Volunteers go potty after park keepers laid off

The pavilion in Dundonald Recreation Ground, Wimbledon, is set to be redeveloped by Merton Council

The pavilion in Dundonald Recreation Ground, Wimbledon, is set to be redeveloped by Merton Council

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Users of a community facility must relieve themselves in the bushes after the council made its park keepers redundant, volunteers have complained.

Dundonald recreation ground, which is used throughout the week for volunteer-led activities and sports groups, faces redevelopment as part of Merton Council’s proposals to expand Dundonald Primary School in Wimbledon.

The proposals sparked anger from campaigners, who have argued the recreational ground was protected by a historic covenant.

However, Merton Council said it would benefit from demolishing and rebuilding the “derelict” pavilion.

Caroline Shearman, from Dundonald Childminders and Nannies Group, said the redundancy of a park keeper in June meant there was no one available to maintain the pavilion’s staff toilets or open the public toilets, which were currently broken.

She said: “Ever since Tom the park keeper lost his job it has been almost comical because people have to wee in the bushes.

“It feels like an episode of the comedy ’Allo ’Allo.

“It is obviously unhelpful when we are paying the council to use this facility, but it is still the cheapest option available so we have not really got any other choice.”

Councillor Peter Walker, the council’s cabinet member for education, said he “regretted” the the council had cut its park maintenance budget because of cuts to its grant it received from the Government.

He said: “What we are offering, as part of expanding Dundonald, is to spend £6m of which part of it will provide a new community hall that will be available for community uses such as the childminders.

“They will have new loos and new changing rooms if the plans go ahead.”

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