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Council to announce changes to planned development of sports facilities on Warren Farm in Ealing

A nature reserve has been saved from development. Ealing Council will move the planned sports facilities onto a neighbouring site rather than Warren Farm in Southall. Council Leader Peter Mason shared an updated image of Warren Farm showing a map with sports pitches moved from their original spot.

Part of the change comes after the council successfully incorporated a large plot of land from Imperial College that neighbours the wildlife spot into the wider site. This meant that the council could transfer its plans for sports facilities onto that land rather than cutting the current nature reserve in half.

The update will be discussed in Wednesday’s cabinet meeting with the new scheme likely to be approved, getting the wheels turning on recognising Warren Farm formally as a nature reserve and the new development.

In the cabinet documents, the council explains the updated plan: “The Council has now reached agreement with Imperial, subject to completion of surveys and contractual terms, that, in order to compensate for the loss of sports facilities originally envisaged to be delivered on part of the Warren Farm Sports Ground, that Imperial will work with the Council to facilitate sports facilities within the land currently held by Imperial whilst also improving biodiversity on the site which is currently used for equestrian use.

Council to announce changes to planned development of sports facilities on Warren Farm in Ealing Harrow Online
The new map of sports facilities plan, Warren Farm, Ealing. Permission for use by all LDRS partners. Credit: Ealing Council

“The council is clear that this outcome best balances the imperative needs of nature with local needs for new sports facilities.”

This result is a big win for campaigners and environmentalists who have been fighting for years to recognise Warren Farm as a crucial centre of biodiversity and should be protected. The council has finally affirmed its commitment to giving Warren Farm, as it currently exists, Nature Reserve status.

The cabinet document adds: “Warren Farm Sports Ground has the potential to become the best rewilding scheme nationwide. We want this land to become a Nature Reserve that will not only be a fabulous resource for communities today but one that can be enjoyed in perpetuity by future generations too.

“The report therefore recommends that we formally notify Natural England of the revised map of our intention to create a Nature Reserve at the Warren Farm Sports Ground.”

Sharing the updated map Cllr Mason said on Twitter: “We will put sports pitches on the land currently owned by Imperial College, allowing for all the remainder of Warren Farm to be designated a permanent nature reserve.”

His post was shared by Warren Farm’s account with the caption: “BREAKING NEWS;@EalingCouncil are giving #WarrenFarmNR Local Nature Reserve status. Yes, you read that correctly! We’re in shock, delighted & beyond grateful to YOU for giving our #wildlife a voice!”

In a statement, Katie Boyles, Brent River & Canal Society trustee and Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign organiser said: “We are delighted that Ealing Council has agreed to designate Warren Farm as a Local Nature Reserve. Credit to the council for taking stock and reversing plans that would have been hugely environmentally damaging.

“There is of course much work to be done, details to secure and discussions to be had. What’s fantastic is that we can now work together on this landmark decision with our supporters, community, and ecological experts to ensure the safeguarding of Ealing’s rare and beloved species. For our Copse Bindweed, Skylarks, Barn Owls, Butterflies and so much more, this marks a significant step in London’s environmental conservation.”

Wednesday’s cabinet meeting will confirm the decision as well as start the process of putting the new scheme in motion.