Local developments

Bellway application to Build on LESSA Sportsground

The application by Bellway Homes to build 107 units of accommodation, including flats, on the former LESSA sports ground in Meadowview Road, off Grand Drive, was refused by the Planning Committee on 16th June.

Previously ...

Astonishingly, in view of the history of the ground, and all the representations made, the Council’s website states that it will come before the Committee with a recommendation from the Planning Officers that the scheme be approved.

The vast majority of local residents have been incensed by this application, and will wish to attend the Committee in order to demonstrate to the Committee the need to refuse the application, despite the recommendation.  When the Redrow application to build 456 flats near Tesco’s came before the Committee with a similar recommendation for development, the Committee then was persuaded by the arguments and refused that application.

We have set out the reasons why this application ought to be refused at length before in The Guide, and in previous leaflets to concerned householders.  In brief Bellway bought the sports ground, and were permitted to build the 44 houses and flats which now make up Meadowview Road, on the clear understanding that the rest of the ground would be used for junior sports. That was in 2009/10. The residents in Meadowview Road bought their properties on this basis.

Since then, Bellway has cynically refused to entertain any idea of allowing sporting use of the ground, simply fencing it off, and awaiting its opportunity to make more profit from its purchase.

Merton’s local plan for the site states that: “Sporting or community use of the whole site will have to be demonstrated as undeliverable before any other uses can be considered.”   There is a joint proposal by two local cricket clubs, and a junior school, which are very keen to use the whole ground for sports.  This proposal is fully funded, but has been dismissed out of hand by Bellway.

Sport England in its comments on 11.3.22 objected to the application in strong terms. It also stated that should the Council be minded to grant planning permission for the development, it had to be referred to the Secretary of State. The England and Wales Cricket Board, and the Rugby Football Union are similarly opposed.

The comments of Sport England can be read on the Council’s Planning Explorer, under reference number 21/P4063. This also contains the detailed objection to the application put in by our Residents’ Association. Unfortunately, the very many individual letters of objection cannot be viewed on line. Although we have repeatedly asked the Council to arrange for this.

It is not clear at the moment on what grounds the Planning Officers are recommending approval, given the huge weight of arguments for refusal.  When we know this better, which is not likely to be until just before the date of the meeting, we shall, of course, attempt to let local people know. 

John Elvidge

New Application 21/P4063 for 107 Dwellings at Meadowview Road

Update 12 February 2022

Bellway Homes has submitted a new planning application for the sports field at Meadowview Road:

Application 21/P4063 is now on Merton's Planning Explorer, along with all the supporting documents. The application is for:

Redevelopment of part of former LESSA sports ground, involving the erection of 107 dwellings, including affordable housing, associated landscaping, equipped children’s play area, multi-use games area, outdoor gym area and associated infrastructure, including flood mitigation, vehicular access and parking, plus the erection of 2 all-weather tennis courts with floodlighting, storage compound and parking.”

For more details, search for 21/P4063 at:


Input the Application Number: 21/P4063 in the top box and then click "Search" at the bottom of the page.

Then on the next page, click on the Application Number link 21/P4063 on the left

Then on the next page click "View Related Documents".

Comments, objections etc should be submitted to LBM Planning Dept. For your objection to be validate, you must state your name and address.

Please send your comments in writing to:

LBM Planning Department, Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the application number,21/P4063, for the attention  the Case Officer, Tim Lipscomb and stating your name and address. The official closing date is now 16 February 2022.

Request from Michael Marks: please send a copy of your comments or objections to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or marked for his attention care of: The Residents’ Pavilion, 129 Grand Drive, SW20 9LY as it is helpful to have this information.

A big “thank you” to all our members and fellow residents who have submitted objections so far, especially those who have copied us in at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  .

You can read the Association’s own submission here.

Design Panel Reviews LESSA Proposals


20/P3237 Bellway's Application for Former LESSA Sports Ground in Meadowview Road 


At short notice, our committee members, Clare Townsend and Michael Marks, managed to connect to Merton's Design Review Panel’s Zoom meeting, which included a section on Bellway's planning application for the Land at Meadowview Road (Former LESSA Sports Ground). 


This was a meeting to discuss the design and layout of the buildings prior to the planning application being considered by the LBM Planning Committee. The developer’s architect put forward his latest version, which was for over 100 units, an increase on the original plan, as Merton Council said that the space should be more intensely filled. 


The outcome from the Review Panel was a clear “NO”. They wanted a better design and layout of buildings, more communal areas, equal access to open spaces and a single road with less parking. 


