Controversial High Path site of planned free school is confirmed
Merton’s proposed new secondary school will be built on a controversial site on the High Path estate in South Wimbledon, forcing a church and community centre to move elsewhere.
The Harris Wimbledon Academy – a mixed ability free school – is set to open in 2020, but the first children at the new school will start in September 2018 at a temporary site in Whatley Avenue in Wimbledon Chase.
The new secondary school site comprises land currently occupied by:
A small part of the Merton Abbey Primary School playing field (around the width of a tennis court) will also become part of the site, and in return Merton Abbey pupils will have access to a three court artificial grass facility on the Harris Wimbledon site. The council says other improvements will also be made to Merton Abbey Primary School’s grounds.
The government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA) is responsible for building the new school, which will provide 1,050 new places: 900 places for 11-16 year-olds and 250 sixth form places.
As one of the organisations that will need to move as a result of a new school being built on High Path, the High Path Community Resource Centre will be going to a new home at Leyton Road in spring 2018.
Merton Council says more than £1 million will be spent on adaptations and an extension to ensure this building is fit for purpose as a replacement facility, with the majority of the funding being provided by the EFA.
As Elim Church will have to move from High Path to make way for the new school, the council will be providing and adapting a replacement facility for the congregation at Merton Hall on Kingston Road, currently leased to the South Wimbledon Community Association (SWCA).
The council has in turn agreed an alternative facility for SWCA at 3 Pincott Road, and use of the hall for community groups at All Saints C of E School, Haydons Road out of school hours. Details of the planned moves are below:
In addition to building the new school, the council will be expanding Harris Merton in Mitcham, to provide 300 extra places in the east of the borough. These places will be available from September 2018.
Merton Council Deputy Leader Councillor Mark Allison said: “More and more families want to make their home in Merton and parents will be delighted that we will finally be able to offer them greater choice with a good new school in the heart of the borough.
“This new secondary school is in the area of the borough where there is greatest need for school places and will help us meet the demand from those children who finish primary school in 2017.
“The Harris Federation has a great deal of experience in providing good quality education and resources both in Merton and across the country.
“The new school will offer value for money and shows that even though the economic situation for councils is very challenging we can still provide quality facilities and a great opportunity for our young people to get a good education and have a great start in life.”
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November 23, 2016