Dundonald Primary School Plans Get Go-Ahead

Merton councillors give green light to scheme

The controversial expansion plans for Dundonald Primary School in Wimbledon were given the go-ahead by council planners on Thursday (January 17).

The scheme will see Dundonald Primary increased in size from a one-form entry to a two-form entry school, by replacing Dundonald Recreation Ground's pavilion with a two-storey building.

Members of the Protect Dundonald Rec campaign group had fought against the plans which they say will result in a loss of community use of the tennis courts, the loss of a bowling green and will violate a historic covenant that restricts building on Dundonald Recreation Ground (pictured below).

But Merton borough council's planning committee voted in favour of the plans by 5-2 in front of a packed council chamber.

Protect Dundonald Rec has said it will launch a judicial review if the plans are approved and is considering a charge of maladministration against the council.

And it is still open to London's Mayor Boris Johnson stop the proposals in their tracks. The Council must now consult the Mayor again, and he has 14 days to decide whether to let the decision to proceed unchanged, or whether to tell the Council they must refuse the application.

During the meeting planning officers said the "vast majority" of the public who responded to the consultation were against the plans.

Following the outcome of the meeting, local Lib Dem campaigner Diana Coman said: "If the Council had not sold off so many school sites in the past there would be land to use for new schools now or – more likely – there would be no need for new schools at all."

Councillor Iain Dysart, leader of Merton's Lib Dem councillors added: "Although we know that finding enough primary school places is a London-wide issue, this episode serves as a stark reminder of how long-term planning is infinitely preferable to short-term scrambling".

Councillor Peter Walker said: "I welcome this decision which saw a cross party vote to support the expansion of Dundonald School.  It is a victory for the 200 local children and their parents who will gladly take the extra places the expansion will create"

"It is also a victory for local residents who will benefit from a £6million investment in the park.  It means new facilities for local people, and contrary to what has been said locally, will see an actual increase in publically available open space for park users."

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January 18, 2013