How asset transfer has transformed sporting facilities in London
Two of our directors Andrew Kitchen and Gary Johnson discuss how asset transfer has aligned with the new Parklife initiative to create a community hub, transforming facilities in Northolt.
This year saw the completion of the first Parklife-funded scheme in London and the second in the UK at Rectory Park in Northolt.
The £4.8m sports development was delivered by a partnership between Middlesex Football Association, local councils and government organisations, the Football Association and Football Foundation, the Premier League, and the London Marathon Charitable Trust. Our team worked to ensure this partnership work seamlessly, allowing the development to transform sporting in the area.
An asset transfer occurs when the management or ownership of a facility is transferred, usually from public bodies to community organisations or community enterprises. The Rectory Park project is a perfect example of this and demonstrates of how architects, project development teams and National Governing Bodies (NGBs) can come together in best practice.
Now completed, the 16,800 sq ft scheme provides two full size third generation football turf pitches (3G FTP), six changing rooms and 160 sqm of community and social space. The park also accommodates grass football pitches, two cricket squares, a model fly zone with landing strip and a trim trail, all of which will benefit the local community.
Our team was first brought in on the project when the vacant park land went out to an open tender. Middlesex FA saw the potential of the site to deliver a Football Development Centre in line with a proposal for a new headquarters for the organisation. The sports and leisure business consultants at LK2 carried out an initial feasibility study, looking at viability of a range of options, including community needs assessment and a detailed financial review.
The proposed plans also aligned with the ambitious Parklife initiative – a national funding scheme that aims to help local communities’ access high quality grassroots football facilities. Through this joint approach we were able to create a financially sustainable business model for all parties concerned.
The development of a financially sustainable business model also highlighted the significant need in the local area for the delivery of football and community activities. A number of very detailed grant aid applications were ultimately successful based on the development of the business plan which came from the findings in the initial feasibility study.
Having been a central part of the partnership working on the project, our team was able to navigate the relationships between all parties involved, enabling the project to be delivered to a high-standard.
We are also unique in terms of the long-standing relationships we have with NGBs of sport, which enabled the delivery of the FA Parklife initiative through our understanding of the needs of Middlesex FA, the FA and other key partners.
Our sports and leisure business consultants and architectural team were able to provide an efficient and effective design based on the needs of various partners, understanding of the FA Parklife requirements and details regarding the implementation of such facilities in a London park.
This project is only the very tip of the iceberg, as the Parklife initiative is being rolled out across the country, providing accessible facilities that will improve sport participation rates and support the interests of local communities.