The Woodfield Project was constituted as a charity when it was registered by the Charity Commission on 23 September 2014. However, members of the group who set up the charity have been working on the project on and off since the autumn of 2010, with the first business plan submitted to Wandsworth in 2011.
During 2010-2011, there were a number of community events and other consultations to find out what members of the local community wanted to happen at Woodfield.
Members of what is now the Woodfield Project helped organize some of those events and consultations, assessed the results, and framed the resulting proposals to the landowner, Wandsworth Borough Council.
The Woodfield Project also briefed members of the public on its plans at its 2015 AGM, the 2015 Woodfield Fair, and at the launch event in late 2014.
Trustees have also attended a number of meetings with residents living on Abbotswood Road, Drewstead Road, and other local streets.
In the autumn of 2011, at the council’s request, the Woodfield Group wrote an outline business plan for the project to show how it might work. That involved much thought and Council officers put that to the elected members of the council, recommending it as a way forward for the site. The councillors agreed, and n it was largely up to the council to take things further.
In late 2012 the council began discussing with the group whether the project might be included in a bid for funding for the Tooting Commons from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). In response, the group were required to rewrite their outline business plan. So they produced a second edition in April 2013, to show how a lottery-funded scheme might help get the proposed Woodfield project going. Councillors agreed to a bid which would include Woodfield. The group drafted the material on Woodfield for the bid dealing which was submitted later that year – the proposed Tooting Common Heritage Project.
The next main development for the Woodfield Group came when the bid was granted in early 2014, bringing stage one of the Tooting Common Heritage Project. In that stage there have been several tasks:
a) The group had to establish a charity or other body to take a lease of the pavilion and run the project. That brought much work preparing the constitution and corresponding with the Charity Commission, before the latter registered the charity on 23 September 2014.
b) Working with the council, in 2014 we arranged a survey of the ground and appointed architects to draw up plans for a refurbishment of the pavilion. Since December 2014, we have been discussing developing plans with the architects and the council, and have had to do extra work to deal with unforeseen problems arising from the structure of the roof.
c) That involved revising our Outline Business Plan again, to support revised proposals for refurbishing the building.
d) Other work we have been doing includes setting up a bank account (done), registering with HMRC for gift aid (done), and developing a website (now being done).
e) We are also set to take a lease of the pavilion, and an agreement to use the land, later this year. We have had preliminary discussions with the council about that and have appointed solicitors who will give us some free legal help with that.
You can donate via debit/credit card via our Virgin Money Giving page.
Alternatively, you can send an electronic payment to our bank account:
Name: The Woodfield Project
Account number: 00026955
Bank: CAF Bank
Or you could send a cheque to us, made payable to: The Woodfield Project. Our address is: The Woodfield Project, c/o 90 Drewstead Road, Streatham, London SW16 1AG
Please visit our Get Involved page to see how you can help bring Woodfield back into public use.
Wandsworth have included the Woodfield Project in the Tooting Common Heritage Project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The aim of the Tooting Common Heritage Project is “to explore, restore, conserve and enhance the cultural and natural heritage of Tooting Common. To this end, the project will work in partnership with local community groups to improve and monitor biodiversity and habitats, to conserve and restore heritage landscape and architectural features, uncover the hidden history of the Common as well as teaching people about the its rich past and biodiversity. In the process it will provide new volunteering opportunities and skills that people can use in the future while engaging them in the improvement of the Common.”
The trustees, working with the Wandsworth Council’s Tooting Common Heritage Project, have secured a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £368,856, mainly towards the cost of capital works, estimated at £460,896, to restore and upgrade the pavilion. That cost includes design work, supervision of the rebuild, and some furniture. The HLF grant goes also toward some limited early management and development costs (of up to £7,000). The trustees will need to raise the balance of the costs from other sources, but a guarantee from Wandsworth means that the sum can be raised as refurbishment proceeds, and fundraising is under way.
