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
      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

This is how the Duke's boys felt last summer.

“…We will not sell the site back nor include any squash courts,   we are focused on securing a planning consent and thereafter developing the site for onward sale of the completed units..." - Jonathan Mantovani, Clan Director
Developer's view here

Scroll down to read  Why Mike Corby Sold Out


World class squash  played  regularly  at  Lambs
You've read the BBC website story,  now introduce us to a millionaire fanatical about squash. We need a financial backer for the new club. We've got a potential site, a business plan and highly committed members. If you know a busines angel. introduce us


BUILD YOUR OWN CLUB  - take the 5 minute  survey, tell us what you want at the new Lambs Squash Club™
Click here to take survey
Help us develop a squash club that meets your needs and your aspirations



(More details are available to members, players and supporters here)

Supporter Feedback  .... from all around the globe:
Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US,    Taiwan,  Mexico,  India,  Argentina,
Qatar, Sweden, St Vincent & the Grenadines and South Africa

" I recently bought a flat in Islington and work on Bunhill Row. I joined Holmes Place on Bunhill Row last year as I was keen to play squash regularly. Playing the game is very enjoyable and helps me stay fit. However, Holmes Place only has two courts, which are consistently fully booked. In addition, members have to pay £5 for a 40 minute session in addition to a hefty monthly membership fee. These factors meant I played little squash over the last year, was regularly frustrated in my attempts to do so, and felt cheated financially when I was finally able to book a court! I cancelled my membership last month and joined Lambs instead ... If Lambs is forced to close, I will be forced into a very frustrating situation: my options are to quit playing the game, or rejoin a gym that offers expensive access to limited squash facilities."

