Campaigners triumph as Merton Council safeguard Wimbledon Library from future redevelopment


It is to be withdrawn from a list opening it up to future plans.


By SWLondoner staff

Wimbledon Library is now safe from future commercial development after Merton Council announced yesterday to remove it from a planning document.

The library will be withdrawn from the ‘Sites and Policies DPD’ which lists sites the council want to see developed over the next 10 years.

The plan could have meant commercial development in the form of retail, flats or offices.

Merton Council leader, Cllr Stephen Alambritis, said: “I will not stand by and allow Merton’s residents to be hoodwinked about the future of our wonderful libraries.

“Unlike other councils around the country, Merton Council has not only kept all of our libraries open during these difficult financial times, we have gone further and increased overall opening times.”

He added that the library was on the list to improve it, but there was never any intention to change its use.

“To avoid any on-going confusion or false rumours I am removing any reference to Wimbledon Library from the recent council document that has been so misrepresented,” said Cllr Alambritis.

Campaigners are delighted with the action of the council yesterday and Wimbledon’s Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner Shas Sheehan commended the action of Andrew Craig Nicol who led the fight.

“Without the support of thousands of residents for Mr Nicol’s campaign to see off the threat, we would still be looking at the possibility of our library going the way of the old Wimbledon Town Hall,” Ms Sheehan said.

“Labour have admitted defeat in the face of the strong reaction from residents, and have said they will remove it from the offending document.”

She added: “Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and submitted comments – it really made a difference.”

Cllr Alambritis reinforced his position on the library, saying the council are improving the children’s section and refurbishing much of the library in the autumn.

He confirmed: “Let me be crystal clear – no ifs, no buts – as long as I am Leader of this council, Wimbledon Library remains safe both today and in the future.”

Photo courtesy of mag3737, with thanks.

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