Dundonald Rec Plans Get Council Go-Ahead

Campaigners vow to fight against expansion scheme

Campaigners have reacted furiously to the decision made by Merton Council's cabinet to expand Dundonald Primary School in Wimbledon.

The controversial scheme to expand the primary school into Dundonald Rec was approved by leading councillors on Monday night (December 9).

The council plans to increase the size of the school from a one-form entry to a two-form entry school, by replacing Dundonald Recreation Ground's pavilion with a two-storey building.

The plans, put forward as part of a series of measures to find primary school places as the borough's birth rate has increased by 39% since 2002, will result in an extra 210 places.

But the campaign group set up to oppose the plans - Protect Dundonald Rec (PDR) - has said it will continue take legal advice on the decision.

Lorraine Maries of PDR said: "There is no justification for expanding this school onto public open space, especially when the money is desperately needed for education elsewhere in the borough.

And Dr Ernesto Pinto, Chair of Dundonald Rec Tennis Club, which is threatened by the decision, added: "This appropriation will irreversibly damage our sport facilities within the Rec. Bowling will cease to be forever after a century of play; the future of football, cricket and tennis will be at risk.

"The sport pavilion will not be part of the Recreation Ground, so the Council can choose to ban sports users from using it. This is not acceptable.

He is also a member of the Dundonald Rec Sports Committee, and said they were considering what action they could take to "secure the rights of teams and players".

But Councillor Peter Walker (pictured right handing out leaflets to local mothers earlier this week), who was originally involved in drawing up scheme, said: "This final chapter is a victory for local children and their parents as the £5.5m expansion will allow an additional 200 children to attend this oversubscribed local school."

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December 11, 2013