LAMBS   Wimbledon of Squash - Centre of Excellence in Olympic 2012 capital 1 Lamb's Passage, Islington, London, EC1Y 8LE
    Save Lambs Stop the Chop       
    A  true team effort in the best interest  of the game of Squash
      FLASH: PLANNING INSPECTOR RULES IN FAVOUR OF THE DEVELOPER - LAMBS LOOKS FOR NEW HOME
      Campaigns by Lambs Squash Club members to save the Wimbledon of Squash from redevelopment retaining  it as a  centre of Squash excellence.   Launched Easter 2005

    Campaign to save the Wimbledon of Squash is backed by:
    Rt Hon Richard Caborn  Minister for Sport Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP Islington South & Finsbury Chris Smith Chair of the London Cultural Consortium   Baroness Hamwee  Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Regional and Local Government, House of Lords   Matthew Delaney, Regional Director  Sport England Nick Rider Chief Executive England Squash Several thousand squash players and supporters worldwide

Why save Lambs?

The 9 court facility in central London has been a centre of excellence for more than 25 years. Today a developer backed by the Duke of Buccleuch Scotland’s wealthiest landlord wants to turn it into a pedestrian 9 storey block of flats, depriving the local community of a strategic facility which can never be replaced. Squash ranks among the UK's top 10 priority sports. British players hold more Squash world titles and rankings than in any other sport. Government planning policy (PPG17) protects facilities that are not surplus to requirement. Lambs has more than 1100 members, some 50 leagues, two county teams, a vibrant squash ladder,   and a thriving player and social community in the heart of the City. Some Islington planning officers think the Duke's flats are more important. We don’t.  Nor do local councillors. So we're fighting to stop the Duke.
Backing us are key national and local figures and bodies.   Join in if you care about the future of Squash in this country
details

 

World class squash  played  regularly  at  Lambs
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Help us develop a squash club that meets your needs and your aspirations

 


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LAMBS INTENDS TO FIND A NEW HOME.  HERE'S HOW
 
(More details are available to members, players and supporters here)


Who  is  the  Duke  of  Buccleuch ? The money behind Clan,  the developers who acquired the site from Mike Corby, comes from a well-known and very wealthy Scottish landlord, the Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry KT , whose family, one of Scotland's oldest, prides itself on a long history of philanthropy, conservation and good works. The 80-year-old duke and his heirs are estimated to own assets worth £450m. He is one of the largest landowners in Europe with 270,000 acres. (for more on the man backing those out to destroy the Wimbledon of Squash,  read  the  article  by  JAMES REYNOLDS in  the  Scotsman:    Duke's estates make £3.6m loss see here)

TimeOut  reports: Lambs,  the  Wimbledon  of  Squash,  is  under  threat  from  a  wealthy Scottish baron  read article here
Dumfries and Galloway Standard takes up Lamb's cause in the Duke's own backyard, see here and news report

Important Outcome January 24 2006
Islington Council defers decision on PPG17 grounds:
Islington 's South Area Planning Sub Committee Tuesday January 24 2006 deferred a decision on a recommendation that it approve a planning application  (P052310 to redevelop Lambs squash club with total  loss of the facility. Councillors voted 2 against 1 for a deferral (Cllrs Keith Sharp and Mary Powell both Lib Dem St. Peters ward opposed,  chairman, Cllr George Allan, Lib Dem Clerkenwell ward, in favour), after council legal advisors were unable to offer sufficient clarification on a technical planning point. This related to crucially important PPG17 government planning guidance and its application to the loss of a major sports facility. Lambs players and supporters packed into the hall made it crystal clear to councillors that the applicatioin had no local community support whatsoever.
Council is seeking legal opinion on the PPG17 point. All 635 objectors will be notified when the subcommittee is to reconvene to discuss legal opinion on PPG17  and its applicability to Lambs before voting on a final planning determination. 

