Campaign group claims Merton Council school expansion is threat to Dundonald Recreation Ground
Residents have launched a campaign group in response to fears the council will build on their much-loved park and children’s playground as part of a primary school expansion plan.
The Dundonald Rec Campaign Group said it formed after not being consulted by Merton Council about an imminent redevelopment of the park’s pavilion to accommodate an extra school class for Dundonald Primary School this September.
The council had told parents last autumn the school would eventually double in size from September 2012, but the plan to include a “bulge” class this September has raised concerns that the park is under threat of being redeveloped.
To aid its attempt to protect the park, the group has revealed a covenant drawn up in 1893 between the council and brothers John and James Innes that states the land would forever be used as a public pleasure ground.
Lorraine Marries, chairman of the group, said: “There is concern the council’s planned expansion of Dundonald School will breach this restrictive covenant and that this will set a dangerous precedent.
“Once the covenant has been breached the protection will be lost forever. This is non-negotiable.”
But Councillor Andrew Judge, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said residents would be consulted this month and was concerned the issue was being hijacked by a “political scare campaign” by the Labour administration’s Conservative opponents.
He said: “We haven’t had the chance to consult yet because of the Easter holiday and the royal wedding, but there is no chance any public land will be redeveloped.
"It’s nonsense and there is no evidence to support the idea our efforts to provide more school places will destroy this park.”
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