Architects' concerns stall Dundonald primary school expansion plans in Wimbledon

Wimbledon Guardian: Merton Council wants to expand Dundonald primary school and redevelop the pavilion in Dundonald Recreation Ground Merton Council wants to expand Dundonald primary school and redevelop the pavilion in Dundonald Recreation Ground

Controversial plans to expand a primary school suffered a setback last week after it was criticised by a panel of design experts.

The Design and Review Panel, an independent panel of architects, said “more work needed to be done” to ensure all the different options for expanding Wimbledon’s Dundonald Primary School have been fully explored.

The panel’s views heavily influence the outcome of planning applications, which are approved by councillors in a quasi-judicial role.

The setback means Merton’s application will come before the committee in November at the earliest, instead of September as planned.

The council's cabinet member for education, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: "We value all feedback on this important proposal and will look in detail at the suggestions from the panel and others, including residents, before we plan to submit the application to the planning committee in November. 

"We are always keen to ensure we have looked at all options so that we get the right solution for Dundonald School and for the many families who hope to send their children to the school in the future."

Cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge, added: “The huge increase in our school age population means that we are looking at every option for the expansion of Dundonald. 

"We want our young people to enjoy well designed classrooms and play areas whilst ensuring local people benefit from investment in improved park facilities for sport and leisure, in addition to improved landscaping.“

Last year, the previous cabinet member for education, Peter Walker, resolved to permanently double the number of children attending Dundonald Primary School in Wimbledon as part of an aggressive borough-wide expansion of primary schools.

A pavilion on Dundonald Recreation Ground will be redeveloped to accommodate the new children, despite claims by the Protect Dundonald Rec campaign group that it is illegal to build on the park, because of a long-standing covenant.

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