There was also some concern that the affordable section was of a gloomy design, out of kilter with the other dwellings. The architect will redesign the plans for this site and represent them. 


An important fact was made clear by David Patterson – the land is clay so water will not soak away, so all plans for flood water must be of storage and positive discharge. 


So, is it back to the drawing board for Bellway?



Merton's Draft Local Plan

In July 2021, the London Borough of Merton published its Draft Local Plan (DLP) for review and comment by the public. The various chapters and appendices of Merton’s DLP can be read or downloaded from Merton’s website at: 


Once adopted, the Local Plan will form the basis upon which future planning applications will be judged by Merton’s Planning Committee and Department. 

The RPWBRA committee therefore made its own submission to Merton, comprising various comments, observations and recommendations. 

A significant part of our area lies in a flood plain, as borne out by the flash flooding during the several heavy rain storms we’ve experience in the last two years, most recently in July 2021.

In our comments to Merton we therefore stressed  that we expect Merton’s Local Plan to robustly promote and defend the following urban planning principles: 

  • Preservation of green spaces,
  • Use of sustainable urban drainage,
  • Proper maintenance of existing drainage, water courses and infrastructure,
  •  Preventing the loss of porous ground surfaces caused by all forms of development, across the complete spectrum, from minor private works to major developments.
  • Control of storm water run-off,
  • Protection of the natural environment,
  • Encouraging the planting of trees and vegetation,
  • The drive to Net-Zero Carbon. 

Once Merton has finished preparing and consulting on a local plan, it must be submitted to the Secretary of State who will appoint a Planning Inspector to carry out an independent examination. 

The Inspector will consider the evidence provided by Merton to support the plan and any representations which have been put forward by local people and other interested parties. Usually, the examination will include hearing sessions which are held in public. 

At the end of the examination the Inspector will send a report to Merton recommending whether or not they can adopt the plan. In most cases the report will recommend some changes that are necessary to allow the plan to be adopted.. 

This whole process is expected to be completed by Spring 2020.

This Association's submission may be read here


21/P2668 - Proposals for 38 Crossway

Update September 2021

This proposed development is now the subject of Planning Application 21/P2668.

Two residents have submitted comments on the application and copied them to our Association, as follows: 

Email from R & A Williams;    Subject: 38 Crossway Planning Application;     Date:18/08/2021 

Dear Merton Planning Team, 

We welcome the opportunity to comment on the planning application in respect of the garages on Crossway to the rear of our house (9 Kingsway) - Planning Application 21/P2668. 

Broadly we welcome suitable development on the site, and townhouses (albeit less than seven) would be an appropriate use of the site (subject to our comments below). We have a number of broad comments on the application which we believe should require the developer to give the proposal further thought and return with a corrected application. We then have a number of specific comments (particularly around height, overlooking, access and design) that we hope would be reflected in amendments to the design and/or planning conditions should Officers and the Council’s Planning Committee be minded to grant permission. 

Given our comments we would welcome being kept updated on the progress of the application and, should the current application reach that stage, being able to speak at the Planning Committee. 

Broad comments:

