Letter to the Editor: Parents must write in support of school expansion
10:56am Monday 21st May 2012 in Your News
By Councillor Peter Walker, Merton Council (Labour, Figges Marsh ward)
Parents of young children in Wimbledon who want to see places at good local schools need to write and support the council’s plans to expand Dundonald primary school.
This expansion is facing opposition from one of the most disgraceful campaigns that I have witnessed in local politics.
Led by the Conservative Councillors in Wimbledon, a campaign of misinformation threatens the proposal which will see places provided for another 200 children at this outstanding school.
Firstly those who opposed the expansion of Dundonald school said there was no local demand for the places.
When confronted with the figures proving this to be untrue, they then claimed it would drastically reduce the amount of open space in my local park, Dundonald Recreation Ground.
Now that the published plans show that there is not any loss of open space, they refuse to admit they are wrong.
The plans show that, by demolishing the dilapidated 50-year-old wooden pavilion and using its footprint to expand the school, as well as upgrading the public facilities that the pavilion provides, no space is lost.
This is not just an issue for local parents around Dundonald school but for all those who, like me, wish to see good local school places for all the children who need them.
The Conservatives and their allies running this campaign threaten the educational provision of places for local children.
For, if they win this battle as they did when we proposed to expand the excellent Bishop Gilpin school, the effect will be that future generations of young Wimbledon children will need to travel several miles out of Wimbledon to receive their education.
The closing date for this consultation is May 30.
I am proud to have been instrumental in expanding good local schools.
I will be saddened if this and other proposed school expansions in Wimbledon are defeated.
Coun Walker was Merton Council's cabinet member for education between 2010 and 2012. He also lives in near Dundonald primary school in Caroline Road, Wimbledon.
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