The feasibility study, undertaken by Sports Solutions, was commissioned to examine the viability of transferring WHLCSC to HSDT and identify deliverable development options to secure the future of the facilities at the centre.
The athletics track at WHLCSC, formerly known as New River Stadium, has played an important part in history and has an impressive pedigree, having been used for training by double Olympic Champion and 12-time world record holder in athletics Seb Coe, double Olympic Gold Medallist and 4-time world record holder Daley Thompson and Commonwealth Champion Tony Jarrett. Over the years it has been used by athletes of all abilities, from children starting their sports careers to world and Olympic champions.
There has been limited investment in the multi-sport facility for many years, which sits in parkland between the communities of Tottenham and Wood Green in the centre of the London Borough of Haringey. The site is currently owned and operated by Haringey Council, which in addition to considering lease options to HSDT, it is also considering opportunities to transfer the facility from an in-house operation to an external private sector management contractor.
In recent years the centre has deteriorated and is barely recognisable as a facility that helped talented British athletes achieve their Olympic dreams. The feasibility study was carried out by Sports Solutions, a consultancy specialising in sports and community facility development projects, and identified a number of issues with the current facility. There are a number of problems caused by the poor physical condition associated with the historical lack of investment and age of the buildings.
Pitches in poor condition, deteriorating changing facilities and an athletics tracks which is unusable in parts, have contributed to a centre that performs poorly financially, is underutilised and doesn’t meet the needs of the local community.
The Feasibility Study identified new income streams and uses, made recommendations for reducing the high running costs at the centre and advised on alternative more efficient management models in order to achieve revenue savings for the Council.
With each year that passes, the condition of the centre deteriorates further, with many of the facilities underused and falling into disrepair. The current uncertainty regarding the future retention and management of the athletic track at the centre was highlighted in the report as a significant threat to the future development of athletics in the borough, which has already seen participation rates fall and rates of obesity rise.
HSDT’s Chief executive Officer, Burk Gravis, said: “We are determined to turn the WHLCSC around; from an ageing, tired and often unusable centre to a modern, sustainable facility which will secure its future and those of our aspiring Olympic athletes. Without the time and investment it deserves, the centre will inevitably continue to deteriorate and become even less suitable for our future athletes and the local community. A well-managed, sustainable centre will benefit all those in the local community who don’t currently have the opportunity to easily participate in sport locally and help talented athletes train towards achieving their sporting dreams and secure a legacy from London 2012.”
HSDT hopes that the findings and recommendations in the feasibility study will be the start of new beginning for the centre and lead to the development a viable facility for training and leisure use by athletes of all ages and abilities as well as local residents and schools. If the centre is left in its current state, the opportunity to develop the athletes of the future in the borough will be lost.