Chairman's Blog - January 2019

Planning Issues 

Merton Council is updating its Local Plan which is in Draft form and is now out for public comment. Responses are meant to be in by 6 January 2019. The details can be found here . 

There are two sites of particular interest to local residents. 

The Former LESSA Site

The first is the former “LESSA” private sports field bordered by Greenway, Westway, and Grand Drive.   The Association fought a long battle to preserve this ground for sporting purposes, defeating a proposal by Barratts to build over 100 flats there. After that the land was eventually sold to Bellway Homes. Bellway succeeded, after a planning appeal, in getting permission to build the houses now known as Meadowview Road.  A new tennis pavilion and courts were also constructed for the Raynes Park Residents’ Lawn Tennis Club.

The remainder of the land was designated as Open Space and is protected as such.  The planning Inspector’s report made clear that he expected this land to be used for sport, and the intention was that a pavilion would be built to facilitate this. It has remained unused since that time, and Bellway have not taken up invitations from the Association to discuss their future plans.  Nor have they taken up several approaches from schools and sporting bodies who would like to use the site for outdoor sport. 

Bellway has suggested to the planning officers that this site, now known as RP6, is potentially classifiable as suitable for a “Residential development of between 71 and 83 dwellings and sporting facilities”.  It is hard to escape the conclusion that this was always their aim in leaving the land vacant.

 Fortunately, the Council appears to be sticking to the existing designation. Its proposed site allocation states that “Sporting or community use of the whole site will have to be demonstrated as undeliverable before any other uses can be considered”.

 This should open the door for schools and sports clubs who can make use of the land for outdoor sport, as the Inspector decided, to come forward with proposals, which Bellway will need to consider seriously.

 265 Burlington Road and Tesco Extra car park site

 The second site fronts onto Burlington Road and proposes utilising that part of Tesco’s Car Park adjacent to it, and the current office building at No. 265 Burlington Road. 

Redrow Homes Plc have held public consultations on their proposals to develop this site for a very large number of flats in seven blocks up to a height of 14 storeys.  You can read further details on this website by clicking this link - 265 Burlington Road. 

A formal planning application is expected in early January, and we will be consulting widely.   If the plans remain unchanged it is inevitable that the Residents’ Association will be strenuously opposing them on many grounds, including massive over- development.  

It is important to stress is that the many residents who will be badly affected by overlooking, extra traffic, and lack of community amenities for the new proposed occupiers, need to write and send in their own objections as well.  

A reflection on the turn of the year 

In our December 90th Anniversary Edition, we printed two excellent articles by John Tarling entitled Building a Suburb and Rebuilding a Suburb. The second one set out the damage done locally during the Second World War.  It mentions the V1 flying bombs which fell on Merton, and one that fell on Elm Walk on the night of 22nd/23rd July 1944. 

My parents lived in Elm Walk during the war, and my mother’s sister and her two children lived further along Elm Walk and were killed by this bomb. It must have been devastating for my mother, but she never mentioned it, apart from when she visited the Gap Road cemetery where they are buried. She simply got on with bringing up her own four children. 

Her generation seemed able to cope with the most enormous grief at the wholesale destruction and death all around them.  I cannot help but contrast this with the anxiety now being expressed at something so trivial by comparison as to whether and how we leave the European Union, and at the so- called difficulties of modern life. 


We wish all our members a very happy and peaceful New Year. 

John Elvidge

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