Warren Farm Sports Centre / Nature Reserve

There’s a couple of Notes questioning the name that OSM has mapped here:



As best as I can see from web searches (but anybody who knows better is welcome to correct me):

  • the name currently mapped seems to be only a proposed name. It has local support but Ealing Council (which owns the site) has not yet used that name as far as I can see
  • the name registered with Royal Mail is Warren Farm Sports Centre, but is not in active use as a sports centre

OSM has it mapped with operator=https://www.warrenfarmnaturereserve.co.uk but a web search does not find any recent indication that Ealing Council has formally appointed a third party to operate the site. But perhaps most significant is that their History page ends with this note:

I am not local to the area, but if I was, and on the basis of what is presented there, I would certainly be adding my support.

But my feeling is that it is premature and incorrect for OSM to map a “proposed name” when it seems that “constructive discussion” has not yet begun with the landowner. It is not OSM’s job to prejudge a proposal, no matter how much local support it might have.

Equally though, it shouldn’t be mapped as a sports centre if there is no longer a sports centre there – even if there is still signage that says that.

Accordingly, my suggestion would be that it should at present be mapped just as Warren Farm with possibly Warren Farm Nature Reserve as an alt_name to help those searching under that name.

Likewise, the operator tag should probably be changed to a different keyword unless/until there is evidence that https://www.warrenfarmnaturereserve.co.uk is in some way “operating” the area. Meanwhile, that web site is certainly providing useful information about the site, so perhaps information= or website= would be appropriate for it.

Editors Milhouse and Hanwellweather have previously been involved in mapping the site, so I’ll invite them to comment. But it would also help to have a balanced view from other editors who are either in the area or have time to check out the history in detail.

Hi Harry,

I replied to your email and responded to the two notes you posted. I’ve pasted my comment on the note below. I agree with you that the rename is an attempt to influence the outcome of future decisions.
I edited the closed way representing Warren Farm with the new improved Bing imagery a few weeks ago and removed some comments that looked like campaigning/sniping at the council. Even though I support the campaign, this isn’t what OSM is for (and I’m not sure it’ll be that effective a platform to do that anyway).

Including the web address of the campaign would seem to be of benefit for OSM users as is any source of information on the web, but do the fields used seem to conflate the campaign with the legal ownership/responsibility for the land?

===== My note comment below…
It’s not a Sports Centre, and I don’t think it has been for several years. I adjusted the boundaries a few weeks ago to account for the derelict buildings. The local authority had arranged to sell/transfer it to a QPR football club as a training ground but that fell through.
There is a campaign to designate it a nature reserve (which I support) but calling it that in advance of any official designation is probably premature.
I’ll check any signage when I’m next there, but I suspect that if it says “sports centre” it doesn’t reflect the situation on the ground either!


I seem to remember there was some earlier discussion on this: probably through notes. I know I did a bit of sleuthing and was unable to come up with anything other than it was a disused sports facility. The statement that it is a LNR is of course incorrect because this is a statutory designation. “Nature Reserve” itself can be used by anyone without any implications as to a status in law (there are numerous private nature reserves & many reserves run by the Wildlife Trusts have no statutory protections). It may be worth seeing if it has been designated as an LWS, although these have little or no protection other than being noted in planning applications.

The situation is not that different from Hounslow Heath Golf Course (still labelled as such, but re-tagged as landuse=grass), which also needs a bit of attention. Such former sports sites are not uncommon (there’s a big disused golf course to W of Leicester & a private school playing field near me has been unmanaged since around 2010-11.

Probably this is the best approach, possibly with the addition of "former " to the name. alt_name may be suitable for the “…nature reserve” if it is indeed referred to by this name locally. Clearly it doesn’t really have a name at present, but people will know it as Warren Farm in one way or another, so another alternative is just to truncate it to Warren Farm.

Hi, For understanding my contribution to the Warren Farm updates are based on my continuous communication with both Legitimised organisations such as Brent River and canal society and the campaigners Petitioning for a recognised LNR status. I have sent a link to this forum and the notes to the main body of concern, to get back with more information for you.

So far as I know from discussions and updates, Ealing council have accepted responsibility for maintaining Warren Farm as an acid grass meadow. The Nature reserve or LNR status as an official standing is awaiting approval but has been accepted to be the right way forward for this re-wilded land by a number of long established organisations. I myself am not the best source of detailed information and hope that the local campaigners which I support can fill you in better very soon. The renaming to Warren Farm Nature Reserve was desired by not only the campaigning group but by the wider community as well as Brent River and Canal Society. There is no attempt to misrepresent the council, but merely a move in the right direction. Although there will be signage indicating a sports centre, It has been lost in time and the buildings and facilities in derelict condition for over 8 years. quintessentially abandoned.

Signage has not yet been adopted on the land but some signage exist on the perimeter with advice on littering and care to be taken in respect of birds nesting etc. Bins have been put out to reduce littering by users. There are plans in a state of waiting to transform the meadow into a fully managed reserve with a visitor centre on the site that was the sports centre changing rooms (derelict) Of course Once LNR status is secured and certified, I myself or the campaigning organisations can update you via this forum or other means as you suggest.

Sincerely Neil Smith

Those quotes would be great, if they could be backed up by a minuted statement from Ealing Council confirming that it approves the site being henceforth known by that name.