  .. I've objected. Good Luck with the campaign. For my sins, I ran the bar at Lambs for 10 years until 2000 - am now in local government. I have many fond memories of the British Open and Jesters etc. It would be a real shame if all that was lost to yet more 'executive' apartments. I do keep an eagle eye on the website and also that of Islington Council Planning Dept. - Paul Guilfoyle
..The  (Middlesex) league has been made aware of The Lambs Action Team and their cause, which is trying to save the (Lambs Squash) club.   If you would like to know more, voice concern or raise an objection to the proposed plans, then .. contact them ....   I urge you to make yourself familiar with the situation and encourage your team-mates to do the same: Al Robertson Middlesex Squash League Secretary
...Here in Scandinavia we can't understand what they are doing and that people can't protest without being terminated for it, don't we live in a free world??? Lambs location and all the interest around it is very important for squash in the city and for the sport itself. Protest on and on and hope everything works out. Go to court if they go on private people for making a protest which is everyone's right, they are breaking the law, we still do live in Europa -Blom Göran.
...some ideas: Write to councilors, constituency MP's, Lambs constituency MP, (Ken) Livingstone, Culture and Sport Secretary (and ask for meetings). Contact Sport England and the Olympic Bid and ask for a meeting - BF
...This is amazing. ....How much time do we have? - CL
...I have filled in an objection and wish to give as much support to stop Lambs being closed and demolished - PC
...I am absolutely stunned by this.   I'll file an objection tonight.   If Lambs closes I think that there will only be seven squash courts left in the square mile. -MB
..." Do we really need another anonymous office/residential development in the area at the cost of destroying a historic sports centre, notable and unique for its focus on squash with unrivalled facilities in the area for this sport? If this were just another gym there would be a much less valid objection to the development. The Club has been a leading venue for the sport for many decades which, though it is a minority sport, has a much more committed and social following than a conventional gym. Destroying this Club would seriously deprive facilities to a large number of committed squash players simply closing a conventional gym would not have anything like the same impact, in view of the alternatives available. How many proper sports can we claim to have 4 Englishmen in the top 10 world rankings and a sport which has been dominated by an Englishman in recent years? Terminating this Club would help to undermine an area of sporting excellence in which this country excels. Bearing in mind our achievements in other areas of sporting endeavour is this a path we really want to be going down?"   - AW
... I am really pissed off that we didn’t know this was going to happen. It would have been nice if they had consulted the membership before hand - DL
...I will or course assist as much as possible to halt this crazy idea, and will file an objection today! -TM
...Lambs Squash Club offers a sporting amenity renowned world wide for its squash reputation and an invaluable sporting venue for the local community for this type of very popular exercise. This particular location should be designated for sports usage t the benefit of the whole community. - RB
...that is shocking news. You have my full support and help if need be -SH
...Please research how few proper squash clubs are left in London yet alone the city. This is an important facility of world importance to the game of squash. A number of world famous players even world champions have and do play for this club. The facility is 124 years old and to destroy it would be no worse in its own way than placing a football pitch or building luxury flats over the all England tennis club in Wimbledon. You must resist the temptation to put profit ahead of everything else in this way because In the last 20 years almost 70% of all squash courts have already been destroyed to build gyms ... and build office space. Please count the number of squash courts in the city now and compare it to the number of regular players. It is already desperately difficult to find free courts and it beggars belief to hear that you are thinking of allowing 9 squash courts to be destroyed for ever... - HMcW
  ...Thanks for warning us about this. Let me know if there's anything else I can do. -RD
...I had no idea the club was on the market - very very very bad news.Keep up the good work- MC
...I am a regular player at Lambs and want to do anything I can to help.-DL
... Hi I have just filed an objection and have forwarded the email to all my friends -AK
...This is outrageous -TM
...I am shocked to hear this news.... have lodged a planning objection - RM
..I filed my objection today.. - SS
.. Lodged my objection this AM  and have forwarded your email to all squash players at work.- JH
...I thought (Mike Corby) was the one person who actually cared about the squash community.   Such a shame.. -JH
...try to get it into the city diary of the Telegraph - they love things like this - SS
  ...I suggest we immediately write a letter to Seb Coe stating what is happening and what it means for squash in the City and London.... the Olympic Bid... BF
...I filmed quite a lot of footage of the 03 British Open qualifiers at Lambs. Some good clips of squash stars (and Alan Thatcher!) saying nice things about Lambs.anyone have time to edit this for adding to the website?  Footage is on mini DV- KMc.  
...I will see if I can find a squash playing property lawyer with some time on his hands...JMcC
...Have lodged my objections and have circulated your email to all the Lambs members I know (about 40 names -- KMc.
...Contact Ken (Livingstone) and the local radio to publicise it. Ask London news to do a report with Ken and utilise the 'back the bid campaign' to highlight the ridiculous situation of almost zero workable squash courts in the city!!!...Is there an action committee?.... -JP
...I've filed my complaint! - DF
...Objection filed, and site looks good! -TL  
... Has any body thought to approach the Clan Real Estate and the Royal Bank of Scotland to see if they can incorporate a Squash Club in the new building? -SC
...A good property lawyer will be able to advise on planning permission situation....I’ve added my two penneth on the Islington Council Website – lobbying hard on the London 2012 angle and depriving the city population of key facilities -JH
...I have placed my objections with Islington Council today -TM
...I've objected - AT
...I've objected - RT
.... I put forward the following objection: " As a resident of islington, I would be deeply annoyed at the loss of the area's only squash club in favour of a residential building. Should the proposed development go ahead without a stipulation that the amenities in place be restored at the redeveloped site, then local leaders will have shown themselves to be lacking in community planning and will have to be ready to bear the consequences of such actions." It is imperative that we get as many residents of Islington on board as is possible. Maybe we should make a special request to locals to sign up. -
...include me (in), I have been a member for 8 years and would be absolutely gutted if we lose Lambs!. -GF
