The Barn Elms Running Track is in many ways the jewel in the crown of our beautiful site. It is one of one two running tracks in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and a much needed community asset. Having saved the Track from decommissioning 10 years ago, BEST have only invested a modest amount in its improvement since, while the rest of the site and facilities have been improved beyond recognition. The reason for this apparent neglect is twofold; firstly, the track is constantly fouled by geese making the experience for users less than perfect and secondly, without lighting the track is only used extensively in summer. Both these issues need addressing before major expenditure could be warranted but BEST have been impressed with the increase in Track usage over recent years, and especially since the accessible path was installed in 2015 and BEST trustees believe now is the time to act.
Phase One of our scheme to improve the track is to make it inaccessible to geese on foot by installing perimeter fencing. We are reliably informed that this fencing will dramatically reduce geese incursions. There will be side benefits such as providing a perimeter for track and football spectators in areas where no barriers currently exist, and reducing the number of balls kicked into the anglers’ lake! The other part of Phase One is to scope the possibility of providing year round lighting on the track with a view to getting planning permission for such lighting. The main environmental concern is the impact on bats of the lights but initial consultations have given trustees hope that we can provide sufficient mitigation to satisfy the various bodies, Natural England being at the forefront.
Phase Two of our scheme will involve planning for low level lighting and an upgrade to the surface of the track itself, and is wholly dependent on the success of Phase One.
BEST Trustees and Management are launching Phase One in Spring/Summer 2017 and are looking to raise a substantial proportion of the estimated £35k cost of Phase One.
The fundraising campaign will be called ‘Fit for Runners’ and various events will be held throughout 2017 to which we hope you will all contribute.
Trustees and Management of Barn Elms Sports Trust