The lessons from Worsfold House

Merton Council is a significant landowner in Cricket Green as well as being the local planning authority.

Its Cabinet will make a key decision tonight (July 15th 2019) on one of the Council’s most important sites – Worsfold House.

This is located alongside Church Path and next to Cricket Green School. It was formerly used by Merton Council as a satellite office and is now rented out to a range of local organisations, including important voluntary groups such as Merton Centre for Independent Living.

Out of the blue we have learned Worsfold House is to be sold to Clarion Housing to develop 60 homes.

These will be used to house residents of Eastfields Estate who have to leave as a result of the major regeneration plans.

The Eastfields plans have been in preparation for several years and this is the first time Worsfold House has been identified as being critical to their success. The report being considered by the Cabinet gives every impression that Worsfold House’s role in delivering these plans has been developed post hoc. It also fails to give any consideration to Worsfold House’s strategic importance to Cricket Green.

We agree this is a site suitable for new homes and included it in our representations on Merton’s new Local Plan.

It has the potential to open up a new route between Church Road and London Road Playing Fields and contribute to the wider changes now underway with the redevelopment of nearby Benedict Wharf. These proposals all go with the grain of what Merton Council supports through its planning policies but none of them feature in the decision making over the future of its own land.

Merton Council policies also look for good design and it says it encourages community engagement.

So often we face proposals from private sector developers which are poorly designed and already finalised as planning applications. Unsurprisingly this often means that people object to the plans.

With its own land Merton Council has the opportunity to raise the standard and require the new owners – in this case Clarion Homes – to collaborate with local people from the very beginning and meet demanding design standards.

We welcome the fact that Merton Council officers have told us they will “encourage Clarion to engage with the local community in advance of any planning application coming forward for the site” and Cabinet Member, Martin Whelton has told us “we would want Clarion to undertake full consultation with local residents as plans are progressed and it’s something we would emphasise as part of the land transfer” but this feels too weak, too little and too late.

What Merton Council “encourage” and “would want” is not what will necessarily happen. As landowners the Council can insist on it.

We are also asking Merton Council to exercise a stronger duty of care to all of the important local organisations who will lose their offices at Worsfold House.

They need to be helped to find accommodation of at least the size and standard they are leaving and end up in a better position to carry on the important work they do for Merton’s communities.

The future of Worsfold House is important for Cricket Green.

We will continue to do what we can to secure the best use of the site and the highest standard of development. The lessons of Worsfold House go wider than Cricket Green. They speak to the potential of Merton Council to take a much bigger stake in the future of our neighbourhoods as landowner as well as local planning authority.

Eyes are now turning to how its new development company, Merantun, will design and involve local people in the future development for homes of more Merton Council land – the former Canons nursery and the car parks at Raleigh Park Gardens and Elm Nursery.

It’s official – Mitcham cricket pavilion is a community asset

Mitcham cricket pavilion is locally listed and a wonderful example of a building of its time.

Opened in 1904 it is undoubtedly an important heritage asset. Do come along and have a look inside on Mitcham Heritage Day on 14th September.

The cricket pavilion’s true value, however, lies in the community role it plays. It supports Mitcham Cricket Club and the continuing story of the game being played on the oldest cricket ground in the world. This is turn adds immensely to the sense of civic pride in Cricket Green and literally defines our identity.

This is why we were pleased to secure Mitcham cricket pavilion at Merton’s first registered asset of community value in 2014 and we are delighted that the registration has just been renewed for another five years following our application.

The renewal affirms the the vital contribution the pavilion makes to the local community at a time when its future is uncertain.

The pavilion shares ownership with the Burn Bullock, a nationally listed building which has declined to the point where it is on the national Heritage at Risk register. We have seen stop/start plans for both new flats and then a hotel for the rear car park and there is now talk of a care home being built. It remains unclear whether this will impact on the land occupied by the pavilion which includes essential storage and garaging facilities for the equipment needed to care for the cricket square.

Everyone agrees that the cricket pavilion is an essential community asset. This has now been officially reconfirmed. Now we need to work with Merton Council and Mitcham Cricket Club to ensure control of the pavilion is transferred to the local community as a condition of any planning permission to develop other parts of the Burn Bullock site.

Community on the Green 18th July 2019 6.30pm till dusk

Your invitation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area.

Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area was designated on 18th July 1969 and its Golden Jubilee is a cause for celebration.

Thursday 18th July – Mitcham Cricket Ground – 6.30pm till dusk.

Community on the Green includes:

  • short speeches at 7pm, including Deputy Mayor of Merton Edward Foley
  • exhibitions and displays about what is going on in Cricket Green
  • a guided walk exploring gems of Cricket Green at around 7.30pm
  • Wandle Industrial Museum display
  • a celebration of the oldest cricket ground in the world
  • announcement of the Mitcham Heritage Day programme on September 14th
  • opportunities to visit Mitcham cricket pavilion, Merton’s first registered Asset of Community Value
  • cricket being played on the oldest cricket ground in the world
  • drinks and light refreshments and a special surprise!

Community on the Green is for anyone who lives in, works in or simply loves Cricket Green and wants to enjoy a relaxed, enjoyable and informative evening celebrating all that it offers.

We look forward to seeing you!

Mitcham Garden Village – vehicle barrier

Mitcham Garden Village is one of the jewels of the Cricket Green Conservation Area.

It is a living legacy of Sir Isaac Wilson’s local philanthropy and an architectural gem.

We’re greatly concerned, therefore, by proposals for a intrusive road barrier across the key view into the estate from Cranmer Road.

This view is specially recognised in Merton Council’s appraisal of the Conservation Area and the design of

the barrier shows no respect for the sensitivity of the site.

We’re asking for any changes to Mitcham Garden Village to be informed by a management plan to ensure they are well considered and don’t harm what makes it special.

Read our comments on the barrier application.Mitcham Garden Village barrier – June 19

Cricket Green Charter – have your say

It’s the 50th anniversary of Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area and so there is no better time to be refreshing the Cricket Green Charter.

The Charter was first prepared in 2013 and sets out principles that have been informing development and other decisions for more than five years.

The Canons Lottery project is a direct result of the Charter, and is just one of the important achievements it has inspired.

We have been inviting views on the refresh since the beginning of 2019 and been in touch with more than 5,000 households in the local area.

We have received some great feedback.

We also held a workshop earlier this month for local people and councillors. This also heard from Merton Council’s futureMerton team about the changes Cricket Green can expect in the coming years.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved so far. We produced a report on the consultation feedback.

We are now asking for your views on a final draft of the new Cricket Green Charter.

Have a look and let us know what you think.

  • Have we pitched things properly?
  • What have we missed?
  • Are these your priorities?
  • How would you like to see Cricket Green change?

You can email us, get involved on Twitter, or come along and talk things through at our stall at Merton Heritage Discovery Day (at the Civic Centre in Morden on May 11th) or Mitcham Carnival (at Three Kings Piece in Mitcham on June 15th).

We also have an Open Meeting in Mitcham Cricket Pavilion on May 28th at 7pm and would love to chat to you there.

We need to have your feedback by the time of Mitcham Carnival.

Report on the consultation feedback

Final draft of the new Cricket Green Charter