....let me know how things are going, you have my full support -GW
... I am not a member of Lambs, but I do play there quite a lot as a guest of members. ... There are no public squash courts within walking distance of my office in the City.   Lambs is, in effect, that public facility which this area lacks for me and no doubt for numerous other non-members. It would be a great shame if this facility was allowed to be redeveloped and no longer provide (such) access...  -A.McM
...Just to let you know I  have just filed an would be such a shame to see Lambs go, ... I'm sure it has many memories for a lot of people, me included -DS
...I would like to echo what my son Daryl emailed to you today. It would be a sad day for the game if we were to lose Lambs. Anything I can do to help count me in ...we all have to stick together on this one...-
... The ideal would be to broker a deal with the new owners to rebuild the club... This way we keep the club .. and the new owners can be .. associated with one of the best known and most prestigious clubs in the world .. hopefully this would ... get even more top players involved... RvdM
...I may be able to help with web development/ blog...
...As a squash player (in Taiwan) , I support your action... EC
...If I can be of any  use at all in helping to keep Lambs open I'd like to help...GM
...Totally on your side. The club is a magnificent institution...DK.
...From time to time  Lambs members have the chance to play Peter Nichol and other world rankers at a play-the-pros event. Even I, a very very average social player once had a 9 point knock with Peter (and took a point)!   Unlikely that would happen anywhere else...
...friends in India are members of the country's Squash governing bodies... happy to help... (and could get) support of Indian squash in general...Lambs is an institution and must be saved...DK
... good luck - this is terrible news ..ML
...Have just filled in planning objection and written to Seb Coe and Islington Council - MS might want to explore the possibility of setting up Lambs as an unicorporate association, i.e a members club where the members own and manage the Club, and where Lambs would be owned in Trust for members of the UA..DK
...Lambs is the only large dedicated squash club in central London.   it has a ... community of over 350 players (playing) INTERNAL leagues alone.   Several British and World champions have been members..   tearing it down (without requiring an alternative venue ....) would be detrimental to British sport and health HP
...I love what you have started .. couldn't believe it when I first read it.  I will be filing my complaint and (stirring) ... as much ... as possible PM
..We will be seeing what can be done.I have (asked) my students to get involved ... some (fear) this is already a fait accompli.We shall see.
...Thank you for sending our S.. club the information about the proposal to close Lambs.   We are circulating this ... to our members.
..From Argentina to save the squash! GO. Squash Online
...I've objected - KM
...I've objected, good  luck,
" I wish to note my strong objection to the proposed Demolition of this building and the resulting closure of Lambs Sports club on the grounds of loss of a much needed amenity in the area. I use the facilities on a regular basis as do many residents and local workers. I believe we already have a limited number of sports and leisure facilities in this area of London and removing one would not be good for the local community. It may also prove detrimental to London's Olympic bid for the 2012 games.   As a suggestion and an alternative, If the demolition and redevelopment of the site is approved would it not be possible to make provision of space for such a facility that is already there to be included in the new structure.- NR
..Thanks for your advisory regarding the proposed Redevelopment of Lambs as an Institution.It would be really Sad to see an Institution that has promoted Squash - a racquet sport that is not dependant on the weather, be redeveloped for purely commercial gains. As a squash player, Lambs is synonymous with Squash and has produced or made available their courts to some of the worlds finest players
England as a nation have always been proud of the heritage and history, and indeed it would be tragic to see the redevelopment of Lambs be a blot on this history.-
...Please find attached, my official lodged objection MB
...I've objected Thanks for all your efforts. I hope it's worthwhile. RM
...I've objected. RT
...Subject: Closure of London sports facilities, (here's a copy of) email  to the Minister of Sport.. .
...   Here's my email to Councillor Vaja:..... " I would like to add my voice to concerns expressed over the proposed demolition of Lambs Squash Club ... to make way for a housing  development. To give some idea of the profile that the club enjoys,  when relocating to London from Cape Town some months ago and .. (seeking somewhere to live I took) the advise of professional squash players (and moved to a house) , close to the club, (precisely because) it was the " only club in Central London to play at"   for serious squash players ... (now I learn) it will be demolished...I hope this can still be prevented ...Should we fail, we will have failed a bastion of British (and World) Squash ..  let alone the community of Islington to whom this serves as the best squash RvdM
..I've objected.BG
..I've objected.DK
...Is there still time to object or am I too late?
  I am disappointed to hear that Lambs ... is to be converted into Flats.     I am a member of Lambs because I work in the City, it is the only place locally where I can play Squash.   The facilities are excellent and with a massive 50 squash leagues for over 300 members it provides a great way to unwind, and boosts my feelings about working in the city.     Since I joined a year ago I have seen the number of Squash players in the league has gone from 200 to 300, so you can see that the club is booming.   In fact at the moment it is difficult to book one of the nine courts even for a week in advance.   If anything we need more Squash venues in the City not less...Finally (thanks) to Mike Corby for a wonderful venue...PH
...I've objected KD
...Please add me to the email list.   I don't know that the planning council people will particularly care what an American living in Los Angeles (and thus not voting in London) thinks but I'm happy to do whatever I can to aid in this cause. MG.....
...I've objected
...I've objected PD
...I contacted   the mayor (Ken Livingstone) to see what he could do, here's the response... " With regard to the closure of Local Authority Leisure facilities, unfortunately the Mayor's powers do not extend to overturning decisions taken by Local Authorities concerning local services.   I suggest you should contact the Chief Executive of the Local Authority who has responsibility for these facilities, and express your concerns" .RW
...LL lobbied Chris Smith MP, Minister of State for Sport and Ken Livingstone as follows:..." please help us save Lambs!   They provide great facilities at good prices for people who are working or living close to the area. I am a (squash) beginner but ... enjoy being able to play with better partners .. in the fabulous league games and club nights.   It is a fantastic social place, people are very friendly and extremely willing to help. They (help) people get fitter and healthier, is that not worth fighting for???" ...

