Dundonald Rec Will Get A New Community Pavilion

Temporary facility is approved after tennis club takes plans to appeal

Dundonald Rec pavilion plan

Outline plan for temporary community pavilion in Dundonald Rec

A community pavilion is set to be provided in Dundonald Rec after the scheme was approved by a Government planning inspector on appeal.

Merton Council planners turned down a scheme last year to set up the temporary pavilion to provide community space, a cafe and temporary toilets in Dundonald Recreation Ground.

Dundonald Rec Tennis Club (DRTC) put the plans together because it otherwise has no indoor area to store equipment and for people to go indoors to change or to shelter. There are also no toilets generally available for public use.

Head coach Metro Mustfa said: "For many years DRTC has worked with locals to develop tennis in the local area. However my plan is to take it much further, so that we can offer tennis to a wider age range and greater number of people. Unfortunately, the lack of a suitable indoor shelter limits our ability to develop our 'Tennis for All' programme".

Facilities built as part of the expansion of Dundonald Primary School are effectively not available for public use, as they are used full-time by the school during school hours and by cricket and football teams at the weekends. The toilets are only open for sport bookings, and not the general public.

But last August Merton council turned down the DRTC plan for a temporary community pavilion. They said it would be detrimental to the character of the Rec's open space, specifically the setting of the rose garden.

Chris Goodair, Chairman of Wimbledon Society's Planning and Environment Committee had told the council: "The proposed buildings appear to be haphazardly placed, and unrelated to the rose garden layout, which is a formally designed rectangular space. It is hard to see how they will not detract from the park.The proposed buildings are placed over the root systems of several major trees and this is not normally regarded by the Council as being in any way desirable."

But DRTC took the decision to appeal, with Government-appointed Inspector Eleni Randle reversing the council's decision following a site visit on February 21.

She noted that the toilets included in the facilities built as part of the school's expansion were closed during her visit. She added: "Submitted correspondence with Idverde, who manage the site, has confirmed that the public toilet facilities are only open at the weekend for sports bookings leaving no toilet facilities during the week. The evidence before me supports that the pavilion is not available for community use due to exclusive use by the school on weekdays, cricket in the summer and football in the winter."

She allowed the DRTC's appeal subject to opening hours of 7am to 10pm, a tree protection plan and the site being reinstated when the building is removed within five years.

"The proposal seeks temporary planning permission for five - seven years, despite the buildings being constructed on foundations. This time period is able to be controlled by condition, I do not find there would be harmful impact on the setting of the rose garden as a result of the temporary timing of the proposal," she added.

April 25, 2022