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Nursery Road Playing Field

WERA's first grant was £150 from O2 in 2008. With the help of David Lofthouse, Arboricultural Manager Greenspaces Merton, around 300 tree whips were purchased and planted by local residents. On the day we were advised by David and also Jane Plant who is a Merton tree warden.

 

In 2010 WERA secured a second grant of £3,390. The money was used to plant a hedge comprising 1,600 whips alongside the tramline fence, from the car park to the new tennis courts. The residents mulched the hedge several times to ensure its success.

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Nursery Road playing field is owned by the Rutlish Foundation and leased to Merton Council until 2059. The field has both football and cricket pitches which means it could be used year round. Pupils of the Harris Academy Wimbledon use the field as their sports ground.

The field is not open to the public but there has been negligible enforcement in relation to unauthorised access by dogs and their owners, footballers who sidestep the booking process, and others. Access is gained via the holes in the chain-link fence. The car park is largely flooded during winter months.

The Council continued to spend large sums of money on the pavilion long after it became obvious that the structure was rotten and that further repair would be both expensive and wasteful. It was a concern that groups of youths regularly climbed onto the roof to socialise. 

In early January 2022 the pavilion was demolished at considerable expense, thereby guaranteeing that the approx. £60,000 of Council Tax spent on internal refurbishment in recent years was completely wasted. Nothing remains except a field with no facilities, holes in the perimeter fence and a flooded car park.

In 2015 the Rutlish Foundation proposed taking back the lease in order to make better use of the amenity for sport, particularly for younger players.

 

Despite the offer of a large capital investment in the pavilion, fencing and car park, in addition to taking on running costs, Merton Council refused to negotiate despite the clear benefits to sports players, tax payers, local residents and school children.

The chairman of the Rutlish Foundation outlined the main points of the Foundation's proposal to the WERA committee and residents at two meetings in 2019, receiving a favourable reception on both occasions. 

Merton Council director Chris Lee has offered no credible explanation for not engaging with the Rutlish Foundation.

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