Council says it cannot justify cost of necessary repairs after constant damage
The pavilion at Nursery Road playing fields
The pavilion of South Wimbledon playing field is going to be demolished as the council says the cost of the constant repairs can no longer be justified.
The facility at Nursery Road Playing Fields has already been abandoned by a local sports team because it is “totally unsafe” and “no longer usable”.
The fields are used by local football and cricket teams, and pupils of the nearby Harris Academy Wimbledon also use it as their sports ground.
But, although the field is not open to the public it is easy to gain access via holes in the chain-link fence, and the pavilion is the subject of frequent attacks of vandalism. The Old Rutlishians Cricket Club said earlier this month that the pavilion was now "totally unsafe to use" and even the toilets were unusable.
The land is owned by the charitable Rutlish Foundation and leased to Merton Council until 2059. In 2015, the Rutlish Foundation proposed taking back the lease of the playing field and offered to invest cash into the pavilion, fencing and car park as well as taking on running costs.
But the offer was not taken up and now Merton Council says it wants to demolish the pavilion as well as keeping the playing fields and surrounding green space in "public hands".
A Merton Council spokesperson said: “Over recent years there has been an unfortunate amount of anti-social behaviour around the pavilion at the Nursery Road Playing Field, and on multiple occasions this has left the facility in a state of disrepair. We know what the pavilion means to the community, and we have sought to repair it a number of times. However, following repairs further break-ins have occurred and the building remains attractive to negative behaviour from certain groups.
“Whilst we continue to invest further in security at the site, we can no longer justify the cost of repairs to the pavilion when the likelihood of repeated vandalism remains so high. Therefore, as the facility is currently in a state that makes it unsafe to use, we have made the difficult decision to demolish the building.
“Even without the pavilion, the sporting area and greenspace at Nursery Road remains an outstanding asset for the local community. We strongly believe that it is in the community’s best interest to keep this facility in public hands, and so we have no intention to change any existing lease arrangements.”
Local Councillor Nigel Benbow said he would "keep an eye" on what happens after council officers told him the demolition work would be undertaken once the work has been awarded and the budget allocated. He was also told that recent damage to turf is set to be repaired.
June 13, 2021