Merton Council Under Investigation For Maladministration

Claim made by the 'Protect Dundonald Rec Campaign Group'

The Local Government Ombudsman has taken up a claim of maladministration which has been brought by the Protect Dundonald Rec Campaign Group (PDR) against Merton Council.

The Council's handling of the planning application to to increase the size of Dundonald Primary School by replacing Dundonald Recreation Ground's pavilion with a two-storey building will now be investigated.

Lorraine Maries, Chairman of PDR, said: "I am pleased that the Ombudsman is intervening. The entire process for this planning application is riddled with mistakes.

"The Council has ignored the hundreds of objections by local residents and has provided incomplete and misleading information to Sport England, the Mayor of London and the planning committee. It is obvious to everyone that they have failed in their duty to handle this application in an impartial manner."

This month PDR is marking the second anniversary of their campaigm. The council is yet to secure planning approval and modification of the Innes brothers Covenant protecting the Rec.

The case is due to go to the Upper Lands Tribunal on June 24 over the modification of the covenant covering the land.

Lorraine Maries said: "Even though the Council approved its own planning application in January 2013, the conditions imposed for approval by the Planning Committee, the Mayor of London and Sport England have not been met. Therefore there is NO approval.”

She continued: "The application to the Lands Tribunal reveals the Council's intention to remove the right of the general public to the land. We hope that the court will recognise this and reject the Council's request."

But Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet member for education, said the council believed it had followed all the correct procedures and the case for the expansion of the school was "extremely strong".

"There is a huge demand for school places in that area, and the expansion will be of benefit to the whole community. We also believe it will enhance the local sports facilities.

"The council believes it has a very strong case, and we are very committed to the expansion of Dundonald School. It's an outstanding school, providing high quality education," he said.

PDR will be holding a Benefit Concert on Saturday (June 15) at 7.30pm at St Andrews Church in Herbert Road. The 'Wimbledon Players' will be performing Mozart Masterpieces. For information or to book tickets email

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

June 13, 2013