  • The Planning Application that has been submitted to the Council is incomplete and defective. This has potentially prevented a meaningful statutory consultation.
    • As noted to Planning Officers, the Energy Strategy Report includes materials which relate to a wholly different application (it is therefore unclear what other documents may contain errors). The Preliminary Contamination Risk Assessment (of particular importance given the age of the garages (asbestos?) and previous usage of the site) and Transport Statement listed in the Planning Statement, as far as we could see on Planning Explorer, have not been provided/made available.
    • The missing documentation would broadly reflect a rushed application which results in an inconsistent application – for example plans show, and the associated commentary argues (eg paragraphs 5.74 and 5.7.5 of the Planning Statement), that overlooking is mitigated by boundary trees when the Tree Survey states trees that provide a large proportion of that mitigation would be removed (eg the mature ash tree T022).
    • This is clearest in relation to the location of the Pyl Brook. The correct location appears to have been identified late in the process as part of the Flood Risk Assessment. Numerous parts of the application appear to have therefore been prepared on the basis of the incorrect location (eg paragraphs 2.3.4, 2.3.6 or 5.6.4 in the Planning Statement). Aside from the drainage and flooding management implications noted separately below, this highlights a number of parts of the application that are likely to need revisiting. These include:
      • The proposals for access to the site (both the road widening and pedestrian access) would involve demolishing what has now been identified as a Culvert Headwall for the Pyl Brook.
      • The plans including planting new trees over the culvert at the western end of the site without consideration for the structure of the culvert.
      • Surveys such as the Tree Survey have been carried out without full information – the culvert is merely noted as ‘undulating land’ despite the inherent root related issues.
    • We note that the planning application includes factually inaccurate and potentially misleading information about the location of neighbouring properties. The extension to our property (15/P2637) is not shown on either the site plans or sections. It would also appear that a number of other extensions for other properties have also not been reflected. This means the distances to neighbouring properties are materially understated and the angles used for assessing overlooking incorrect – the views expressed on potential mitigations are therefore based on flawed analysis.
    • We would note that despite the comment in 5.3.1 of the Planning Statement it would appear that a number of the garages are currently used for employment/commercial purposes (possibly a scaffolding firm?).
  • We are very concerned that the late identification of the true course of the Pyl Brook has both prevented meaningful consideration as part of preparing the planning application and means that no meaningful assessment by either Future Merton or the Environment Agency of the flood risk (and possible mitigations) for the site is possible at this stage. As discussed further below, it also highlights the need for the applicant to likely properly engage with the Environment Agency prior to making a revised application.
    • Current local flood risk assessments and the treatment of the land bordering Meadow Close and Kingsway is based on the previously inaccurate understanding of local drainage flows and water infrastructure. This needs proper consideration.
    • There would appear to be a right of access to the site for the Environment Agency. This is (surprisingly) not referenced on page 12 of the Design & Access Statement but is registered on the Title to the site (the April 1961 Deed in respect of drainage pre-dates statutory Local Government reorganisations which means those responsibilities now sit with the Environment Agency). Consideration of those access rights is clearly material to this application.
    • We would note that following a recommendation by Council Officers a previous application for the site was withdrawn for discussions with the Environment Agency (06/P2791). These discussions do not appear to have taken place and therefore we would suggest that Officers take a similar stance, particularly given the new information about the Pyl Brook. We’d note that the Environment Agency despite both their access rights and responsibility for the neighbouring Pyl Brook have not been consulted.
  • There is some uncertainty about the boundaries of the site and the planning application would appear to take advantage of that uncertainty in a manner which is potentially improper (the Design and Access Statement indicates the boundaries have (surprisingly) not been verified). This is likely to be an issue best resolved before the application is formally considered.
    • The site plans may have ‘pushed out’ the site boundary along a number of the edges – eg it appears the plans may go up to 1 metre further out along our nearest boundary than the Land Registry plan (SGL214496) for the site. This has practical implications in that the garden sizes described in paragraph 5.6.9 of the Planning Statement (already below the acceptable level for Units 6 & 7) are likely to in practice be even smaller than suggested.
    • While the vast majority of the site has a single title (SGL214496) the proposals would include (as part of the access) part of the land owned by London Power Networks (SY26227) – some of that land was previously transferred but the substation and (more importantly for this application) part of the roadway were retained. We are unclear how planning conditions for the development might apply across multiple pieces of land with unrelated owners (particularly where one owner is not a party to the application and would appear not to have been consulted).
    • The Tree Survey states that tree T022 would be removed – this tree is not part of the site and is sited on land owned by others (likely the Environment Agency).

Specific comments:

