Council wins Judicial Review over expansion of Dundonald Primary School

Dundonald Recreation Ground

Dundonald Recreation Ground

First published in News
Last updated
Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A battle to expand a primary school into public playing fields received a boost yesterday as an appeal against plans was thrown out in court.

Campaigners objecting to Merton Council's decision to approve the expansion of Dundonald Primary School into Dundonald recreation ground appealed to the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Protect Dundonald Rec (PDR) argued the Cabinet's decision to give just over one per cent of Dundonald Rec to the primary school infringed on public rights to the space.

Dundonald Rec is a 48,000sq m public park in Wimbledon with sports facilities including two cricket and football pitches, a bowling green, tennis courts, playground and a pavilion.

The grounds were sold to the state by John Innes and Messrs James in 1893 on the condition they remain 'Public Pleasure Ground'.

Campaigners argue the decision to approve a planning application for a 579sq m expansion of the site, making room for an extra 30 school places, did not properly consider residents' use of the recreation area which they said were threatened by the plans.

But the Honourable Mr Justice King yesterday ruled the council's decision to approve the school expansion was rational, given the wider community interest in providing more school places.

Mr Justice King also recognised the fruitlessness of banning the building work now, given the amount of money already spent by the council on planning for the school's expansion.

Building work at the school cannot begin until a further hearing in September where a previously lodged appeal against the plans by campaigners will be heard.

However Councillor Peter Walker, the former cabinet member for education who spearheaded the application before being sacked for ripping down posters supporting PDR, is already celebrating.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Champagne on ice: Councillor Peter Walker outside Dundonald Primary School

He said: "This is brilliant news for the children of Wimbledon and local residents.

"It means the park will be enjoyed and there will be more places at this excellent school for local children."

Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for education, said: "We welcome the decision of the High Court which shows we have acted both properly and fairly, as we work to fulfil our obligation to provide enough school places to educate children at an outstanding school, close to where they live.

"There is still a lot of work to be done and another hearing which is required in September means that we will need to take further legal advice and keep the situation under review as we consider the next steps to take."

PDR campaigners have yet to comment.

Comments (4)

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8:53pm Fri 1 Aug 14

wimbledonteacher says...

Congratulations to all those who have worked towards this outcome. I hope the council is now investigating legal means of recovering costs from PDR; this pointless campaign has already cost 30 little children a place at their local school for this September. Good luck to Dundonald School for the future!
Congratulations to all those who have worked towards this outcome. I hope the council is now investigating legal means of recovering costs from PDR; this pointless campaign has already cost 30 little children a place at their local school for this September. Good luck to Dundonald School for the future! wimbledonteacher
  • Score: 12

11:21am Sat 2 Aug 14

Gary AJ says...

That's great news for the Wimbledon community around Dundonald Rec! Well done all those involved, especially to the council and to Peter Walker, both of whom had to endure an often vicious campaign from the PDR group. I hope they they can recover legal costs against this group.

While it's good to see common sense has prevailed it is a shame the PDR group has made this drag on for so many years and that so many local families have missed out on sending their children to Dundonald Primary during this time.
That's great news for the Wimbledon community around Dundonald Rec! Well done all those involved, especially to the council and to Peter Walker, both of whom had to endure an often vicious campaign from the PDR group. I hope they they can recover legal costs against this group. While it's good to see common sense has prevailed it is a shame the PDR group has made this drag on for so many years and that so many local families have missed out on sending their children to Dundonald Primary during this time. Gary AJ
  • Score: 19

8:07pm Sun 3 Aug 14

Merton pork says...

Excellent news. Since it has cost so much, and now that the priciple is established, maybe Merton could build a larger school to average out the cost.

Congratulation Councilor Walker!
Excellent news. Since it has cost so much, and now that the priciple is established, maybe Merton could build a larger school to average out the cost. Congratulation Councilor Walker! Merton pork
  • Score: 3

6:25pm Thu 7 Aug 14

oncetwice says...

Perhaps members of the Dundonald Rec Tennis Club will now stop harassing school-teachers and pupils trying to do PE lessons on the tennis courts.
Perhaps members of the Dundonald Rec Tennis Club will now stop harassing school-teachers and pupils trying to do PE lessons on the tennis courts. oncetwice
  • Score: 4

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