Plans were in place to approve a car park on a Grade II listed heritage site.
Residents won a landmark victory last night when Merton Council rejected its own proposal for Wimbledon Park Car Park to be extended.
In a highly unusual decision, the council overruled its own officers who failed to make a case, voting 6-3 against.
At the Civic Centre in Morden, the council proposed that the Revelstoke road car park in Wimbledon Park be extended. The issue provoked much outrage locally as this is within the Wimbledon North Conservation Area and is Grade II* listed.
Opinion was polarized between those people who wanted to preserve the beauty and heritage of the park and those who wanted to cater for people visiting by car.
A large number of local groups, including Wimbledon Park residents association and Friends of Wimbledon Park (FOWP), have been campaigning against the plans over an 18-month period. Wandsworth Council was also among those who opposed the extension as part of the consultation.
The planning office evaluated the case and recommended that the extension go ahead under certain conditions. The application was rejected when six of the nine council members voted against the proposal.
Maggie Corlett, a member of FOWP who attended the Committee Meeting, expressed ‘a lack of accurate statistics to support the council’s case.’
“They seemed to have no clear idea of the flow of traffic in the park, and breached the council’s own guidelines for reducing car use in the borough,” she said.
She later expressed her ‘delight’ at the outcome.
“Impressed that the council had evaluated and rejected their own proposal, and had made the right decision for the benefit of the local area,” she said.
Councillor David Dean, one of the members to reject the application, said the rule book was ‘contradictory’.
“The council often talk about minimizing car parking spaces,” he said.
“I don’t believe that adding less than 100 spaces is going to diminish the number of people going to Wimbledon Park. This council’s policy is to minimize private vehicle use, so it is contradictory to those policies and therefore must be rejected.”
Photo courtesy of tim caynes, with thanks.
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