Pentecostal Church Set To Be Housed In South Wimbledon Community Centre

Move is needed to free up space for borough's new free school

Merton Council is planning to transform the historic Merton Hall community building in South Wimbledon as part of its plan to free up space for a new free school in the borough.

It is proposing to enable the existing Elim Church in High Path to move into the existing community centre in Kingston Road. This would then enable the new Harris Wimbledon Academy - a mixed ability free school - to be built on the High Path estate.

But the Elim Church is demanding a bigger hall than the existing building, as well as a 'black box' theatre space with no windows or natural light.

Plans submitted by Merton Council to its own planning department state the bigger space will require significant external cooling, which will need a new roof structure.

"Significant acoustic work" is also recommended to prevent sound from the hall disturbing neighbours.

The existing two-storey Merton Hall was built in 1899 and is on Merton Council's list of buildings of historical or architectural interest.

The church has stated they require locating into a building which will have a significant presence in the locality defined be a strong visual statement which will be designed to be inviting and interesting to their congregation members, passers-by and members of the public.

The traditional church appearance is not a style that they wish to see with the building. The scheme would reduce the number of car parking spaces from seven to three.

The proposed design increases the size of the front elevation, with glazing features that will still allow the original building to be seen through the glass. The council has submitted the following design:

It is inviting comments on the scheme until March 3. You can search for more details on the scheme by searching on Merton Council's planning explorer using the following reference number: 16/P4748.

What do you think? Why not comment on our forum?

February 20, 2017

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Merton Hall as it is now