Residents celebrate as centre comes to life
Ten years after the loss of the old hall, local councillors have welcome news that the new Community Centre is set to open its doors in Wimbledon Park.
There was controversy when Merton Council sold Wimbledon Park Hall to developers for £1,049,750 against the wishes of a number of local residents.
Councillor Andrew Judge, who was the borough council leader at the time, said it was closed as part of budget cuts because it was a dilapidated hall which was "barely used except by the Scouts and Cubs."
Detailed specifications for a new community facility were included in the developer's tender. The old hall was then demolished (see top right picture).
Following the financial downturn, it took 10 years for the new centre to be built. It has now been leased to the Council with a sublease to the Wimbledon Park Residents Association.
Councillor Oonagh Moulton, Wimbledon Park Councillor and Leader of Merton Conservative Group, said: "It is wonderful that after 10 years of negotiation, countless meetings and pressure on the Council and developer, residents are finally seeing a new community centre open on the site of the former Wimbledon Park Hall.
Tariq, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, former Wimbledon Park Councillor, added: "Whilst I was a councillor for Wimbledon Park ward the loss of the old Hall, and the delays encountered when trying to secure its replacement, were a constant feature of my in-tray.
"I am delighted to learn that the new Community Centre is now finally coming to life. It is a tribute to the hard work of the local community and I’d like to acknowledge the role of the WPRA. This is a great example of community action and I am very much looking forward to seeing the centre for myself in the near future."
Councillor Judge said: "I am very glad that this approach of reproviding a modern hall from a development of the old site, which was devised through close working between the Council I led and the Wimbledon Park Residents Association, has finally come to fruition with the revival of the property market. I believe it will provide an excellent facility for many years to come".
February 21, 2014