Chairman's Blog - Sept 2020

I hope that you are all well. I am delighted to report that the first edition of our new all-colour Guide was distributed to all our members in September 2020. The lockdown in March meant the abrupt closure of most services and shops. Sadly, our April Guide was thus full of cancelled events and activities. For the last four months we as a community have relied on our amazing NHS and care workers, our diligent postal workers, waste management teams, transport sector employees plus essential shop and distribution staff who remained at work throughout the pandemic. We are grateful to them all. 

There are also countless stories of residents supporting others by helping vulnerable neighbours with shopping or obtaining medical supplies, by contributing to food banks and providing PPE, all on a voluntary basis. We thank everyone who offered and gave support to others. 

Keeping in touch with our members

We have relied for years on our hardworking Area Coordinators and Road Stewards to distribute The Guide and this is a brilliant system overseen by Andrew Barwick. However, the downside is that without an email contact system it was exceptionally hard to keep in touch with our members during the lockdown. The REDROW and BELLWAY issues (see further on) highlighted the problem. David Freeman is, as ever, scrutinising and monitoring the planning developments. Fortunately, Clare and John Townsend, Dick Coleman and Michael Marks worked together (by email!) to produce newsletters which were then uploaded by Charles Briscoe-Smith to our website. Jerry Cuthbert continued to update the website with important updates as required. Gradually, more and more stewards participated in delivery (coordinated temporarily by Clare and John), with the result that by August we were able to get back in touch with all our members. 

To ensure that we can contact our members in future emergencies, we would be grateful if members would allow us to build up a bank of email contact details for RPWBRA use only. Michael Marks will be overseeing this. Meanwhile, Dick Coleman has been developing links through the Nextdoor Social Network. 


The Public Inquiry is scheduled to start on Tuesday 8t h December at 10.00am and run for 4 days.

 265 Burlington Rd - Date Set for Public Inquiry

The venue for the Redrow public inquiry into the appeal in respect of their application to build 456 homes in 5 tower block near Tesco's on Burlington Road has still to be decided. Although it is to be hoped that it will be held physically, this will be subject to the government rules and the Inspectorate's own guidance as to Covid-19 at that time. 

It may be necessary to hold the proceedings remotely over the internet or by telephone link for those who wish to participate.We will update you through The Guide, this website, via emails and through the RPWBRA Association User Group app on Nextdoor. 

Plans to build on the former LESSA ground in Meadowview Road, off Grand Drive 

Bellway Plans to build houses on Meadowview Sports Ground

The RPWBRA and local residents have fought hard over the past 20 years to retain open land in Meadowview Road. The land, which until September 2000 was a sports field boasting 2 full-sized football pitches, an overlapping cricket pitch, 4 tarmac tennis courts, a children's play area and a pavilion, was acquired by Barratts who attempted to build 111 flats on the site in 2002. Merton council refused the application and Barratt's appeal, in an inquiry held over 3 days was dismissed. The Inspector stated in a detailed judgement that the land should remain available as a sports field. Barratts then sold the land to Doram which submitted its own planning application for housing in July 2008 and this was turned down in 2009. Doram appealed and signed a section 106 agreement guaranteeing to provide some sporting facilities at the ground. On this occasion, in October 2009, the appeal was successful and was allowed as a single scheme which permitted the development of homes on open space if it funded sports facilities. 

Doram then sold the entire site to Bellway in May 2010 as a result of which the present 44 homes on the site were built, starting in October 2010. The remainder of the sports field was fenced off and a small area of play facilities for younger children of residents on the site was installed. Five tennis courts and a pavilion were provided for and leased to the Raynes Park Residents Lawn Tennis Club in 2013, enabling it to move from its former home at 129 Grand Drive. This was in line with the section 106 agreement. The decision letter from the Inspectorate approves the continued use of the field for sports, making reference to the laying out of pitches and a pavilion. However, these provisions were not made part of a requirement under the section 106 agreement. 

The inspectorate appears to have been swayed by a proposal from Kings College School that they wished to use the sports field for its junior pupils, but in the event KCS did not take up the option of a lease being granted to them. BelIway simply had to maintain the ground by cutting the grass and clipping the hedges BUT the land had to be made available to any other school or sports club. The RPWBRA suggested to Bellway on several occasions that another junior school, as well as a sports club, might be interested in taking up a lease but nothing resulted from our approaches. 

We believe that notwithstanding the passage of time and in the light of clear views from the Inspectorate it will be for Bellway to demonstrate WHY the field should not be used for sports purposes rather than for additional housing. 

John Elvidge

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