Fulham’s Hurlingham Park is set to undergo a major renovation after council bosses signed a deal to bring an international polo competition to the park next June.
As part of a three year deal, which will see teams from world cities including London, Paris, New York, Sydney, Buenos Aries and Mumbai compete in a three day tournament, organisers World Polo Ltd will provide a lump sum investment of £200,000 plus an additional £50,000 per year.
The park’s grass area is to renovated for the polo and a new long jump pit and shot put area will be built after the tournament in addition to an enlarged grass athletics track. Council bosses say these changes will ensure schools and clubs who currently use the park benefit from improved facilities the whole year round.
Cllr Paul Bristow, Hammersmith & Fulham’s cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “This really is an excellent deal for residents who regularly use Hurlingham Park. We have negotiated hard with World Polo Ltd and are pleased that they have agreed to invest such a large sum of money on our park.”
The competition has also received a warm welcome from local residents. Caroline Scott, 60, of Hurlingham Road, said: “I think this is a terrific idea. People often see polo as an elitist sport but I think it will be really fun and it will make this area known for something.”
The competition will take place from Thursday June 4 to Saturday June 6, 2009. The council will be giving away 100 free tickets for local people and another 250 tickets will be available at a discounted price of £15.
The council has promised that all clubs who may be inconvenienced during the week of polo are rehoused.
A special community event will also be held on Sunday June 7 where local people will be able to learn more about the sport of polo and residents will be able to learn more about the polo festival and the major improvements set for the park at meeting to be held on Wednesday 26 November, from 6pm to 7.30pm at the Hurlingham Park pavilion.