A concrete pathway, built and paid for by a rugby club for the community, was ripped up by the council because it was not informed”.

Wimbledon Rugby Club, which leases Beverley Meads recreation Ground from Merton Council, put down a long set of paving slabs for people to walk around the edge of the path in January.

But in June the council sent workmen in to dig up the slabs, angering users of the rugby club and swimming classes at a nearby private residence.

Katie Wroe, who runs the Water Nippers swimming instructors, said she felt very disappointed after contributing to the total cost of the path, believed to be about £15,000.

Ms Wroe said: “It’s completely and utterly ridiculous. Everyone was happy with the path because we didn’t have to walk through a muddy field.

“Now I’m not able to operate my classes until this issue is sorted out.

“I have emailed Merton Council to point out that swimming is a life skill, and is very beneficial to the community, but, at the time of writing, have yet to receive a reply.”

A council spokeswoman said: "The council was not informed of the intended works, which is why the paving slabs were removed.

“There are no legal proceedings underway, and the council is in discussions with Wimbledon Rugby club about this situation.”

When contacted, Wimbledon Rugby Club confirmed the path was removed because of “an issue with our leasehold agreement with the council”, but declined to make any further comment.