Former school site to be transformed into park and housing


The former site of Rowan High School is to be turned into a landscaped public park and 217 homes

By Reaz Kurimbux

Merton Council is all set to transform a former Mitcham school site into a landscaped public park and 217 homes.

Developer Crest Nicholson, working in partnership with Merton Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), will start construction on the site early in the New Year, bringing 131 family homes and 86 flats to the town.

Thirty per cent of the housing will be classified as affordable to enable people providing essential public services, such as teachers and nurses, to buy or rent a home in Merton through shared ownership schemes.

Merton Council’s Andrew Judge, cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration said: “The wider community will benefit hugely from this development as people will be able to take advantage of the new medical centre as well as the park.”

The site, which used to house Rowan High School, will also include a 2.6 hectare landscaped public park, a new 390m2 Scout and community facility and a 1,985m2 medical centre.

The design also allows for 278 car parking bays and 171 cycle parking spaces.

Greg Ketteridge, Managing Director at Crest Nicholson (South) said: “We will be delivering not only much needed housing for the local community, but also maintaining an already high benchmark for delivering quality, design-led and affordable homes.”

The landscaped park will also perform a practical function, managing water drainage from the existing neighbouring housing.

A sustainable drainage system of marsh land, reed beds and ponds will act as natural water stores during periods of wet weather, reducing the risk of flooding nearby.

David Lunts, Director for London at the HCA, said: “This development, being built on HCA and Merton land, is exactly the type of high quality scheme that we look to support.”

In line with Merton’s environmental policy – the Merton Rule – the site will be partly powered by renewable energy.

The roofs of the Scout and community hall and the medical centre will accommodate solar panels, in addition to other state of the art sustainable energy measures.

The buildings will also be well insulated to reduce the need for heating.

Councillor Judge said: “We have been in the vanguard of environmental building and I am sure this site will serve as an example of financially and environmentally sustainable construction which other local authorities will want to emulate.”

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