The ‘West End Extra’ reports;
“TEENAGERS will not use a new football pitch because it was built within the “territory” of a rival postcode in a feud that has led to violence, it was claimed this week.
A five-a-side pitch in Queen’s Park, which will be bulldozed by Westminster Council later this year, has been replaced by a new facility 2km away in South Kilburn.
But it has emerged that young footballers who had been using the old facility will not make the 20-minute walk to the new pitch.
Queen’s Park councillor Barrie Taylor said: “They won’t go down to South Kilburn, because it’s like asking them to go to Mongolia, because of the postcode stuff that exists.”
He said simmering tensions between teenagers affiliated to the Mozart estate and those from the South Kilburn estate would make it “nearly impossible” for Queen’s Park youngsters to use the pitch. He said: “I have seen the stand-offs that have taken place between South Kilburn youths and the youths in Queen’s Park. It can sometimes be quite ugly. That’s what underpins it all.”
There have been a number of attacks in the area that have been attributed to this feud, including the kidnapping and pistol-whipping of a 13-year-old boy, in 2010.
Cllr Taylor, who works with young people in the area through a number of social enterprise schemes, including the sale of Christmas trees at St Luke’s church, said: “It doesn’t go away. You could take this back two years and talk about the kidnapping that took place.”
Asked if teenagers feel they will be the victims of serious violence, he said: “I won’t hype it to that level. But it’s the perception, which is born out of your knowledge of what’s gone on in the past. Now you can’t stop that.”
The five-a-side ground at the Moberly Centre in Kilburn Lane will be knocked down to make way for a new sports facility that will not include an outdoor football pitch.
To pay for the new facilities, Westminster will hand the Jubilee Sports Centre in Caird Street to private property developers Willmott Dixon. They plan to knock down the centre and replace it with flats.
Queen’s Park residents had complained they would be losing the pitch, but were told by the council that an upgraded pitch at St Augustine’s CE School would be an adequate replacement. A planning document, submitted to Brent Council by Westminster, said: “The new pitch has already been completed and is in full use. It is therefore considered that the loss of the existing pitch at the Moberly Sports Centre following redevelopment will be adequately mitigated against by the provision of a new pitch…”
But Cllr Taylor said that young people from Queen’s Park will lose out.
“They will find that not hard, but nearly impossible. They were going up to Moberly because it was safe. I’m sure the redeveloped pitch will satisfy some people around St Augustine’s, but it certainly will not satisfy Mozart groupings or Queen’s Park groupings.”
Cllr Steve Summers, cabinet member for the community, said: “We looked at a number of locations for a new football pitch but after consultation, we decided on investing £100,000 in creating a new state-of-the-art synthetic pitch which is available for community use at St Augustine’s School and which users of the Moberly pitch told us they were happy with.”