Plans for more than 100 new homes on an old Merton sports ground have been approved despite over 120 objections from residents.

It was the third time lucky for developer Bellway, which was given the green light to build 107 homes on the old London Electricity Sports and Social Association (LESSA) ground in Raynes Park.

The land, in Meadowview Road, was a private ground for the use of company employees and closed down in 2000. Since then, it has been shut to the public.

In June, Merton Council rejected a similar application, which received 260 objections, as it didn’t think the loss of open space was justified.

More than 120 objections were submitted to the latest plans from Bellway which was the developer’s third application for the site.

It included an extra football pitch and more than £1 million in contributions to other sports sites in the borough.

At a planning meeting on Thursday (September 22)  Councillor Robert Page, who represents West Barnes, said a cricked consortium of two clubs showed interest in the site and had the funding in place but didn’t have a chance to discuss options as the third application was submitted so soon after the second.

Fellow ward councillor Hina Bokhari was applauded when she said: “We need more time for the residents to really consider this proposal, this sporting proposal from the cricket consortium should be considered.

"We have had hundreds of letters to us supporting the cricket consortium bid.

"The people of West Barnes really do deserve this sports ground.”

But Julian Goodban from Bellway Homes said the developer had “listened and taken stock” following the planning refusal in June.

He said: “This site has never before been open to the public, it was a private facility for the sole use of employees so there is no loss of a sporting facility.

"In terms of a potential sporting use for the whole site, the council’s own assessment is that given the upfront site preparation costs, sports use isn’t a deliverable option."

He said £ 1.1 million would be given to the Joseph Hood recreation ground for a new cricket wicket and changing room while another £100,000 would go to a rugby club and £30,000 to Merton’s girls’ rugby development fund.

Mr Goodban added: “This application will open this site to the public for the first time in its history, indeed almost half of the entire site will be public open space.

"It will provide more than £1.8 million of sporting investment in the borough.”

After an hour and a half discussion, the plans were voted through with six votes to four.