Cray Wanderers Football Club has an illustrious history as the oldest football club in London and the second oldest in the world. The club has been homeless without its own ground for many seasons and has had to share the facilities of Bromley FC in Hayes Lane Bromley. However this arrangement is coming to an end and while it has enabled the club to survive, playing in this location is far from ideal, being many miles from the club’s heartland in Cray Valley.
The club has been campaigning for some time to find a site in or close to its natural catchment area of the Cray Valley. The club submitted a planning application for a site in Sandy Lane but this was unsuccessful.
The Council will be well aware that Flamingo Park is a significant recreational space within the Green Belt but outside the Chislehurst Conservation Area, which has had more than its fair share of planning difficulties over the years. There have been a series of unauthorised uses on the land and its recreational capability is not being realised.
The new scheme has been created through consultation with the London Borough of Bromley Council and the Greater London Authority (GLA) and addresses the Mayors concerns.
The new proposal includes;
- A reduction in previously developed land on the site
- A reduction in residential and commercial floor areas
- A reduction in height of buildings
- An extra community football pitch
- More Green Belt openness
If successful, this proposal will open an exciting new chapter in the planning history of Flamingo Park. The Green Belt location is respected and care has been taken to ensure that each and every element is compliant with national guidance, the London Plan and Bromley’s Unitary Development Plan. Even the name will be changed – to Foxbury Park – so that everything about the scheme represents a fresh new start.
The main elements comprise:
- The removal of the night club and all the other uses whether permitted or not which are not supportive of recreational and community use.
- The development of a home base for Cray Wanderers FC with the facilities needed by their current league status but capable of meeting their future aspirations should promotion be achieved.
- The full realisation of the community hub which the club is already operating in a number of locations across the area.
- The development of a small scale residential community of affordable homes for first time buyers.
The current use of Flamingo Park is graphically illustrated in these photographs. There are a number of lawful and temporary uses which have been introduced.
The pavilion is now a night club. The temporary uses, which may not need planning permission, have included boot fairs, funfairs and the sale of fireworks. A number of other uses have been on site from time to time for example boot camps, scaffolding yards, van hire and car storage.
About ten years ago a Planning Inspector upheld Bromley Council’s decision to refuse to allow the playing fields to be included as part of the adjoining Kemnal Manor cemetery. In the decision letter the Inspector concluded at paragraph 26 “The proposal does not comply with national and local planning policies because … there would be an unjustified loss of the private recreational facilities and public use of playing fields provided by the sports ground.
A previous planning application to build a new home ground and community facilities on the site of Flamingo Park was submitted in early 2016 to Bromley Council. The application was approved by Bromley Council in April 2016, however upon referral was later refused by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, and subsequently became the subject of a public inquiry following the Secretary of State’s call-in decision.
The mayor allocated and authorised £145,000 to fight the public inquiry, proving the resolve and resistance to the previous scheme and upon legal advice, the Club decided not to fight this battle and withdrew from the public enquiry to instead approach the quest through a new proposal.
Bringing together a homeless football club with a strong track record of positive work in the community and an under used recreational resource produces a unique opportunity for a sustainable development from which the whole community can benefit.
The proposed scheme will provide Cray Wanderers FC, the second oldest club in the world, and its 13 youth teams with a permanent home in the 1,300 capacity multi-sport stadium.
Flamingo Park will be returned back to its original use as a sports facility for the local community, as per planning inspector’s report 2005, through the addition of multiple sports pitches.
The development would provide office space, sports facilities and business services for the Cray Wanderers Community Scheme. The community scheme currently delivers multi sport sessions into 16 schools and hosts regular clubs and activities during school holidays.
The scheme will support the government’s £40million initiative to improve sporting facilities across the UK, with the inclusion of a 3G pitch that ensures a state of the art surface for the development of quality talent.
The development of affordable facilities will provide a central point that will encourage sport participation from a range of communities to support social inclusion.
The development of the sports village will boost the local economy through generating temporary construction jobs, permanent jobs upon completion within the facility and increased tax receipts through council and corporation tax.