  • Height and scale. The houses are materially and inappropriately higher than neighbouring properties and out of character with the local area. As per page 16 of the Design & Access Statement they are in fact closer in height to the previously proposed four storey blocks of flats. While recognising the developer’s preference to maximise head height throughout the second floors of the houses, a reduction in the roofline to match that of surrounding properties would be more appropriate. The poor size of the habitable rooms and usable gardens, together with the overall bulk and massing might be more appropriate if there were only two houses sited on the current three house Type B footprint.
  • Overlooking. The previous consultation by the developers was at pains to note that none of the proposed flats would have windows overlooking neighbouring homes and gardens. It is therefore deeply disappointing that the current proposals withdraw that concession and ignore local feedback. As noted above, the defective site plans and proposals in respect of trees make this problem more pronounced than the application would imply. We would be overlooked into both our house and garden, with direct line of sight at first and second floor levels (we would of course also overlook them). If you are not minded to refuse permission and the applicant is not minded to reconsider their proposals, we’d ask for requirements for smaller windows and much wider use of obscured glazing (at both first and second floor levels) for the Type B houses where they overlook Kingsway, including specific Planning Conditions that the glazing cannot subsequently be replaced with non-obscured glazing without Council consent.
  • Design. Strong red brick work, zinc roofs and floor to ceiling windows throughout does not reflect the character and vernacular of the local area (despite the strange suggestion that the design proposed reflects the previous garage use of the site). We would suggest the applicant be required to rethink how they might better reflect the character of the local area (primarily a mix of duller brick, rendering, smaller windows and tiled roofs).
  • Security. The current gated nature of the site provides a significant element of security to rear gardens which border it. Despite the loss of security we recognise that it would inappropriate for the new houses to be a gated development. We’d ask therefore at a minimum, that in addition to new border fencing, the access off the site to the garages at 11 & 15 Kingsway be required to be gated.
  • Trees. As noted above the tree survey work includes removal of at least one tree that is on land owned by someone else that provides significant screening to the site. We ask for further consideration of how the developer will retain the existing screens of trees around the site and replace any trees removed. We also ask that they be required to undertake additional planting on the boundaries of the site and that this be protected through Planning Conditions and TPOs as required (eg the Type B houses be required to have semi-mature trees transplanted to their rear gardens which then are protected from removal).
  • Site access. As noted above the current access proposals are unworkable in the context of the culvert headwall. It is also noted that the Design & Access statement doesn’t consider access to the site from Crossway (it only considered movement within the site). Vehicles larger than a normal car at present have to stop in the middle of Crossway and be reversed onto the site using a banksman. Those leaving have to nose out across the footway. It is unclear how even with possible widening of the access (noting the culvert point) the site would be accessible to waste, emergency and delivery vehicles. The narrow entrance is currently dangerous and the applicant at present has not offered an appropriate, suitable or safe solution.
  • Drainage management. The SuDS Report notes that the site currently slopes toward Crossway which drains surface water away from neighbouring properties. We’d ask that this slope be retained as a planning condition. The SuDs Report (pages 36 to 39) also notes at length that a significant and material regular maintenance programme would be required to ensure appropriate surface water drainage from the site. It is unclear how this would be ensured if the site passed into fragmented ownership. We would request that undertaking suitable maintenance be a planning condition, together with securing suitable insurances or an indemnity being provided should the maintenance work not be carried out as required. Similarly given the importance of the road surfaces on the site for surface water run off and flood risk we would also ask that permeable paving be a planning condition (which therefore relates to the London Power Networks ownership issue noted above).
  • Lighting. The site has previously had bright lighting which was a nuisance to neighbouring properties. The application does not propose to replace this which is welcome.
  • Design of photo-voltaic cells. The applicant proposes to install PV cells in the roofs of the type B houses facing Kingsway. This is a welcome proposal. However given the significant proportion of the roof area that they will cover their design and look should be subject to neighbour consultation and Officer approval as a planning condition.
  • Contamination. In the absence of the Contamination Risk Assessment it is difficult to offer a view but given the age of the garages (and therefore likely use of materials like asbestos) and previous use of the site there are likely to be issues. We’d ask for significant restrictions around this to protect residents.
  • Construction vehicle access. The Air Quality Assessment (page 31) indicates the possible removal of the width restriction to allow construction vehicle access. This would clearly be unacceptable. Given the difficulties in accessing the site noted above, particularly in the morning and evening peak when traffic is often stationary on Crossway and the footways heavily used by children travelling to school (eg St John Fisher), we’d ask for particularly narrow restrictions on the timings for access to the site.

We apologise for the lengthy response but we trust it is helpful. As noted above this is a suitable site for development should the broad concerns be surmounted and an appropriate proposal be developed. Please do contact us should you have any questions,


Previously ...

On 9 July 2021, we received the following email and attachment from the planning consultant working on the proposals for 38 Crossway.


 The planning application will be submitted on Monday. I’ve attached the site layout plan showing 7 residential houses which would be three storeys in height, with the top storey being within a pitched roof.


I’m under no illusions that everyone who raised objections will consider that this addresses every one of their concerns. However, we consider this a good proposal at the Site, and it is reduced in extent from what was previously shown to neighbours.


Chris Heather, Senior Consultant, Axis


Bellway's Plans to build houses on Meadowview Sports Ground

Updated 5 March 2021

Planning Application 20/P3237 to build 89 homes on the former LESSA Sports Ground in Meadowview Road.

The application was formally registered 16th November 2020. Before the 9th December 2020 deadline, our Residents Association, together with 203 residents filed 200 objections to the Planning Department; only 3 representations were in favour.  The Residents’ Association explained why the field should be kept for sport; 83% of residents agreed.  The other main concerns are increased traffic congestion (74%) and flooding (72%). 

