Politicians lead call for 1,000 years more cricket at Mitcham

There’s been cricket played on Mitcham Cricket Green for the past 333 years

A community campaign to preserve the fabric of one of the world’s oldest cricket grounds is celebrating today after securing cross-party support to save from development the pavilion at the historic Mitcham Cricket Green, with politicians backing calls for a 999-year lease for the asset of community value.

Mitcham’s cricket ground is the oldest in the world, where the game has been played every year since at least 1685 –  at a time when the Restoration King, Charles II, was on the throne, and Christopher Wren was still working on building the new St Paul’s Cathedral.

But now the pavilion used by Mitcham Cricket Club is at risk from a hotel development which involves the Burn Bullock pub – which in its time has also provided accommodation for cricketers – and the lack of legal security provided by the landowners. The owners have given no commitment to funding investment in the cricket pavilion and the loss of its equipment shed would make operating the cricket ground impossible.

Politicians, from local MP Siobhain McDonagh, to a range of local councillors, including Stephen Alambritis, the Labour council leader, and Oonagh Moulton, the leader of the Tory opposition, have issued this supportive statement:

Siobhain McDonagh: MP backing the Mitcham cricket pavilion campaign

“Merton is immensely proud of the 333-year tradition of playing cricket on the Green in Mitcham – the longest record for any ground in the world. We are aware of the difficulties faced by Mitcham Cricket Club due to the uncertain tenure of Mitcham cricket pavilion. The cricket pavilion is recognised as the first asset of community value in Merton. We are also aware of the troubled recent history of the Burn Bullock site and of the development and restoration plans which have the potential to bring a lasting solution.

“As part of any development proposals for the site we are united in our desire to see the transfer of Mitcham cricket pavilion and all its operational land and buildings into community ownership and management through transfer of the freehold or provision of a 999-year lease at a peppercorn rent ahead of any new development.”

Local campaigners were obviously extremely pleased to have got such broad backing.

The pavilion at Mitcham Cricket Green, offering a view across the busy road to the game

“We are delighted by this all-party commitment to securing Mitcham cricket pavilion for the community,” said Tony Burton, the Mitcham Cricket Green Community and Heritage secretary.

“Local pride in the long traditions of cricket in Mitcham runs deep.

“We are determined to secure the future of Mitcham Cricket Club through development that meets both the high standards of the Conservation Area and results in the cricket pavilion being run by the community.”

Mitcham Cricket Club is running a fundraising campaign to save the cricket pavilion. For more information, click here.

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1 Response to Politicians lead call for 1,000 years more cricket at Mitcham

  1. Lewis White says:

    The Cricket Green, the pavilion and the adajcent buildings incluidng the Burn Bullock , the other currently closed pub (ex Hooden on the Green) with a pillared entrance–and several buildings facing the Green, add up to a unique architectural and landscape environment.
    Rescue of the pavilion is great news.

    Sadly, the Burn Bullock and other pub have been shut for a long time, and I am sure that all lovers of old buildings in the Mitcham area will be worried about their future.

    I hate to say it, but if this area were in North London or Richmond area, it would be gentrified and these attarctive and historic buildings would be rescued. There just don’t seem to be enough Mitcham gentry around nowadays!

    A car park to allow people to park near the green would be a great idea. It would pull in more people to enjoy the green and the –let’s hope– “re-opening soon pubs”.

    A hotel in the Burn Biullock?. Oh dear, sounds ominous. A hostel maybe ?

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