Grass Not Green for Berrymede Primary
Head pleads with Ealing Council to hand over abandoned recreation ground
We arrive to talk to Lubna Khan in her office at Berrymede Primary School, situated in the heart of the South Acton estate, on a Monday morning shortly after assembly. She is already hopping mad.
The large number of certificates proudly displayed in her office include one from the Evening Standard for ‘outstanding achievement in difficult circumstances’. We have been asked to come and meet with Mrs Khan as she is increasingly frustrated by her dealings with Ealing Council’s Parks Department.
For years, the Headteacher of Berrymede Primary School has been trying to improve the lives of the pupils in her charge and of the wider South Acton community by taking steps to look after Berrymede Recreation Ground.
Unfortunately, despite the interventions of well-meaning councillors and politicians, the scrubby piece of land, which lies at the heart of the South Acton Estate, remains a pitiful sight.
“Since I started working at Berrymede, which is six years ago now, I have been campaigning for this patch of land to be maintained so that it is usuable by the pupils of Berrymede Primary and by the local community.
“We stayed off the field for the time stipulated and watched as pigeons ate all the seeds. No one from the Council came and watered or did anything to help the grass to take root. As a result it is no surprise that the field now looks derelict.
“If Ealing Council don’t want to give the patch of land to the school for whatever reason, then perhaps they could consider leasing it to us for a peppercorn rent on an annual basis.
“Other schools in Ealing have excellent green spaces, all paid for by Ealing Council. We would like to work with Ealing Council to make this space usable. We need it to get the children of South Acton playing sport, to keep them active and occupied and away from negative influences.”
Huey Reid, Coach for Bollo United, is totally behind Mrs Khan’s campaign. “Last year, Bollo United, which keeps up to 800 local kids occupied in football training and playing matches every weekend, had to pay £600 to hire a pitch in Greenford from ECT. We would much rather be able to train and play here in Acton instead of spending time and money bussing children around the borough.
A spokesman for Ealing Council said: "Berrymede open space was never intended to be used as a sports pitch. It has been over used in the past and suffered as a result of the exceptionally dry spell we've had over the last few months.
July 7, 2010