At the last moment before the January 24 hearing Clan  amended  their  application,  reduced the  number  of  flats  to  75  and  offered council,  under  a Section 106  agreement,  a £40,000  pittance (
*this is  enough  for about 56% of the cost of one floodlit single-court multi-use games area (MUGA), assuming the land was provided free*) towards  alternative  sports provision  while admitting  that  there  IS a  " lack of  sporting  facilities"   in  the  borough!   
Our fine  legal team, CG, NS, DL and MW, was strongly  supported - around 100 club members  and players jammed the room, many thanks all of you. Also present and opjecting to redevelopment, were Peter Durrans, Senior  Planning Manager  at Sport England,  government's  lead  agency  on sports and a statutory consultee in matters related to sporting facilities, and Gordon Kerr, Chairman of England Squash's National Club Support Group. Thank you CG, NS, DL and MW,  advisors who are generously  acting  pro bono
. Indeed thank you all.

Send more emails seeking support for the campaign  to  MPs
 
Lobby   Emily Thornberry, Labour MP Islington South and  Finsbury  and other key figures (see concerns she has voiced about loss of Lambs  here   (in her blog for Saturday April16).
Read
latest LAT letter seeking help from the Islington MP.

Next stage - Register  with us to help defeat  the  latest planning applications  as firmly as we did the first.

  FIRST APPLICATION CAMPAIGN
As at April 14 2005 , campaign day 20,
at least 120 objections had been lodged and advised to the website. The final tally,  we are now advised, was 200. Thank you everyone! .The deadline for formal objections was April 7, a determination was published May 10, 2005. 

IN THE FIRST CAMPAIGN WE URGED MEMBERS TO:
Lobby :   Lord Mayor  and Corporation of London here  
Minister of State for Sport
here    
Lord Coe of London Olympics 2012  bid
here      
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
here
   
Jennette Arnold, Labour, London Assembly lead member for 2012 Olympic bid
here
John Biggs, Labour, London Assembly  member  for  City  of  London
here  
 
Mark Field, Conservative, Central London Group  includes City  of  London
here     (cc  the  team)  
.
City of London firms -
Do convey  your views to the Lord Mayor
Helpful letters/emails: Minister of Sport     Lord Mayor Islington council to MPs  
Write Islington Gazette: here 
Join our action mailing list 
include me in
Read and use LAT's formal planning objection lodged by Howard Green FRCIS
Register

May 10, 2005 Islington refuses developers application P050441 to demolish Lambs:
A determination on the developer's (Clan)  first application to redevelop the squash club (
P050441) was made May 10, 2005. A summary provided to us by Cllr Steve Hitchins Leader, Islington Council, says in part: The reasons for refusal relate to: design of the proposed scheme standard of the proposed residential units within the scheme impact on neighbouring properties setting of the adjacent listed building and the loss of sports facilities. The loss of the Squash Club as a reason for refusal was considered at length ...  (as) this issue is not clear cut in terms of the Council's policies.   However having considered our policies, those of the London Plan and the national planning guidance PPG17 (recreation and leisure), it was considered that a reason for refusal along these grounds could be sustained.  
" REASON 6:  The existing sports facilities on site contribute to the character and liveliness of the area and play an important role in the Borough and the wider area in the provision of indoor sports facilities.  The proposal would therefore result in a loss of facilities contrary to Policies R18 and ST8 of Islington's Unitary Development Plan 2002. The proposal would also be contrary to policy 3D.5 of the London Plan 2002 and to PPG17."
Further weight was given to this reason for refusal by the receipt of 200 letters of objection, including letters from Sport England and the Corporation of London (as an adjoining Borough).
Full refusal document
Lambs Action Team  extends its sincerest thanks  to everyone for their widespread support  and sustained effort in fighting  to save Lambs -   one of the world's squash flagships:


What next?
Members  aim  to  persuade  the  developer  to  sell  it  back  to  us  to  be  run  as  a  squash  and  indoor sports  facility  on  a  long  term  basis.
commit  to  this  here

Reactions:
As a direct consequence of the success of the campaign to block planning application
P050441 and save the courts, Lambs Club owner Mike Corby terminated the memberships of complimentary member and Club Ladies Captain Tania Loughran and of paying member and campaign organiser Ken Pottinger. Others have been threatened. He told the Islington Express newspaper " ...squash at Lambs is dead. Even if the planning permission is refused again the courts will be turned into a gymnasium" . Mike Corby is president of England Squash, (2005) the game's governing body in England,  which exists  to develop  and foster  squash.   England Squash can be contacted here. Mike Corby, a former Vice President of the World Squash Federation, has long committed to and invested in the game of squash in the UK and internationally.    A profile of  his  record and years of battling  to get Squash into the Olympics, will be available soon!

