Councillors Back Controversial South Wimbledon School Project

Campaigners warn academy will be built on pollution hotspot

Controversial plans for a new Harris Academy free school in South Wimbledon have been backed by councillors.

Merton Council's planning committee have voted in favour of the scheme to build the five-storey school, for 1,100 pupils, in High Path.

But campaigners against the scheme point out that it is on a site identified by London Mayor Sadiq Khan as one of the 50 most polluted schools in the capital.

The project met earlier controversy after the deal to free up the necessary land to house the school involved the partial demolition of Merton Hall in Kingston Road to create a new home for the High Path-based Elim Pentecostal Church.

Wimbledon Harris Academy plan

How the planned new school will look

Former Labour Councillor Peter Walker, who has been at the heart of the opposition to the scheme, said: "With the rebuilding of the High Path Estate, which surrounds the new school site, air pollution targets will worsen. This is due to this redevelopment planning to double the number of local parking spaces and double the population on the estate.

“The immediate effect of giving the go-ahead for the new secondary school, will be to threaten the health of 350 young children at the adjacent Merton Abbey Primary school now, and 1,100 secondary school pupils who are planned for the school if it is built on this site.

“This development is not only in a pollution hotspot, but it also envisages putting over 1,100 teenage pupils in a five storey building with virtually no open play space and unable to open the windows due to the air pollution levels outside.”

November 22, 2018