Chairman's Blog - June 2013


Work is well under way to convert the former tennis pavilion at 129 Grand Drive into a community centre that will be available to local residents for meetings and gatherings of all kinds.

By the time you read this, the conversion should be almost complete.

We are putting in better toilet facilities, which disabled people will also be able to use, modern heating, more double glazing, and building a glass conservatory along the front to create more space. Along with this will go a complete change of décor and modern furnishings.

It should be a very warm and welcoming place. The hire charges will be modest, and will be only enough to cover the costs of use. If anyone is at all interested in looking over it to see if they'd like to use it, please contact any of the committee members, whose details are given inside the back cover.

We have made an agreement with a lady who wants to set up a group for toddlers (aged up to 4) and their carers during the day time until 3.30 pm. It's not a nursery where children will be left, but the idea is that the mother/father/grandparent will enjoy a cup of something and a chat while watching their child play with others. Part of one of the tennis courts will be fenced off and have play equipment, to increase their enjoyment. Read more here.

We intend to retain one of the tennis courts for tennis, and that will be available for hire. It's in good condition.

We had a meeting with a number of those whose houses back onto the premises, to discuss whether we should have any parking there. The consensus was that the access route for cars would be too difficult and even dangerous, since it's narrow, there's no room for cars to pass, and there's no space left for pedestrians, particularly those with buggies.

We hope very much to have a second phase of building in the autumn to enable us to provide complete access for those in wheelchairs, by putting in a ramp and wider doors. However, we cannot afford this out of our own resources, and so have applied for grant aid. If we succeed in this, then we will consider having some parking for vehicles for disabled people, as well as service parking. This limited parking could be monitored and controlled, unlike parking for the general public.

We are excited by the chance to have our own community centre, which has long been a dream of the Association. We would like to ask you to come forward to help, if you can, by holding a key and taking bookings. We would stress that this does not involve cleaning, or maintenance or heavy gardening, the costs of which will be met out of the hire charges.

But if there is anyone who does not have a garden of their own, and wants to keep our borders looking colourful, please let us know. Also there are some small areas of land which used to be allotments and could be again, if anyone wants to have them. Just let any of us know of your interest and we can discuss it.


There's going to be a Raynes Park Festival from 10 -22nd July. Keep your eyes open for details of what happening. There's bound to be something of interest you want to go to.


The Emma Hamilton public house in Wimbledon Chase sadly closed down some time ago, and proposals to develop it for housing were twice turned down last year on the grounds that they were too big. Planning permission has now been granted for a scheme which will see 57 flats built on the site. The developers will have to pay some money for the benefit of the community, which need not actually be used in the local area. This used to be known as section 106 money. It has long been a valid criticism that this is no way pays for the extra education and health provision needed by the new housing being built. The system was replaced in 2010 by what is called a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). The amount that developers will have to pay in Merton is still currently under discussion, and we will set out what the final result is in a future edition of The Guide.


Meanwhile the Council is drawing up its own its brief for the Rainbow Industrial Estate site on the Grand Drive side of the station. We continue to oppose any housing development in what is a land locked site with only one access, but it appears that some 200-250 dwellings may be suggested, plus employment units. This will, of course, have yet more major impacts on schools, health provision, and traffic, but these have yet to be formally assessed. The current indications are that this number of dwellings, which would include a large number of units of "affordable" housing, would mean a demand for over 50 extra school places. This area is already struggling to provide enough primary school places. We doubt that any CIL payment made will be enough to provide the extra capacity needed for the increased school and health provision.

John Elvidge

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