Category Archives: Planning Applications

La Sporta demolition plan

The La Sporta building on Church Road has always been something of a conundrum.

After years of lying empty and falling into neglect it has struggled to find a purpose. There is a covenant preventing housing being built on the site although this didn’t prevent early discussions with Merton Council some years ago. The Council has since admitted it has lost the note of the advice it provided.

Now it is being slated for demolition.

The building itself provokes mixed views. The important of its location is, however, without doubt. At a key gateway to the Conservation Area it is in the setting of the nationally listed Mitcham Parish Church and also the old Vicarage. It can also play a part in the wider redevelopment being planned for the Benedict Wharf site when Suez moves out. This should rid us of the oversize Hallowfield Way and provide new homes and community facilities.

We are keen to uphold Merton’s planning policy protecting community uses and so have asked that the La Sporta building isn’t demolished before we know what might follow.

Read our comments here

Read what we said about Benedict Wharf

Date Valley School proving to be a bad neighbour

Date Valley School is located at the end of one of the most characterful streets in Merton.

Cricket Green road is a cul-de-sac framing the historic cricket ground and lined with listed and locally listed buildings.

The travel demands of a school in such a sensitive location were always going to be problematic and so it has proved.

The school has a travel plan which bars parents from driving up to drop off and collect children and it encourages a walking train from The Canons.

It is honoured only in the breach. Major parking problems along Cricket Green and in Chatsworth Place are a more than daily occurrence during term time, including fly parking, obstruction of residential spaces, flagrant breaches of the school travel plan and illegal parking on private land alongside a failure to enforce the parking restrictions introduced when the school opened.

We also have regular reports of verbal abuse being levelled at local residents who challenge drivers in breach of the school travel plan and the police have needed to attend incidents which have arisen.

Despite this Date Valley School has applied for planning permission to open on Saturdays till 1.00pm and to extend its hours of activity into weekday evenings.

A similar proposal was turned down by Merton Council in 2014.  We believe the boundary of acceptability has already been crossed and an extension of hours will make an already intolerable situation worse.  The application should be refused.

Read our comments on this application.

The Canons plans not yet ready for a green light

There is genuine excitement in the air about the opportunity of over £5m investment in The Canons and its grounds with the support of the National Lottery.

We have worked with Friends of the Canons and Mitcham Society for over five years to bring these plans to fruition and were delighted by the success of Merton Council’s funding application in June.

We are looking forward to continuing our role in The Canons Partnership to support and deliver the project.

It is with a heavy heart, therefore, that we have found ourselves unable to support the planning applications needed to go ahead with the works. The detail of the plans still leaves too much at risk and we are still waiting for guarantees than financial surpluses generated from renting out office space in The Canons house and running the cafe will be reinvested in the future management and conservation of The Canons.

The plans require some damage to the listed house and walls, impacts on their setting and causes important trees to be felled. Some of this is necessary for the wider conservation benefits and the opportunity to share The Canons story with more people and put it on a financially sustainable footing. It is a difficult balance and we think more needs to be done to maximise the benefit to the local community.

We need to see more access to The Canons house and the new cafe opened up for community use in the evenings. The walled garden needs to be repaired with better quality materials and the project needs to take a much more sensitive approach to new lighting.

We are looking for the removal of eyesores – such as an empty storage container and poor floodlights – before permission to go ahead with new improvements. The wildlife impact of lining the pond needs to be better understood and there also need to be more guarantees over the impact of the building works.

The Canons project can achieve so much for Mitcham, and we want this very large injection of money into our area to achieve the maximum benefit.  We stand ready to work with Merton Council to support the changes needed to secure planning permission as quickly as possible.

Read our joint representations on The Canons

Deseret House – a case of desperate design

Mitcham town centre has been a focus for significant public investment in the last couple of years.

This has generally upgraded the public spaces and set a higher standard for design and development.

It is all the more disappointing therefore to find crude plans to build an extra two floors above Deseret House, next to the former Tesco on London Road.

This development lies on the edge of the Cricket Green Conservation Area and is far too bulky for the site. It would damage the retail parade and have a negative impact on Glebe Court.

Mitcham deserves better and we’ve teamed up the Mitcham Society to spell out why we think Merton Council should give the application short shrift.

Read our views here.

Intrusive flats planned for Sparrowhawk yard

The Sparrowhawk’s are one of the most significant Mitcham families and have long associations in the area.

The former Sparrowhawk scrap metal yard lies on the edge of Cricket Green Conservation area by Beehive Bridge and across the road from Three Kings Piece.  It is a large and prominent site now subject to a planning application for 29 flats on four storeys.

We have reviewed the plans and are unimpressed by the design.

It is a greedy development using up too much of the site and highly visible from the Conservation Area and Three Kings Piece.

The prominent balconies and failure to respect the surrounding 1930s suburban housing is especially notable.

We support the site being used for housing and believe its size means that the highest quality of design can be expected along with other public benefits, including communal space and improving the local public realm.

Read our views here

Queen’s Head development plans



The Queen’s Head public house has served Cricket Green for nearly a century and the site has been a place of refreshment since at least the mid 19th century. Prominently located opposite the historic Green and on the corner of Bramcote Avenue the building has been officially recognised as making a “positive contribution” to the Conservation Area. The pub closed in 2016 and was boarded up and sold on by Shepherd Neame.

We were pleased to be contacted at an early stage by the new owners to discuss their development plans. While some of our feedback has been taken on board we have registered an objection to the planning application that has now been submitted to Merton Council. This will involve conversion of the existing pub and construction of two new flanking buildings to create eight flats. The design is neither sympathetic enough to the existing building nor bold enough to add to the street scene. The overpowering new block of flats along Bramcote Avenue will dramatically effect the open sweep as it enters Cricket Green and damage the Conservation Area. We have offered to continue to work with the developers to improve the plans.

Read our comments Queens Head pub