2nd August 2005 - Buccleuch Property rebuffs buyback approach
Lambs Action Team wrote to the Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry KT (ultimate owner of Buccleuch Property, a partner in Clan Real Estate which acquired the freehold of Lambs from Mike Corby in Oct 2004 for £4 million pounds plus an overages deal contingent upon a planning consent. We sought to buy back the freehold or reach an acceptable compromise to preserve the squash club.
In his reply of August 2, David Peck, Managing Director of Buccleuch Property rebuffed the idea and specifically ruled out providing any squash facility in the redevelopment. (Read his letter
here). Clan will now reapply for planning permission to change use, and redevelop. As before we will have the opportunity to object  to this and to all and any subsequent reapplication(s). The second and subsequent games of this decisive set begin

Second round funds  appeal, pledge  support for  legal opinions/consultants  here

Join our action mailing list  include me in

 

Why save Lambs?

QUOTES:
PG, Executive Director of a large City investment bank:
... Lambs is a unique place to enjoy a good game of squash .. an oasis of social interaction in a largely anonymous part of town.

JC of a major City-based international global investment and advisory firm:
..Lambs represents an important amenity for local Islington residents as well as for people who live and / or work in the City of London...

RH, partner at one of the UK's largest regional law firms in the City:

...Lambs is a major facility for employees of businesses in the area and helps attract and retain these employees.

Jahangir Khan interviewed at  Lambs on his favourite club in all the world:
'
This is the best'. (Alan Thatcher)

World champion Peter Nicol: 

" There  must  be  squash courts in the City of London and here, on this site...." ,  he  told us March 24 2005 after yet another regualr training session .... at  Lambs


Glen Wilson, Commonwealth Games gold medallist ... former Lambs professional:

" You have my full support
"  


Vote for  the Save Lambs T shirt design,  and  now  place your orders £10 each

 

What members have done to help the campaign:
100s attended a planning sub committee meeting to show Islington there is great demand for Lambs Squash club in the borough. A significant number of City of London firms sent a letter to the Lord Mayor and Corporation drawing attention to the need to save the club as an important amenity for the City of London working community. Others made approaches to local schools and youth organisations about junior squash at Lambs and approached Corporation officials to discuss the importance of Lambs to the City. The Corporation has lodged a formal objection as a statutory consultee.   An important cross section of members lobbied the Islington South Labour MP and local councillors, to save the club. More than 50 members have so far signed and emailed a petition to the Minister of State for Sports calling on him to expropriate and preserve the facility for sports.   Many players rallied support from other clubs at which they play and from Middlesex and other leagues in which they participate. The squash community as a whole has given very welcome support to the campaign to block the application. More than 40 members and supporters contributed to the fighting fund to pay for the two consultants' reports .Teams and individuals have worked/continue to work on the business plan and financials for New Lambs Squash Club, volunteered legal and financial advise, offered ideas and contacts, obtained land registry and other public documents, pushed England Squash to help save the Club, met with Sport England to discuss backing for the campaign, written to Ministers, MP's, local authorities, Mayor of London, the Olympic 2012 committee, the World Squash Federation and similar bodies.   Others have designed ordered, sold and bought T-shirts, rallied local residents, created   databases etc. To you all a very big thank you

LAT Lambs Action Team
Thanks to TT for lobby input and ongoing media coverage.
Thanks to AH for Islington planning input to lobby efforts.
Thanks to BF and JH for doing the Lord Coe letter
Thanks to TL  for the lobbying letter

