Wants minister to review permission given for building on Raynes Park sports ground
Visualisation from the developer of the new housing. Picture: Bellway
October 17, 2022
Wimbledon’s MP wants to see plans for more than 100 homes on a former sports ground overturned.
In September, Merton Council gave developer Bellway the green light for 107 new homes, 44 of which would be classed as affordable, on the former London Electricity Sports and Social Association (LESSA) in Raynes Park.
The land, in Meadowview Road, was a private ground for the use of company employees and closed down in 2000. Since then, it has been shut to the public.
Stephen Hammond MP for Wimbledon said it was a “huge surprise” the application was passed just months after similar plans were rejected by Merton Council. He thinks the land should be brought back into sports use for locals.
In a video statement, the Conservative MP said, “Unfortunately the Bellway application was passed so I have written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up to make sure this application is called in and properly reviewed so people can hear that there is a viable sports alternative and that local opposition is respected.
“I want to see local residents in West Barnes have the environment and sporting opportunities that everyone else has. Stopping Bellway building houses on LESSA is a key part of that.”
The plans were approved at the end of September. The application came after a similar application was rejected by the council in June after more than 260 objections.
The approved plans received 120 objections and include an extra football pitch and more than £1 million in contributions to other sports sites in the borough. This includes £ 1.1 million for a new cricket wicket and changing rooms at Joseph Hood recreation ground, £100,000 to a rugby club and £30,000 to Merton’s girls’ rugby development fund.
At the planning committee meeting when the plans were approved, Julian Goodban from Bellway Homes said, “This site has never before been open to the public, it was a private facility for the sole use of employees so there is no loss of a sporting facility. In terms of a potential sporting use for the whole site, the council’s own assessment is that given the upfront site preparation costs, sports use isn’t a deliverable option.”
Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter