After months of campaigning, last night Wandsworth councillors voted to keep control of fees and charges at Tooting Bec Athletics Track to keep it affordable for local people.
In October last year, after the Track appeared on a leaked list from the Wandsworth Conservative Group of planned closures, Tooting MP Sadiq Khan launched a campaign to protect the future of the track. Since then thousands of Wandsworth residents have signed the petition to ‘keep the track running’, which called on the council to keep the track open AND affordable – regardless of who was running it. The campaign gained the support of BBC TV and radio presenter Nicky Campbell and Olympic athlete Jade Johnson.
You can read more about the campaign here.
Although the council refused Sadiq and local Labour councillors’ calls to hold off on putting the track out to tender to private companies without a consultation, they have now backed down and agreed to keep control of all fees and charges at the track, regardless of who they may sell it to – thereby protecting affordability.
Sadiq Khan MP said:
“Our campaign to protect Tooting Bec Athletics Track has come a long way! Five months ago we didn’t know if we would still have a track this year, and now people power has meant that, as well as reassuring the track will remain open, the council have made an outright commitment to keep it affordable.
“There is no doubt about it, the “Keep the Track Running” campaign put the spotlight on the council’s actions, and prevented them from quietly cutting funding for the track behind closed doors. Our campaign sent the message loud and clear that the track needs to remain accessible and affordable and has forced the council to protect it.
“This is a huge success for our campaign, and along with local residents I welcome this commitment from the council.“