...I've objected - SS
...Middlesex League is asking its members to object and to lobby the local authority
....I'm not a member of Lambs but I've played there many times as part of Middlesex league teams and worked with the SRA / England Squash at many of the events held there. I hope you are successful in your battle.JW
...I've objected - HC
...I've objected - MB
...I've objected - CS
...I've objected - DB
...I've objected - GLL
...I have filed 3 objections with Islington council. One under my name, and 2 under friends who live in Islington and consented...I have also written to Ken Livingstone and Chris Smith.I hope this is of some use and best of luck.  - JH
.I would like to file a formal objection to the demolition of Lambs Squash Club. I have been a member for over 4 years and play squash regularly to keep fit. Apparently, the councils strategic policy is to ensure that sufficient attractive and varied indoor facilities are available to enable a wide cross-section of the population to participate in sports, fitness and active leisure pursuits. I urge you to stay true YOUR policy. Please lead by example and reject another block of flats to keep the people who work and live in Islington fit and healthy. You will be judged on your actions at the next election. Thank you TM
..I've objected... Are there any T-shirts or similar that we can buy to publicise the cause when we are playing in various fixtures?
..I've objected JB...
..I've objected SC...
..I've objected PB
..I've objected SP.
.. CC confirms 19 objections filed today April 7, by Club neighbours living in Borough of Islington
...I am quite upset with the news of closing the BEST SQUASH CLUB IN LONDON. This club is a VALUED PLACE to the squash community.   The world’s best players use Lamb’s as their base for training.   How many clubs do you know that have more than 60 leagues.   Lambs’s county, club teams dominate in the top three standing.   BIG MISTAKE TO CLOSE.   Lamb’s is a SUCCESS.CC
..I've objected
.. I'm just stunned and angry by this, I've objected,as has my hubby,  SS
..It would be a tragedy to see Lambs go. I have played squash at Lambs for a year and have always been amazed at the number of people playing in the leagues and the number of levels that the club caters for. There is very little currently in the city to substitute this participation! As a city resident Lambs provides the sport I want with the convenience I need! ve objected NN
..I object to the demolition of Lambs squash club!!! IH (formerly of London now Newcastle, Australia)
...   I've objected JMK (Dr.)
..   Please could you add my name to the list of those who object to the closure of Lambs
...I ve alerted my Dad who lives in Qatar and he is organising a petition of squash players to send to the council. SW
...We hope that you can be saved from the Demolition man......  I support Lambs Squash. RTAD, St Vincent & the Grenadines Squash Assoc.
...ME, DK, LI, all Islington residents and we've objected!
...I've objected... The club is one of the things that I miss about London.AMcC
I objected today.  Just to say – thanks very much for  these efforts to save our club – it’s much appreciated.TR
...I am amazed how many people have responded to the closure. Please keep me updated. I love Lambs and I will miss it immensely if the club is demolished
... I think you're doing an outstanding job on this. Behind you all the way and have submitted planning disputes on behalf of the cause.
I've just logged an online objection to Islington council. Thank you for all your efforts in organising this campaign. Fingers crossed.

