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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Closure of Finsbury Park Running Track picked up by Sky Sports News

The Finsbury Park running track featured on Sky Sports News last week. In an item on on how the Olympic legacy will play out beyond the big name and training venues, the track was used as an example of how, behind the scenes, council finances are playing havoc with neighbourhood level sports.

Although our local track wasn't mentioned by name, it featured in interviews with the London Heathside althletics club. You can view a recording of the broadcast on Skynews.com here.

The situation faced by the track was previously reported by the club as follows:

The council wishes to offload the management of the track to a community group within an initial time frame of 6 months from now. We are currently exploring the possibility of taking on this task in an alliance with the Blitz American Football team. Apart from the very short timescale the main stumbling block is the operating costs, which currently show a loss each year of around £60k. The council's initial stance is not to offer any subsidy to the new management company. John Flahive is leading a project team with the Blitz to see if we can make this financially and practically viable as it will require a large volunteer work force. Unfortunately if a group does not take on this task then the council are threatening to close the facility. Our only other options would be a move to White Hart Lane (which is going through a similar exercise) or Parliment Hill Track which is used by Highgate Harriers. Once we have explored all the options and come to a conclusion the decision to go ahead or otherwise on Finsbury Park will be put to the whole club by means of an Extraordinary AGM.

Tags for Forum Posts: althletics, athletics track, finsbury park, finsbury park athletics track, olympics, public spending cuts

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"Offload". So much more honest and direct than phrases like: "partnership with the voluntary sector".

Seems the public needs a glossary.

"Effiency and savings programme" =  Another round of horrendous cuts on the way.

THANKS for posting this Hugh. I used regularly to run round this track before going to work. I was interested to read that it is said to be showing a loss each year of around £60k (the losses at the white elephant Bernie Grant Centre are many orders of magnitude higher, but better hidden).

Other losses the council might consider addressing, are the losses occasioned by schools and the police. These are heavily subsidized. It is hard to see where the profits can ever lie in municipal rubbish collection: this will surely only ever operate at a big loss. Road repairs has run at a loss for as long as I can remember. Street lighting is a chronic loss-maker.


Areas showing healthy profits are the:

  • salaries of senior managers at the council and their pension arrangements
  • council's PR budget, whose finances look healthy
  • Consultants employed at LBH
  • Parking Account
  • Banner Account


(at the risk of being cautioned, I mention that the undischarged "debt" of Alexandra Palace is more than £40m.) i.e. the Trust controlled and managed by the council, owes £40,000,000 to Haringey (the Trustee).

Accounting at Haringey: you couldn't make it up!



This item is about the potential loss of a valuable community facility which runs at a minimal loss.  As a member of the athletics club I would like to see any suggestions as to how the situation could be retrieved. We are all volunteers with families and working lives and assuming the management responsibility of the track would be a massive undertaking.


Does the track count as a playing field under the PPF scheme Erin refers to? If so has Heathside applied to it? 

I am also a member of Heathside athletics club, and I will be suitably grateful to the committee when it pulls this one out of the bag. I am sure that all the volunteers had this responsibility in their minds when they put themselves forward for selection to one of the seventeen committee posts a fortnight ago. My ability to volunteer is limited at present by a lack of reliability, but I have already, and do again,  volunteer for any task which involves working at a computer to gather or disseminate information.

I wonder if this forum would be another means of keeping members informed of progress. As far as I can tell the quote that Hugh has used above is still the only information on the club website. How has the alliance with Blitz developed? What progress has been made in partnership with the users of the gym?

I continue to be astonished by the decision Haringey has taken to close Finsbury Park Track in September unless it is run by private money. Haringey funding ceases in September.

I have attempted to illustrate before on what I think the impact might be of creating a derelict facility in the middle of a park undergoing minimal maintenance.

And I'm quite astonished by the number of events that take place there.

Less than a fortnight ago the scouts had their sports day 



On Friday 24th June Weston Park school held its sports day at the track.




Today Saturday July 2nd The London Blitz are expecting 1200 spectators at the track to watch the final of the EFAF cup against Serbia's Kragujevac Wild Boars. 















Each week the Blitz train at the track. Each week dozens of youngsters train with London Heathside.

The gym always has half a dozen young men pumping iron. 

I glimpsed that sports day from the distance, and it looked great. The closure is madness.  Is their accounting for this facility linked to local healthcare costs for diabetes/obesity? Perhaps it should be.
I forgot to mention the

The Annual Oromo Sports Day 2011 – in the UK

I don't know the standing or international recognition of Oromo, which seems to be part of Ethiopia , but their sports day will be at Finsbury Park.

THE Council takes the view that publishing their Haringey People magazine is more important than actual services for the community. In relation to lunch clubs for the elderly, the Leader of the Council is quoted as saying that people "rely" on Haringey People magazine.


Cutting Haringey People completely would seriously diminish our ability to communicate effectively with residents. This would not be acceptable given that so many people rely on the magazine


What can Haringey people rely on in the council's magazine?


I saw that too , Clive.


Sometime ago I read that something like a third of councils in England make the most money from parking charges/fines and school dinners.

These snipes at Haringey Council are all very well - but does anyone have constructive ideas on how the track can remain open? Just getting the Council to reverse their decision on reducing the funding does nothing for us as a club - it will just extend the misery we experience. We need capital investment (£250,000 minimum) and a sustainable management regime.
You may already have done this but is there any mileage in approaching the Mayor's office and capitalising on the Olympic Legacy plan? Joanne McCartney may be interested in helping you with this



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