Merton Council has resurrected plans to build a floodlit multi use games area on the currently disused tennis courts at the Canons.
This is the most shocking development proposal we have seen in Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area for some time and we’re utterly dumbfounded that it comes not from a private developer but from the council – who really should know better how to work within the Conservation Area.
In our view this plan is entirely inappropriate.
• It will cause significant harm to the special quality of Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area and harm the setting of two listed mansion houses – Park Place and Canons
• Seven days a week floodlighting will cause serious light pollution and sky glow at the heart of the area
• There will be serious harm to wildlife, including impacts on legally protected bats
• It will cause a significant loss of important trees and habitats – including damage to a copse valued at £126,000 for the community – which is not adequately compensated for by new planting
• Alternative facilities are available nearby and under-used – Merton Council’s own research concludes “there is significantly better provision in Mitcham and Colliers Wood than other parts of the borough”
• This development is has been put forward by Merton Council despite being knowingly in conflict with its own planning policies – it has been advertised as a “departure application”
• Claimed support for the development is based on a public survey undertaken in the nearby leisure centre – akin to asking visitors to McDonald’s if they like Big Macs
• There is no commitment to make provision for free use of the facilities by the local community – as was available with the former tennis courts
We are entirely supportive of encouraging sporting uses for the Canons area. we’re proud of its rich sporting history and want to see the spaces used by local people for sporting and leisure activities.
We would love to see the tennis courts brought back into use, and would be delighted to support and help fundraise for a scheme that re-uses the former tennis courts without floodlighting.