Chairman's Blog - January 2014


Local residents, together with the councillors and our Association, were successful in opposing two applications to build housing on these playing fields, which are surrounded by Elm Walk, Southway, Grand Drive and  Cannon Hill Lane. The applications involved access for cars from Cannon Hill Lane at a dangerous bend. 

At the moment the ground provides a mix of grass tennis courts, and football and cricket pitches. It is leased to and maintained by King’s College School. 

The land is owned by the All England Lawn Tennis Club. We are glad to report that the Club has now had a total rethink of what it wants to do on the ground. Their intention is to use it to provide tennis coaching for schools in Merton and Wandsworth (which boroughs provide their ball boys and girls). They have been providing this tuition for some years under their charitable foundation. It is called the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, and they say that over 140,000 children have had a racquet put in their hands, and 60 schools are visited every year. 

The coaching has hitherto been held at the All England Club, and is being relocated while the roof is put on Number 1 court, which is due to begin immediately the Championships finish this year, and will take some five years. 

The proposal covers these five years. It is to install three new outdoor all weather tennis courts and three courts covered by a permanent air dome. These will be placed behind the houses in Cannon Hill Lane, where there is some screening from the 18 metre wide strip of amenity land, and will be further screened by a hedge and tree planting.  There will be separate changing facilities for the children. 

The neighbouring houses were circulated with an invitation to a public consultation in December, held at the ground. 

The access will only be from Grand Drive, and the new facilities will only be used by school children until 8pm at the latest. The air dome will limit the light spill from the interior at night, and the outdoor courts will have low light floodlighting and limited light spill. 

We have pointed out the need for flood prevention measures, and that traffic, light spill, and noise studies are necessary.  These are in hand.  

The owners propose to put in a formal planning application in January, and residents can then make their objections.  We imagine that there will be some, and particularly to the air dome, but the owners say that this is vital so that coaching can continue in inclement weather.  However, we are promised that no housing is being proposed. 

The lease to King’s College School is due to end in August 2014, and the land will then be managed directly by the Club. It will be made available to local sports clubs whichcan book the facilities. 


All roads in our area have a 30 mph speed limit, and some have a limit of only 20 mph.  The police try occasionally to check the speed but this is very limited. As traffic gets ever more heavy, the rat-runs off Grand Drive get busier and busier, especially in the evening rush hour.  Greenway, Elm Walk, and Parkway are particularly affected. The road humps do not stop the main speeding offenders, which are vans and lorries, some of which are travelling at 50 or 60 mph.  The open meeting in December agreed that we would ask the police to have a blitz on such traffic, with speed guns, and some well publicised arrests. 


What a strange warm autumn this has been. The leaves have been on the trees right until December, and, as I write this in mid-December, I am still picking red grapes from the garden. I even saw a kingfisher flying over Cannon Hill Common Lake in November.  Global warming has some advantages.  Let’s hope we all continue to avoid ice, snow, and fog for the rest of the winter. 

We wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.   


John Elvidge

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