Thanks to MS for doing the letter to the Minister and to the Lord Mayor
Thanks to BF for the letter to Chris  Smith MP
Thanks to GH and EJ for the audio of the BBC broadcast
Thanks to CC for the blog
Thanks to CC and SC for rallying objectors from among Club's neighbours
Thanks to SS  for lobbying the sports world and squash pros
Thanks to TL for Islington correspondence on " alternative"   facilities and for Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, response
Thanks to RvdM for writing the registration CGI script and handling the responses
Thanks to BF for lobby info
Thanks to RD for Islington Council leader response
Thanks to SC  and   AK for organising Save Lambs T-shirts
Thanks to JH  and  finance  team for  business model and plan
Thanks to DL for scanning planning statement and other documents.
Thanks to MK  for producing the New Lambs business plan and to ongoing input and much advice from JH, NL  and GK,
Thanks to CG, NS   and DL for ongoing and sterling legal work which has immeasurably contributed to the campaign and to barrister Mark  Watson for his excellent advise at all stages.
Thanks to the
media, particularly the squash world media for comprehensive coverage and support

Want to be  part  of LAT-Lambs Action Team? We need players. Drop us an email with your contacts, tell us what you'd like to do, and any specific expertise you can offer.
We'd be really grateful for property lawyers, barristers, financial gurus, website developers (blog), lobbyists, the Islington Council/Corporation of London-well-connected
email
Lets hear your  ideas

 

 
   

LATEST: Mike Corby former owner of the Lambs site and whose Lambs Club is now a short term tenant on the site, has sold his family owned Fitness Exchange Group  to  Fitness  First. 
This  gives  the  lie  to  earlier  contentions by the planners and    developers that Lambs members would be accommodated at other clubs in the Corby chain. The chain is now non existent. Clan's  claims  are  hollow. 
 
read on... and here...
How fast things change this was his thinking in 2003 see http://www.citytext.com/doc16a.html
Fitness Exchange
Health and fitness clubs. The Fitness Exchange, a group of ten health and fitness clubs located mainly in London's affluent Square Mile, is considering a flotation. The clubs, half of which have been branded " Fitness Exchanges" , boast a total of nearly 20,000 members and are located at prime sites including London Bridge, Fenchurch Street and Broadgate. The Fitness Exchange's owner, Mike Corby ,the former England squash and hockey captain, has also stated that he is in talks with various parties including venture capitalists and other fitness clubs who have voiced an interest in either buying his company outright or taking an equity stake in it. Other competitors in the area include: Holmes Place, Fitness First, Vardon and the Broadgate Club.Type of issue: To be announced   Date: 2003   Market capital at issue: £20m approximately

Clan lodges appeal:
Islington advised by letter of 13 December 2005 that Clan   lodged an appeal with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister against   " non determination" of planning application P052334. This move adds to the pressure on the local authority to determine the application in favour of the applicant given that appeals can be costly affairs. The non determination appeal will be dealt with by Public Inquiry, now scheduled for 10.00 on September  5, 2006 at the Islington  Town Hall, Upper Street.


SECOND campaign:
Deadline for objecting to the second planning application submitted by the developer, was November 7, 2005 . Clan seeks to demolish and redevelop the Lambs site and lodged TWO amended applications with Islington planning authority, (references 052334 and P052310). Players, supporters and Club members raised funds and commissioned reports from two independent consultants to rebut the arguments advanced by the developers (see below and elsewhere on this site).


A total of 635 objections    to (across  both  applications P052310 and P0524334 ) were lodged with Islington by Lambs members,  supporters,  the wider squash  community,  statutory  consultees and  local  residents by the November 7,  2005  deadline.    Of this final count at  least  206  were copied to us. This is  an excellent response and sends a resounding message. We had aimed to double the 200 we got last time. In fact you more than trebled it.  Very well done and thank you all. (See related press coverage)
Note
Islington planners now say they only accepted 307 letters of objection for both applications P052310 and P0524334 because " it was found that quite a number of letters/emails were received in duplicate, the duplicate letters/emails were removed from the overall count" .  
(The duplicates were clearly due to less than clear instructions on Islington website about how to object. For our part we consider any " duplicates" were genuine expressions of opposition and we maintain the 635
count  initially indicated to us by Islington.)

