Chairman's Blog - Sept 2022

A green space, pledged for sport 

Bellway Homes has made a third application to build 107 dwellings on the LESSA sports ground in Meadowview Road within weeks of the formal refusal by the Council of their second application. 

This application was registered on 2nd August, with comments due back by the end of August. Obviously, they hoped in this way to minimise the 250 objections made to the second application.  

This is another example of the breath-taking cynicism of this company, which has always refused to allow the continued use of the ground for sports, as the Planning Inspector decided in 2009/10 should happen. This was the basis on which Bellway bought the ground, and marketed the 44 homes they built.  

The new application has the same number of proposed buildings, but squeezes in one extra small pitch, on the flood plain.  It does not address the basis of the Planning Committee’s decision, which was that the whole of the ground should be used for sports, and that there was no time limit for this to be done.  It does not overcome Merton’s planning guidance for the site, which is that it must be used for sport. 

Bellway is still refusing to deal with the sporting consortium comprising an adult and a junior cricket club, and a junior school, which have made a viable proposal, which is supported by the ECB and Sport England. 

We believe that this hurried application, which takes no account of the Council’s decision, is an abuse of the planning process. It takes up the time and efforts of the planning officers, and is a clear attempt to wear down the resilience of local residents.  

We will be urging the Council, in our objections, to decline to determine it, on the basis that it is fundamentally the same application which has just been rejected. 

The company has the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate within 6 months of the decision. They could have taken this option – and still can. 

John Elvidge 

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