Barn Elms Sports Trust
Barn Elms Sports Trust (BEST) has been setup by Barnes Vision. It is a charitable trust dedicated to ensuring the future of Barn Elms. BEST was incorporated on 22nd September 2009 and was awarded registered charity status on 7 April 2010. BEST has a fund raising target of a further £350k needed to secure all the facilities on the wish list. BEST will be promoting various local fundraising activities over the coming months.
Barn Elms is an open space in Barnes SW13 9SA in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Located next to the London Wetlands Centre, the playing fields are a major area for sport with facilities for football, cricket, athletics, rugby, softball and tennis. There is an athletics track and a small fishing lake, managed by Barnes & Mortlake Angling and Preservation Society.
Richmond Council's original plans dating back to 2005 were to sell or long lease 5.5 acres of Barn Elms open space to fund long overdue improvements but with the development of a large Private Health Club with a car park for 150 – 170 vehicles.
Following a public consultation Barnes Vision was formed and it was in January 2008 that Barnes Vision first asked Richmond Council to put on hold the sale of part of our beautiful, green, open space, Barn Elms, to a private sports club while we sought funding for alternative plans. By 22nd September 2008 we had attracted potentially £2 million of funding from large donors.
On 22nd September 2008 The pronouncement to jettison plans to sell part of the playing fields and instead follow Barnes Vision’s non-commercial proposal for improving the site was made at a packed cabinet meeting attended by many Barnes Vision campaigners. The Council’s turnaround is ‘a small step for campaigners but a giant leap for Barnes’s sports stars of the future,’ said Robert Essex, who is vice-chairman of Barnes Eagles football club, which plays at Barn Elms, and a stalwart supporter of Barnes Vision. Since then Barnes Vision has been working with the Council to secure the future for Barn Elms.
On 3rd September 2009, the Barn Elms User Group gave unanimous support for the redevelopment plans.
On 7th September 2009, in a cabinet meeting, Richmond Council approved the pitch and pavillion improvements planned for Barn Elms. They also agreed to enter into a conditional deed of dedication with Fields In Trust and provide £250k of capital funding towards the project. Once signed, this will protect the playing fields for public use for the next 199 years.
On 4th November 2010, planning permission was granted to upgrade the whole site at the Council's planning committee meeting. See our website for more details.