October 2010


Club’s Future in Doubt at Mayesbrook Arena

As a result of a planning application submitted to the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham regarding the development of the Mayesbrook Arena, there is a strong likelihood that the Club will no longer be able to operate from that site.

The application has been made by Ebbsfleet Community Sports Centre Ltd to build an indoor leisure centre 100m x 60m x 12m. The positioning of this building (possibly the largest of its type in the UK) would involve the demolition of the existing dilapidated stand, the HMAC Clubhouse and the pavilion (changing rooms, toilets and warm-up area) used by the Club on training evenings and during competitions, with no intention of replacement facilities being provided.

HMAC has been the sole tenant at the Mayesbrook Arena since 1992 and has had exclusive use of our clubhouse from that time. The public notice advising of the planning application appeared in the local press some three weeks ago without any prior consultation with the Club.

The Arena has been selected by the Olympic Development Agency as a training site for athletics and paralympic athletics. This is good news because it will involve the relaying of the existing track to Olympic standards. As part of the funding arrangements (nothing being supplied by Barking & Dagenham), the ODA has agreed a deal with the private developer (Ebbsfleet) to build the leisure centre as an ‘Olympics legacy’. However, the developer has no intention of making the facility user-friendly for athletics. Conversations regarding the incorporation of a room adjacent to the finish area from which recorders and a commentator could operate have fallen on deaf ears as has the suggestion of an undercover area for timekeepers. Nor is there any positive indication of the provision of permanent outdoor seating.

The developer’s stated aim for the building is that it be used as a home for National Handball, able to host regional, national and European competitions. In addition, other national governing bodies (e.g. tennis and soccer) have expressed interest.

The Club has submitted a formal objection to the application citing inadequate consultation, the loss of community facilities, lack of athletics provision in the sports hall, inadequate parking, and the lack of information about the construction programme. The London Chair of England Athletics has also got involved on the Club’s behalf and has also submitted a formal objection.

Whilst the Club welcomes some aspects of the proposal, the basis of our objection is that without changes this proposal may not allow HMAC to continue to operate as at present and unable to host national and regional fixtures that it currently attracts.

The process is being moved along at a ‘rate of knots’ and we may hear more in the coming week following a meeting of the B&D Development Control Board (the body responsible for approval – or otherwise – of planning applications). The Club Committee is determined to take whatever steps are necessary to publicise the Club’s case and meetings have already been held with the local MP and key Councillors.



Essex Athletics Networking

As part of a national initiative, the Essex Athletics Network has been established, of which the Club is a member, and we are pleased to announce that Tony Benton has been appointed as the Network's Activator. As such, Tony will be responsible, over a three-year period,  for coordinating the activities of member clubs in order to meet key points contained in the Network’s Development Plan including coach development, sharing expertise between clubs and collaborative work on funding applications. Watch out for news of coming events.

Health & Safety

Effective immediately, the use of Ipods, phones, etc to listen to music whilst training or taking part in competitions is banned. UKA policy bans such use during competitions and individual Clubs are asked to decide on their own policy during training sessions. Accordingly, the Club Committee has decided that the use of such equipment is dangerous and inappropriate during training and all Coaches are asked to ensure that all athletes are made aware of this policy.

Fluorescent Bibs/Armbands

Continuing with the topic of health & safety, it is necessary to remind all young athletes that, for their own protection, a fluorescent bib or ‘flashing’ armband must be worn when leaving Hornchurch Stadium or the Mayesbrook Arena on road runs. It has been evident lately, that some athletes are trying to avoid the use of such safety wear and others are removing the bibs/armbands before re-entering the Stadia. Such actions, if repeated, may result in disciplinary action (e.g. suspension) being taken against the members concerned.

Expenses Policy

The Club’s policy regarding the payment of expenses has recently been amended and all Team Manager’s will be made aware of the changes. The main change concerns paid-up first-claim members competing in UK and National Competitions. Effective immediately, such expenses will not be reimbursed unless and until the member concerned has competed for the Club in at least two league matches during the track and field season. The same condition also applies separately to the cross-country season.


Dave Baggs

We are pleased to announce that Dave Baggs has accepted an invitation to join the Club’s Finance & General Purposes Committee




The growth and success of Facebook and other social networks as a communication tool has been extraordinary. However, there has been more than one instance of Club members using the facility in a way that brings the Club into disrepute. In one case, it was a contributory factor to the member concerned having membership terminated. The Committee will not hesitate to take appropriate action in similar cases in future. It should also be noted that some employers check social network sites on applicants before offering employment.


Dates for your Diary

AGM 18th March

Essex & Eastern Counties Indoor Champs - Lee Valley 12th & 13th March

Essex Track & Field Championships - Day 1 - Southend 2nd May

Essex Combined Events - Woodford 7th & 8th May

Essex Track & Field Championships Days 2 & 3 - Chelmsford 14th & 15th May

Essex Relay Championships - Braintree 15th July


Indoor Training Area

The area under the dressing rooms accessed via the car park at Hornchurch Stadium is now available to coaches for small group, indoor training when the weather is bad. Our thanks go to the Knight and Hewitt families who spent their Sunday morning recently clearing away lots of dust and cobwebs. The key is available to Coaches and can be borrowed from Graham Knight. In the interests of security, it must be returned to Graham at the end of each session.

Essex Cross Country League

Club coaches Dave and Eileen Naylor would like to thank all of their 37 athletes who turned out for the first Essex Cross Country League at One Tree Hill - well done to all who took part.

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