We need to raise £92k as part of our match funding commitment.
We have raised £7k so far, although our main fundraising efforts will start in summer 2016 when the pavilion lease has been arranged, and the HLF grant has been confirmed.
We hope to start the building work in early 2017, and the work should take approximately six months.
The building project is being run in partnership by WBC, who own the freehold of Woodfield, and TWP, who are currently seeking a lease for the pavilion. The improvements to the Woodfield pavilion are part of a wider project run by WBC & funded by HLF, called The Tooting Common Heritage Project.
Although the site is owned freehold by WBC, it is in Lambeth, so Lambeth Borough Council is the planning authority, and its planning policies will apply, including its Unitary Development Plan (UDP).
We hope to be running the site, with the building work complete, from late 2017 or early 2018.
There is already a long-established ‘D2’ use for the site, enabling ‘sport and recreation’ in the pavilion and on the grounds. That use is not in question, so the only point to be considered is whether limited ‘D1’ (educational) uses should also be allowed on Metropolitan Open Land.
Such use was previously allowed for the site by the Waldorf Steiner School but that use has now lapsed. At the moment a concrete proposal is that Quadron Services, under contract to Wandsworth Borough Council for the maintenance of Tooting Commons and Woodfield, should train volunteers in green skills: there would be approximately 10 volunteers, 1 day a week for 26 weeks, using the pavilion as a centre for classroom learning from 8am-4pm at the latest. Still under development are (1) a proposal for a small forest school class organised by a local school, supervised by a teacher for periodical visits; and (2) proposals for other local schools to run natural environment classes, each class supervised by its teacher.
These uses will all be during daylight hours. Lambeth Borough Council planners have suggested a time limit of 10pm for any D1 use. The Trustees think this is fair, do not envisage that the limit would be approached very often, and would remain alive to the sensibilities of those who live nearby in deciding on evening uses.
Quadron, Wandsworth’s contractor for green spaces management, will continue to maintain the recreation ground.
Of course. Please see our contact us for directions. Please note that the pavilion is not open to the public at the moment.
The trustees’ plan is to refurbish the pavilion so as to provide a moderately large (56m2), flexible, meeting-cum-exhibition space on the ground floor. This will be flanked by lockable storage spaces, a kitchen, and two lobbies that open into the meeting space, to the outside, to toilets, to a stairway, and to an ‘outdoor room’ to accommodate visitors and volunteers who have been working outside and need to change clothes, etc. An upper floor, opened up by the stairway, will provide more storage space and a modest administrative office-cum-meeting room. The veranda will continue to provide additional usable space. The outside of the pavilion will not visibly change much, and a governing idea will be to make the whole as ecologically sound – and as light on resource use – as possible.
See our current plans for use section.
The Woodfield Project will manage the field and the pavilion, under an agreement (for the land) and a lease (for the pavilion). The trustees are negotiating these documents with Wandsworth at the time of writing (early 2016).
When these processes are complete, the trustees will be responsible for a sports pavilion built in 1933, dilapidated but repairable, and held by them on a 25-year lease for a peppercorn rent from Wandsworth, its owner. They will have a related agreement with Wandsworth for use of the 1.2 hectare field, poorly drained in winter, which is public open space. The agreement will allow the TWP to use the ground, but (a) without generally excluding normal users of the Tooting Commons, (b) avoiding causing a nuisance to others, including those who live nearby, and (c) ensuring that Wandsworth retains over-all control of the land which it has the responsibility to preserve and maintain, in effect as part of the Tooting Commons.
The fence was taken down by Wandsworth as it was in a dilapidated state. The Woodfield Project are unlikely to replace the fence.
However, one of the trustees’ immediate aims is to hedge the ground (ideally with the help of volunteers) so as to provide a safe space to retain children inside and to keep out dogs – banned since the ground was opened. The Abbotswood Road pedestrian entrance and the entrance from Tooting Bec Common may also require early improvement.