Keep feedback coming
Join our action mailing list  include me in


Why save Lambs

Local schools in the area have indicated strong support for the idea   of extending junior squash opportunities into the community. This interest comes at   a time when  both Government and the Local Authority are equally concerned about serious  obesity problems and an exercise malaise among young and old.  
Islington itself has produced a physical activity strategy.   Cllr George Allen, chairman of the South Area Planning Sub Committee and the councilllor who in January 2006, sought to persuade the committee to approve the recommendation to pull down Lambs, is council's executive member tasked  with  " promoting physical activity - a strategy for Islington" . Download the strategy
It urges cooperation between local private sports facilities and schools in extending exercise benefits to young people. The sitting councillors in Bunhill Ward (these include the current Mayor of Islington), Cllr Jyoti Vaja, Cllr Donna Boffa and Cllr Ruth Polling, have all made clear their opposition to the idea of destroying this facility particularly because of the potential it offers for 7 day opening and junior squash opportunities.
The Labour opposition councillors in the borough are equally appalled at the idea and have made their views very clear.
Emily Thornberry the sitting Labour MP for  Islington South  and Finsbury wants Lambs saved. READ HER LETTER 

Chris Smith former Labour MP for Islington South wrote to the Minister of State for Sport: “....I would be grateful if you would consider intervening yourself in this matter given the impact that the closure of the club may have on the future of the sport of squash, its current bid for Olympic status and the subsequent possible implications of London's 2012 bid for the Olympics..."
ex-MP's view here:

Corporation of London's view(here):
“....Islington will consult the Corporation on this planning application, and we shall convey to them our views about the negative impact that closure would have on the attractiveness of the City as a workplace and on public health…"

Governments  lead  agency for sport and the game's governing body fully back the campaign to Stop the Chop

Nick Rider, Chief Executive England Squastold the authority April 14 2006, that Lambs has a " glorious past and a significant present" .  He  noted  that  once saved Lambs could benefit from " a £250k investment as part of England Squash/Sport England Community Club Development Programme to develop and sustain links between schools and squash clubs" .
Here is his full letter

England Squash (the game's governing body  in  England)  earlier urged Islington's  South Area Planning Subcommittee  to REJECT THE ARGUMENTS ADVANCED IN FAVOUR OF REDEVELOPMENT of Lambs Squash Club out of hand. 
It said  a report  by  Pan  Leisure,  commissioned  by  the  developer  and  accepted  by  an Islington  Planning officer as a valid justification for authorising the total loss of Lambs Squash Club, was
" ill-informed, inaccurate and highly misleading" .
QUOTE: " I would draw your attention to the contents of the report by Pan Leisure, commissioned by Clan in support of their application, and specifically to the ill-informed, inaccurate and highly misleading comments about squash in this country..."
Nick Rider, Chief Executive England Squash
  Here is the full letter



Why Mike Corby sold out
Listen to  the audio 
Download transcript:

These were the views of the Lambs  operator  in March 2005:
Club founder and owner Mike Corby, president of England Squash, told BBC London Radio 30 March 2005:... I've had every great player in the world since 1979 (play at Lambs) and largely because … a lot of these people are my friends. ....Why don't you all come and see us and I'll be able to go and see the developers and maybe we can buy it back… I'm saying come and see me and I can go and see the developers and we can have a discussion.   I know them very well.   They are very nice talks. If somebody can come up and raise some cash and we can do a deal with them, provided that they are not out of pocket over money etc and they don't lose any money on it, they are business people and that's the whole reason I sold it …"

However Mike Corby clearly bargained without the
Duke and his boys, who have made it clear they plan to earn £30 million by redeveloping the site with total loss of the sports facility and have absolutely no interest in providing alternatives anywhere in the planned building.
The Native Land website says it has been appointed as " development managers for the proposed development of 83 residential units of which 33% will be affordable housing, on this prime city site (Lambs Club London EC1)" Stroll through their site to see that the Lambs  Club development is the smallest and least important in the current portfolio of Clan/Native Land joint developments. They have much bigger fish to fry. 
We find it hard to believe the Duke  and his family are irretrievably attached to what has become an enormous hassle and costly headache.
However if they are, we are not going away any time soon.







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