By Ian Shacklock
October 29 2008
Good news at last There have been some very positive developments since the last bulletin in late July. On 29th September Arsenal issued a press release, under the heading ďARSENAL PROPOSE A NEW SPORTS CENTRE AS PART OF REVISED QUEENSLAND ROAD PLANSĒ. Here are some of the key statements:
As part of a long term strategy to enhance and further develop Arsenal’s award-winning community programme and in response to the Club’s public consultation and discussions with Islington Council, a new sports centre has been included in the revised plans for the Queensland Road development.
Subject to approval and securing a developer for the overall site, a new sports centre is the perfect hub to undertake the Club’s extensive range of community activities and strengthen outreach work including after schools projects such as Double Club, Arsenal Soccer Schools and social inclusion initiatives.
In addition and by popular demand, the facility will be made available to the local community on a similar basis to the sports centre at Highbury. Ken Friar, Arsenal FC Director, said:“We have always taken great pride in the work we undertake within the local community and indeed were one of the first football clubs, if not the first, to fund a community department.
That was some 24 years ago. Our objective is to push forward in everything we do and part of this progression was listening carefully to the local community and Islington Council. Our conclusion determined that a new sports centre will support and enhance the terrific plethora of community schemes we currently operate as well providing a facility that is made available to the local community to use.”
“The revised proposals form the latest phase of the regeneration plans for the area and will contribute to creating a lively and vibrant area around the new stadium, contributing new homes and new facilities for the community.”
This news was reported in the Islington Gazette on 25th September (pages 1 and 3), the Evening Standard on 25th September (page 10), the Islington Tribune on 26th September (page 3) and in the Islington Gazette again on 2nd October (page 9).
Does this mean the campaign is over? No. It means that the campaign has met its original objectives of raising awareness and giving Arsenal and the Council an incentive to listen to their community. This is a significant milestone and it allows us to talk freely to the staff at Arsenal and the Council.
In the short term (between now and 21st November) we must seize the opportunity to discuss the plans with the Council before the consultation period expires. Beyond that we will need to monitor the progress of this application. This could take months or even years in the current economic climate, but having established a network of interested parties it is important that we remain in contact with each other.
What is shown in the Plans? The proposed Arsenal Sports Centre will occupy the first two floors of a ten-storey tower block, located to the South West of the stadium, alongside the existing ramp. The cinema has been dropped, and over a hundred private parking spaces have been sacrificed to make room for this facility. So visitors will be expected to use public transport rather than their own cars to arrive at the site. The floor area of the sports centre is 1,600 square metres and it includes two small pitches, each measuring 15 x 25 metres, at right angles to each other. The flexibility of the pitch layout appears to be constrained by the existence of a fire escape within this area, so it might not be possible to create a 7‑a‑side pitch, and this is something we need to discuss with the architects.The operational hours will need to be agreed with the Council, and we should make use of the current consultation period to state our preferences.
What happens next? The Council are running a public consultation from 9th October 2008 until 21st November 2008. This is a golden opportunity – and probably our only opportunity – to submit comments, questions and suggestions to the planners and to the Club.Whether you are a parent or teacher, player or spectator, resident or visitor, it is worth sending a brief e-mail of support to the Council, to reassure the planners that there is a sustainable interest in this sports centre.
This will make it abundantly clear that there was a positive theme behind the petition and that it wasn’t just a protest for the sake of it. Our positive responses will help to balance out some of the negative comments that they will invariably receive for a major development such as this. But please be aware that any comments you make will be visible to the public.The detailed plans, along with a scale model, are available for inspection at the Islington Central Library. They can also be seen at the Council offices and on the Council website via the following links:
If you want to ask any informal questions on these plans prior to submitting a comment then you can speak to Chris Heather on 020‑7527‑2493. If you want to submit any formal comments then you can either send an e-mail to
…or you can write to Christopher Heather, Planning Officer, 222 Upper Street, London, N1 1XR. For further information…If you would like to see copies of newspaper cuttings, architects’ plans, photographs or any other relevant information, or if you want help in reviewing the plans then please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Please state whether you are averse to receiving attachments larger than 1MB; if so, then you can request hardcopies instead. For up-to-date information, or opinions, on this campaign please visit
www.Arsenaltimes.com or http://www.thefootballnetwork.net/main/s378/p5.htm?sectionid=2043 Ian ShacklockCampaign Coordinator 23-Oct-2008