SquashTalk, 
a US website, attacks  Sport England,  London's  role  and UK's position in world squash
" Cacaphony" here,
The author, one Martin Bronstein, is well know for erratic and   colorful  if fanciful reporting.
The reality as we have pointed out to Mr Bronstein is
: The tally among the top 50  players in the PSA World Rankings for Men's, November 2005 is 14 English 1 Scottish 2 Welsh 1 Irish, 4 Canadian, 0 US. Of these top 50 players, at least 12 have regularly used Lambs courts for training. In the WISPA World Rankings for Women, July 2005, of the top 20 players,  9  were England players,  0 from the Americas. (source SquashTalk) The Brit  Insurance Super Series Finals have been held for the past 6 years at Broadgate Arena, London. The ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic  in  London, in  February 2006, will be a 5 Star PSA World Ranking event

Lambs county teams: active and performing well see latest Middlesex League Tables

Department for Culture, Media and Sport views:
" It is always disappointing when any sports facility is threatened with closure, particularly those which have played a central role in national and international sport, like Lambs Squash Club....I am pleased that Lambs Action Team is continuing to work with Sport England in impressing the need for sports provision upon Islington Borough Council...."
-Tom Powell, Central Information and Briefing Unit Sports Desk Policy Officer.


England Squash governing body,
tasked with developing and expanding squash, finally (January 24th 2006), came out against the loss of the club. We welcome this.   ES earlier responded less than enthusiastically to members who had asked for backing.

After much behind the scenes discussion ES executives finally came to the view that the loss of the 9 court facility offered by Lambs and the breadth and depth of the amateur and professional squash played there would be a   major disaster for the national game. The chief executive delivered a number of highly supportive letters urging Islington Planning Authority to refuse the planning application.

Earlier a  motion submitted to England Squash’s annual meeting on November 5,  2005 calling for Mike Corby to step down as president of the governing body because of a conflict of interest was not carried.
Mike Corby told the AGM that in the interest of transparency and openness he wished to read the motion even though it did not meet statutory regulations for submission. He then read selected parts and persuaded the meeting that he was the injured party. It became clear from the tenor of discussion that the meeting was not of a mind to remove him. Read the full motion
-

Here is how Islington planning authority  viewed  the  loss  of  the sports  amenity  when it refused the first application:
" The existing sports facilities on site contribute to the character and liveliness of the area and play an important role in the Borough and the wider area in the provision of indoor sports facilities. The proposal would therefore result in a loss of facilities contrary to Policies R18 and ST8 of Islington's Unitary Development Plan 2002. The proposal would also be contrary to policy 3D.5 of the London Plan 2002 and to PPG17."
The second Clan application submitted in November 2005 failed adequately to address  the key issue of the loss of Lambs sporting facility. Players, members and the larger   squash community filed 635 objections clearly demonstrating the hollowness of Clan's efforts to prove there is no demand for this Squash Club on the present site or in the area. They made their views heard,  loud  and  clear.  

Queens Tennis Club (Read here),  North Herts Leisure Centre (Read here), Batchwood Leisure Redevelopment Proposals (Read here) and Lambs  - all fighting similar battles Squash can only progress as a sport if courts are available, let's back all efforts to stop developers/councillors that  think  otherwise ...

Some highlights from the successful campaign to block the first application:
Earlier news - planning and other arguments helpful in filing objections and lobbying can be found
here
Minister for  Sport concern and Sport England  objection: 
Sport England formal objection . here
Islington refused developers first application to demolish Lambs:

The determination was made May 10, 2005. Among reasons for refusal - design of the proposed scheme standard of the proposed residential units within the scheme impact on neighbouring properties setting of the adjacent listed building and the loss of sports facilities. The loss of the Squash Club as a reason for refusal was considered at length ...  (as) this issue is not clear cut in terms of the Council's policies.   However having considered our polices, those of the London Plan and the national planning guidance PPG17 (recreation and leisure), it was considered that a reason for refusal along these grounds could be sustained.   Further weight was given to this reason for refusal by the receipt of 200 letters of objection, including letters from Sport England and the Corporation of London (as an adjoining Borough).
Full refusal document

