Merton’s historic heart is set for a £400,000 boost after a nine-year legal battle ended.

The cash will fund projects at the remains of Merton Priory in Colliers Wood, which played a vital role in the development of England’s legal and political system.

Ownership of the remains themselves will also be formally handed over to Merton Council.

The £401,986.38 payment is the result of a section 106 agreement – a payment demanded from developers by councils to benefit the community.

It was first promised in 2002, when developer Countryside Properties was given the green light to build flats at nearby Merton Abbey Mills.

The obligation to pay was later passed to another developer – but after years of disputes the cash was only paid to Merton Council last week.

The money is set to be transferred to the Merton Priory Trust, which manages the remains.

The priory first opened on the site in 1117, and in 1235 it hosted England’s king and noblemen as they agreed the statute of Merton – which would become the basis of English law.

It was demolished on Henry VIII’s orders in 1538, but the remains of the priory’s chapterhouse are preserved underneath a flyover in Watermill Way.

Ideas for developing the site as an attraction and cultural centre include putting it at the heart of a regional park running alongside the River Wandle.

A bid has also been made to put it on the United Nations memory of the world register, which protects sites linked to historic documents.

Colliers Wood councillor and member of the Merton Priory Trust Board, Nick Draper, said: “This gives us the chance at last to bring this hidden treasure at the heart of Colliers Wood out into the light where it deserves to be, showing that the Priory is the historical and cultural centre of Merton.”

He added the funding could attract further investment from sources like the National Lottery.

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