Both the Environment Agency and the borough’s Flood Risk Officer have objected because of flooding concerns, although Thames Water has not. 

As well as objections to the development, there have also been several clubs showing interest in using the field for its original sporting purpose. Bellway Homes have not made it easy for clubs to rent this land and it has only been the planning application which has drawn attention to the site.

We are now awaiting a Planning Application Committee date to see if permission will be refused or granted. 

As an association, we are continuing to press for all the relevant and latest information concerning this major planning proposal which will affect so many residents. We will update you via our website and the Nextdoor app.   Michael Marks

Previously on 23 February 2021 - Sport England decides to Object to Bellway's Planning Application

This Association has now received a copy of an email from Sport England sent to Merton's Planning Dept, setting out its reasons for making a formal objection to this planning application (ref: 20/P3237). We sincerely hope this is this first step towards securing a new future for this playing field. Sport England's email may be read by clicking on this link  Email from Sport England to Merton 20/P3237

Previously on 12 February 2021 - Application 20/P3237 - Sport England

Bellway has now submitted its planning application, Ref 20/P3237, which can be seen on Merton's Planning Explorer.

We have been very concerned recently because Merton Council has stopped publishing on its Planning Explorer most letters of objection to applications submitted by members of the public. However, we have now obtained copies of all the objections (formally called "Representations").

Our new committee member, Mary-Jane Jeanes, has been reading them all and discovered that Sport England, a statutory consultee for this application, had raised no objection to the loss of this sports field. 

We  therefore wrote to Sport England reminding them of all the details. Our letter may be read here. We urged Sport England to reconsider its position. As reported above, Sport England has now submitted a formal objection to this planning application. 


Previously: November 2020

Both our Chairman, John Elvidge, and Vice-Chairman, David Freeman have submitted letters of objection, which may be read by following these links:

Chairman's Objection to Bellway's Application 20/P3237

Vice-Chairman's Objection to Bellway's Application 20/P3237

Our MP, Stephen Hammond has also submitted an objection.


We urge our members to also submit objections to Merton's Planning Department, which can be done by email. The deadline is 9 December 2020



Previously ...( 24 August 2020)

We have just learned that Bellway Homes have indicated that they intend to deliver a letter to local residents on Tuesday 25th August setting out their intention to build some 90 units of accommodation on the Sports Ground in Meadowview Road, Grand Drive (Formerly the "LESSA" Sports Ground).

More details of Bellway's plans can be seen here and here . 

Nowhere in their letter do they explain that they have owned this land since 2010, having bought it following a public inquiry, in which the Planning Inspector held that there should be permission only to build the 44 homes now on the site, and on the clear basis that the rest of the land should be retained for sporting use. Five tennis courts were also provided for the Raynes Park Tennis Club.

Nowhere in the letter do Bellway set out the Council’s planning policy for the site. The proposed policy is that “Sporting or community use of the whole site will have to be demonstrated as undeliverable before any other use can be considered”.  It is designated as Open Space. It is officially noted that “the site may have opportunities for whole site sports use. Use of the site for sports use or other uses compatible with the designated open space should be actively demonstrated prior to any alternatives being taken forward”.  

The decision letter from the Inspectorate approved the continued use of the sports field for football and rugby. The decision also makes reference to the laying out of pitches and a pavilion. The Inspector appears to have swayed by a proposal by King’s College School that they wished to use the sports field for its junior pupils.  In the event, KCS did not take up this option.

However, the decision stated that, in that case, the ground had to be made available to any other School or a Sports Club. The Residents’ Association suggested to Bellway on a number of occasions another junior school which would be interested in taking up a lease, as well as a sports club, but nothing resulted from our approaches. 

So far as we are aware, they have not attempted in any way in the past ten years to bring the ground to the attention of other schools or sports clubs.  They ought to demonstrate this very clearly before planning permission for housing should even be considered.

We would normally have called a public meeting to discuss these proposals, but, sadly, Covid 19 prevents this.

We hope that if residents are contacted by Bellway, they will say to them firmly that the site should be used for sports, and particularly for junior sports.  It is so important that this message gets through to Merton’s planners now. 

If a planning application is made, then we would urge individual residents to oppose it in the strongest terms, and hold Bellway to the conditions on which they bought the land.

And, if anyone reading this knows of a School or sporting club which needs a good sports ground of 2.8 hectares, do, please, get in touch with us urgently at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

John Elvidge, Chairman, 24th August 2020

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