Dundonald School Plans Referred To Attorney General

Campaigners say school cannot legally expand

Campaigners fighting against plans to expand a primary school into a popular Wimbledon recreation ground have requested the intervention of the Attorney General.

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 Campaign (PDR), has said the school cannot legally expanded because of a restricted covenant on the land.

And now it also says there is "strong evidence" in the council's archives that the Rec is also subject to a statutory trust.

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 in September, with a commitment that the development does not set a precedent for future building in the park.

But Lorraine Maries, PDR chairman, said: "This Trust demonstrates that the land is held by the council for the public benefit. We have reported this to the Attorney General and we hope he will intervene to protect the public interest in keeping this land as a public open space, which is what we need most in this area."

A statement from PDR also said that when the Wimbledon Local Board (a predecessor to Merton Borough council) acquired the Rec, the intention stated in the conveyances was that it should remain a public facility forever.

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February 10, 2012