Divisive plans to convert part of Morden Park into a floodlit football centre were thrown into disarray following a vote by Merton’s councillors last week.

Conservative members were dealt an embarrassing defeat when a motion to endorse the project was amended by Labour and Merton Park Independent councillors.

Instead, Merton Council should not redevelop any of its existing recreational spaces, according to the passed motion during last Wednesday’s full council meeting.

Labour Councillor Mark Allison said: “This really puts a big spanner in the works. It’s now council policy not to redevelop an area where there are already recreational activities taking place.”

But Merton’s Conservative leader Coun David Williams dismissed it as “policy making on the hoof” that would not stop the council.

“Passing an amendment at the last moment without time to consider the consequences is not how we create policy,” he said. “This doesn’t commit the council to a particular direction.”

He added that the whole policy framework on use of open spaces would have to be considered as the passed motion would even rule out the redevelopment of a park into a playground.

Elsewhere, the fight to save the park gathered momentum with coverage of the resident’s campaign shown on Channel Five last week.

Campaigner Jackie Schneider said: “Channel Five phoned saying they had seen the blog and website and asked us to do something for our community news feature.

“There have been some very senior citizens who were really excited about creating a film and there have been so many people from all parts of the community who were getting involved.

“I think this shows graphically what we’re fighting to save and within minutes of putting the clip up on YouTube there were thousands of hits. ”

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