Campaigners say school cannot legally expand
Campaigners fighting against plans to expand a primary school into a popular Wimbledon recreation ground say the scheme is being monitored by the relevant Government department.
Merton council plans to increase the size of Dundonald Primary from a one-form entry to a two-form entry school, by replacing Dundonald Recreation Ground's pavilion with a two-storey building.
But the Protect Dundonald Rec Group (PDR), has said the school cannot legally expanded because of a restricted covenant on the land.
Now the group says it has received formal confirmation from the Department for Communities and Local Government (National Planning Casework Unit) that they are monitoring the progress of the planning application and are prepared to intervene if it gets approval.
Lorraine Maries, Chairman of PDR, said: "I'm delighted the Secretary of State is prepared to step-in to prevent the loss of open space and sport facilities"
"Sport England is trying to prevent the tennis courts being taken from the public and transferred to the school. The reduction of sport facilities contravenes Sport England's guidelines and is clearly putting at risk the use of a football pitch".
The plans had been 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.
Merton council's Cabinet approved the plans last September, with a commitment that the development does not set a precedent for future building in the park.
Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration Councillor Andrew Judge said: "I would like to reassure residents that the tennis courts will remain open for public use outside school hours, as has always been the case. We are proposing to increase the number of tennis courts from the current two to three.
"We will also ensure that the three football pitches which currently exist will remain untouched. In addition to this, football teams would be able to benefit from modern changing rooms with showers linked to each changing room and each changing room would be larger than the current ones to accommodate a whole football team."
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October 5, 2012