A new sports stadium planned for Chiswick

Image above: Visualisation of the new stadium stand 

Plan for regeneration of Hartington Rd ground submitted to LB Hounslow

The Latymer Foundation has submitted a proposal to LB Hounslow to make substantial changes to The Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground on Hartington Road.

The heart of the revitalisation plan centres on restoring the Polytechnic Stadium. The 1936 Grade II Listed modernist grandstand, unused for over two decades, will undergo extensive refurbishment for improved accessibility. Once restored, the grandstand and its changing rooms will be reopened, hosting sports days and major matches.

The proposed plans aim to rejuvenate the 32-acre site, enhance school sports facilities and benefit the wider community.

Image above: The stadium stand in 1964; photograph copyright: Stephen Wiseman

An Olympic history

Historically, the Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground held significance as the finish line for the marathon during the first London Olympics in 1908, but over the years, the track was removed to make way for a car park, and the stadium’s pitch fell into disrepair.

The site’s first modern marathon, known as the “Poly marathon,” established the standard marathon distance from the gates of Windsor Castle to the stadium, leaving a historic legacy.

The plans for refurbishment include plans to commemorate athletes from the Polytechnic who competed in the Olympics, along with future sporting stars from Latymer. Inlaid brass strips will mark the track’s starting line, while the names of those to be honoured will be immortalised in embossed concrete lettering with relevant dates.

On the second occasion London hosted the Olympics in 1948, the Polytechnic Athletic Club, associated with the grounds, boasts an impressive record of over 44 Olympic medals, including nine golds. Notably, Jamaican Doctor and RAF WW2 pilot Arthur Wint secured three gold medals in the 1948 London and 1952 Stockholm Olympics.

Image above: Sports ground and stadium in 2003; photograph by Ian Wylie

New multi-sport area for hockey, netball and tennis planned

Alongside the stadium restoration, the proposed development includes the construction of a new multi-sport area catering to hockey, netball, and tennis.

Three new cricket pitches and cricket nets are also part of the ambitious plan. One of the pitches will be 3G, suitable for cricket and rugby. Additionally, five new padel courts will be enclosed within a glass and wire mesh structure, while existing all-weather playing surfaces will undergo refurbishment.

The Foundation, established in 1624 by Edward Latymer, a prominent lawyer and landowner, originally bequeathed a portion of his estate to provide education and clothing for “eight poore boyes” from Hammersmith.

Image above: Visualisation from the application shows the new padel courts to be introduced to the site

The ground was used by the Polytechnic of Central London, one of the first in the UK (1838), which became the University of Westminster in 1992. As the university began to scale back its use of the grounds for sports, Latymer School became the primary user during term time.

As part of its strategic expansion for school sports, the Latymer Foundation has taken over the leasehold of the Sports Ground from the University of Westminster. The application outlines the need to address the site’s underutilisation and lack of investment since 1990.

The proposed development (available to view on Hounslow’s website – ref. P/2023/1844) is part of the Latymer Foundation’s long-term strategic vision to benefit their students and also cater to the needs of other users and the local community, they say.

Image above: An aerial view of the planned new complex from the application documents

Questions remain about Polytechnic FC

The proposal raises questions about the potential impact on the long-established Polytechnic Football Club, which has used the site since 1905, fielding up to ten teams on Saturdays. The application does not explicitly address the football club, leaving members and supporters keen to find out what the plans will mean for them.

The historical Cricket Pavilion, opened in 1906 and expanded in 1960, will have new cricket pitches laid in front of it. The pavilion currently serves as the clubhouse for the Polytechnic Football Club and is accessible to all site users, including Richmond Hockey Club. It houses changing rooms, a bar, a function room, catering facilities, and office spaces.

Recognising existing issues with parking management, the proposal includes plans to extend the car park and introduce automated number plate recognition (ANPR) systems. Free parking will be limited to registered users only, addressing concerns about congestion.

There are three ancient sweet chestnut trees on the site, between 500 – 900 years old, are subject to a Tree Preservation Order. The applicant offers reassurance that the proposed structures will not adversely affect these trees, despite their proximity to the planned car park extension.

Accompanying documents submitted with the application say the upgrade will not significantly increase traffic in the area, aiming to alleviate potential worries from local residents.