New Church Designs For South Wimbledon Community Centre

Proposed scheme involves demolishing part of historic Merton Hall

New plans to transform the historic Merton Hall in South Wimbledon, involve demolishing part of the building, have been submitted.

Merton Council wants to make the changes to enable the existing Elim Church in High Path to move into the community centre building in Kingston Road.

This would then enable the new Harris Wimbledon Academy - a mixed ability free school - to be built on the High Path estate.

Plans submitted to the council's own planning committee earlier this year were rejected after objections from The Wimbledon Society, the Victorian Society and the John Innes Society.

Councillors then felt felt the design was not in keeping with the current building, nor the neighbouring Merton Manor Club, which is now up for sale.

The existing two-storey Merton Hall was built in 1899 and is on Merton Council's list of buildings of historical or architectural interest.

But the Elim Church is demanding a bigger hall than the existing building to cope with its congregation size, which it says can include 225 people on Sundays.

The amended scheme would reduce the number of car parking spaces from seven to five, including one disabled bay.

The design proposed (below) still increases the size of the front elevation, with glazing features that will allow the original building to be seen through the glass.

It also includes a cafe, foyer and meeting halls, but the extension at the right-hand side has been amended since the first planning application was rejected in April.

A report prepared for the council's planning committee says 11 of the 12 community groups which use the centre have already moved to another venue, or have agreed to move elsewhere.

Wimbledon Foodbank, which uses the High Path building, would get its own storage area in the new premises. It would also be used by another church group called 'Cathedral of Hope' and the public would be welcome to use the cafe.

The council is taking comments on the plans until the extended date of August 23. Details of the scheme can be found in the council's online planning explorer, using the application number 17/P2668.

A petition opposing the scheme has been set up at: Save Merton Hall petition.

New design of the front of Merton Hall

New design of the back of Merton Hall

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August 3, 2017

Related links
Related Links

Merton Hall as it is now

Artist's impression of new design

The rejected first scheme