matchplay of points while rotating with adversaries he displayed winning confidence. The other compatriots Oscar, Augustine and Cameron challenging Cyprien seem over-awed by his vivid exhuberance! Cyprien, however has been playing weekly with his friends then brothers for over five years, and sometimes daily for tennis-camps with LineBall Tennis.

Also, noteworthy is the emergence of another two junior tennis stars who initially started playing in a private group with LineBall Tennis when only 4/5 years olds, Maxime and Vasu. They are now 7/8 YOs. They played a  doubles match on opposing sides in the mini-court (the 4 service boxes) on Monday 15th June. Maxime playing with new "wild-talent lefty" Raphael. And Vasu playing with also new LBT player, the all-round talent Gabriel. The encounter was significant as they all engaged totally in the competition. Demonstrated by nerves showing on tentativeness of shots from experienced Maxime and Vasu. The cool-head player was Gabriel. This competition then extended to full-court as the juniors wished. Of little significance at this stage, was the result, which was won by Vasu and Gabriel.