Sunday 23 November 2008

Fences Go Up, Public Excluded, As H&F Conservatives Give Local Park Over To Polo Set

The London Olympics are three and a half years away. Children and young people across the country are being urged to take part and get involved in sport, and politicians are being called upon to take a fresh look at local facilities so that our young have a productive use for their energies. So, what is the answer here in Hammersmith and Fulham? Well, as far as H&F Council’s Conservative Administration are concerned it’s er… polo.

That’s right, it’s polo… and it's not for H&F's residents or indeed our young either. Instead, Hurlingham Park in Fulham has been given over to World Polo Ltd who intend to put on the traditional sport of the super-rich as an exclusive spectator event. Fences have already been erected around the public park and the mechanical diggers have gone in. Grounds that once saw schools’ sports days, families relaxing at weekends and kids playing ball games during balmy summer evenings will next year be the select reserve of the champagne-swilling international jet-set.

The scheme is the brain child of Cllr. Paul Bristow (Con) who gained notoriety this time last year when he proposed to rent out Ravenscourt Park and Furnival Gardens for such events as wrestling, film showings and raves. Opposition Labour councillors worked with local residents to restrict those activities but the people of Sands End, Fulham haven’t been so lucky. Their local Tory Councillors have supported this ruse and in doing so have denied them access to one of the few green spaces in in their area. You can click here to view the BBC News coverage of this story.

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