The First Campaign
INFO -  Native Land – Buccleuch Property here,   
Lambs Club and Jahangir Khan are
key
to the " Squash for the Olympic Games 2012" campaign: Read
BLOG   Talk to us ***** 
Got a  good  idea?
Response to Lambs Member from Mayor of London re latest planning applications
Thank you for your email of 17 October to the Mayor. It has been forwarded to me to reply on his behalf. Whilst I sympathise with your concerns about the proposed development, I am afraid that we are unable to assist you with this matter.   The Mayor only has planning powers over applications of 'strategic' importance to London as defined by the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000.   The development to which you refer is not strategic. I am afraid the Mayor cannot get involved in it. However, having spoken to Islington Council, I am aware of a re-submission for 25 October. If this re-submission differs greatly from the original, it may then present strategic issues on which the Mayor must be consulted. If that is the case, the Mayor will consider all relevant information, including any objections, when making his decision whether or not to direct refusal. I will be placing your email on file in the event that the application is referred to us. I am sorry that we are unable to assist you with this matter at this point in time.
Yours sincerely, Leah Barbee Administration Officer Planning Decisions


Howard J Green FRICS lodges formal objection to first application
Chartered Surveyor and   Planning Consultant  Howard Green April 7 lodged a formal planning objection, on substantial grounds, with the Director of Planning, London Borough of Islington. Howard, a long time former squash player himself,  was instructed by Lambs Action Team
To read the objection register.
Planning objection invoice  
Thank you to 36 members and supporters who stumped up enough to meet the bill!
 
MORE
Councillor Jyoti Vaja representing Islington Bunhill Ward is prepared to pass on arguments against redevelopment particularly when these contain references  to  planning  reasons    -
Here   - and valid views of members/residents:
email   Councillor Jyoti Vaja:
Tel  - 020 7527 2986 (PA)

Earlier news here
Your squash club is to be....  
LAMBS STATEMENT:
Member Peter Littler reacted
:

Don't do it  -  an  email from Mexico
Have Your Say on a Planning...
DON'T WE KNOW IT
HERE ARE CONCERNS TO...  

ISLINGTON COUNCILLOR'S VIEW:
Battle Site note:

LOBBY LOBBY LOBBY:
Lobby the local MP
Lobby   Emily Thornberry,Labour 
Lobby Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP Minister of State for Sport
Tel: 020 7211 6200 Fax 0207 211 6319

Lobby
Ken Livingstone Mayor of London
Tel: 020 7983 4100 Fax: 020 7983 4057
cc  the  team   

Survey: How much would you pay per month to belong to a refurbished, upgraded members-owned New Lambs Club?:
1.
£45/month   2.  £55/month   3.  £65/month   4.  £70/month   5.  £50/month plus additional court/gym/class charges

Lambs photo gallery ... Activities and world players at an active club (updated)
Here for ongoing press coverage (updated) 

Lobby: Email local authorities, MPs, Ministers..
Islington Lib Dem Councillor for Bunhill Ward, Jyoti Vaja
here   Lord Mayor  and Corporation of London here Islington  South parliamentary candidates: Labour  Emily Thornberry Lib  Dem Bridget Fox Conservative Melanie McLean   Minister of State for Sport here       Lord Coe of London Olympics 2012  bid here   Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London here   Jennette Arnold, Labour, London Assembly lead member for 2012 Olympic bid here   John Biggs, Labour, London Assembly  member  for  City  of  London here Mark Field, Conservative, Central London Group  includes City  of  London here   (cc  the  team)  
Labour-held Islington  South is a
marginal seat  - make your voice heard over the  next three  weeks 

Vote for Save Lambs T shirt design (click  image  to  enlarge)  A      B   and  now  place your orders £10 each
 
A         B

 
 

Mission:
This site, set up by members of Lambs Squash Club (Borough of Islington/City of London border), aims to dissuade parties involved (Clan and its overages partner Mike Corby) from redeveloping the site on which the Club stands and save the facility for Squash. It further aims to convince the Islington Planners (and ward councillors) that we and those that back us, offer Islington the strongest support in resisting the applications and any appeals. 


The battle ranks 1st in Google (" Save Lambs" ) 
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