20th June 2014
A Haringey park has re-asserted itself as a magnet for basketball players from across London since a £300,000 facelift, all funded outside the London borough.
Ducketts Common near Turnpike Lane tube station boasts the finest basketball courts in the city, with spring-loaded hoops imported from the US for serious slam dunks, thanks to the park’s Friends Group, Groundwork London and the London Borough of Haringey.
The NBA selected Ducketts Common for their 2013 London summer 3on3 basketball tournament screened on Nickelodeon, including a guest appearance by NBA star Atlanta Hawks centre-forward Al Horford.
Troy Tigers, the North London basketball team that has made Ducketts Common its home, followed that up with a repeat 3on3 tournament at Easter, alongside supporting partners Reach & Teach, London School of Basketball, Haringey Sports Development Trust, and I Am Finest.
Haringey Open Space Programme Officer Martin Hall, himself a former professional basketball player, said:
“This really is a triumph of local people mobilizing to get the facilities they want – and volunteering to keep them in tip-top condition thereafter.”
The Friends Group and one particular resident raised £250,000 for the ball court improvements with designers Groundwork London and Haringey. Funding for the project came from various sources, including the London Marathon Trust, Big Lottery Community Spaces, the London Mayor’s 2012 Legacy Plan and Sport England’s Places People Play.
Groundwork London consulted locally and with community groups to devise a Community Action Plan, which identifies the park’s key features, including the layout, plants, trees and other vegetation, play areas, paths and entrances, and how to tend for them.
Already a well-known venue for outdoor basketball, and originally converted from rarely used tennis courts, it was decided to rebuild the now worn-out basketball courts and provide two full-sized quality basketball courts with the US imported baskets with acrylic backboards and an additional pair of practice hoops making six baskets to shoot at.
There is a 5-a-side football pitch in the remaining space, which can double for netball or volleyball, which was added to reduce the number of footballs kicked on the nearby grass, which is close to a children’s playground and adjacent to a new gym.
Specialist sports surface contractor Blakedown performed the upgrade using Duo8 Super Rebound fencing from sports fencing manufacturer Zaun.
As well as the 3m high fencing to keep the balls within the play zone, Zaun has made especially for Ducketts Common a 30-metre stretch of 1.2m-high twin fencing with a steel plate cap on which spectators often sit.
Next to the courts is a 14-piece outdoor gym with 22 workout stations. Attention will now turn to fundraise for the final phase of improvements to the north end of the common, where a plaza is proposed with seating and planting, a place to sit and relax.
“We’ve been delighted with everything our contractors have done that has brought players flocking from all over London. In fact we’re so pleased, we’re planning a similar project in Finsbury Park which as well as the multi-use games area can also stage concerts.”