Pinn Meadows protest
The people behind a controversial application to extend a hockey club’s facilities have put forward their side of the story.
Eastcote Hockey Club (EHC) is facing vocal opposition to its plans for a second floodlit Astroturf pitch at its base in King’s College Playing Fields, Ruislip.
Two petitions against the scheme have been started by the Friends of Pinn Meadows (FOPM), which is fighting to protect the green space on which the proposed second pitch will be built.
If the expansion is approved, the two pitches will sit on either side of the River Pinn in the playing fields, which make up part of the meadows.
EHC chairman Rob Riddleston said the club had 14 league matches every weekend. On average, this meant seven are played away, and seven are played at home, but the current pitch could not accommodate all the home matches.
“We can play four or five games at home, and the other two or three home games are played at Harefield Academy or Brunel University,” Mr Riddleson added.
Club president Chris Clarke said travelling to other sites was ruining the important social aspect of the sport.
“You may say they are only five miles down the road but, for opponents, coming back to the clubhouse after matches doesn’t happen,” he added. “If we lose the social side then eventually we will lose the whole club.”
Deputy chairman Graham Pile celebrated his 80th birthday with a hockey match a few weeks ago. He said 98 per cent of modern hockey matches were played on Astroturf, which is why the club wanted to build a second floodlit Astroturf pitch next to its current one.
One of the major concerns of objectors is traffic congestion along King’s College Road.
FOPM chairman Rob Cousins said: “It is already a huge problem. If they are hoping to increase the social side of it that means they will bring even more cars here and there isn’t enough space.
“People are angry that we are having to petition for the third time against an application that the community doesn’t want,” he said.
The Astroturf pitch is also used by local football clubs and schools for sports other than hockey.
Mr Clarke said: “Fifty per cent of the use of the pitch at the moment is by people who are not hockey club members, and that will be the same with the second pitch. We are building a pitch to be used by the community.”
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