After many years of decline Oatlands Park Cricket Club stopped operating as a playing club in 1997 and after an extensive marketing campaign CALA was selected as preferred bidder for the redevelopment of the five acre site. Our development proposal met with opposition from all quarters with both the national press and national television joining in the condemnation of our scheme. In addition to this, opposition from the MCC and Sport England strongly objected to the loss of playing fields despite an over-provision in the borough of Elmbridge.
Surrounding neighbours felt so strongly about our development proposal that they broke into our site and along with the vice-chairman of the planning committee, strapped themselves to trees in an anti-development protest against CALA.
Faced with this level of opposition many may have thrown in the towel but we persevered and through an extensive programme of community exhibitions and private presentations, we eventually managed to change the opinion of local ward councillors. In addition to this and as a fantastic example of community liaison, we secured the appearance of the one-time chairman of the "Save Oatlands Park" anti-development committee to actually give evidence on our behalf at the successful planning appeal.
This Case Study illustrates: