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  PLANS FOR ATKINSON MORLEY'S
HOSPITAL SITE
 

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Update July 2011

The AMH site was sold to Berkeley Homes plc around the end of April 2010. In addition to the hospital buildings, the purchase included the former nurses' homes (the Firs) and the Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) to the south. The Wolfson Neurorehabilitation Centre is not part of the site, and currently  remains as a St. George's NHS Trust facility.

Following several public consultations and amendments, the Berkeley Homes planning application for development of the site was approved by Merton Council's Planning Applications Committee on 21st July 2011.

To read about the consultation process conducted by Berkeley Homes, and previous planning applications for the site with links to the associated campaign history, please refer to the Archive section of this web-site.

Overall, LUNG feels the outcome is very positive for both the built and open land parts of the site. Much of what the community has been fighting for over several decades will finally be achieved. There is however more work to do to ensure that the new park, which we have proposed is called Morley Park, has a sustainable management plan.
 

The full planning application can be viewed on Merton Council's web-site:
http://planning.merton.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorerAA/Home.aspx
Select "Application Search" and enter the planning application number 11/P0346. This will initially bring up a brief summary. Click on the application number beside the summary to get to the fuller details.

You can also see a simple overview of the proposals on the Berkeley Homes web-site:
http://www.atkinson-morley.com/index.cfm?articleID=1
 

In summary, the plan is as follows:

BUILT DEVELOPMENT (Copse Hill):

  • There will be a total of 25 houses and 54 flats and maisonettes spread over the hospital
    and Firs sites, and a total of 144 parking spaces

  • The Firs site will have 8 detached homes, 4 with direct access off Copse Hill and
    4 overlooking 'Morley Park'

  • The turning circle for the 200 bus will be relocated to be in front of the Wolfson

Hospital site:

  • The old hospital building will be restored and converted into 26 apartments

  • 28 'affordable flats and maisonettes' in 3 blocks located near the Copse Hill frontage of the hospital site. The ‘affordable’ housing is integrated within lower-density private housing, of similar design and not placed in a 'ghetto' as it was in the first plan

  • 11 detached and semi-detached houses

  • 2 rows of 3 terraced houses on either side of entrance courtyard

  • An underground car park under this courtyard

The residential development will retain ownership of the open land to the east of the north/south path (i.e. the lawn area behind the hospital and part of the woodland). These areas are part of the area designated as Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and will have to be managed accordingly.

OPEN LAND TO THE WEST OF THE NORTH/SOUTH PATH – 'MORLEY PARK'

The freehold of all the land to the west of the north/south path (with the exception of 2 small areas close to the Wolfson) will transfer to the Council and will remain available for public access in perpetuity. The Council has undertaken to decide within 4 months whether this new park should be managed by a community trust.

The local residents' associations, along with LUNG and Berkeley Homes all favour the management of Morley Park by the community trust together with the Council. This approach was supported when the first application was approved for this site in 2005, and we cannot understand why it should take another 4 months to decide if it is the right approach now.  It is imperative that the future managers of the site are involved in this project  from the beginning. 

Key elements of the scheme for the park will see improved and formalised public access:

  • The lower playing fields will be restored and 3 football pitches created. There will be a public walking/jogging trail around the perimeter of these fields and access to the playing fields when not in use. The trail route will be similar to the present dog-walkers/joggers’ route.
  • Berkeley Homes will build a new pavilion with 4 changing rooms.
  • The upper field will be an ecology area with full public access.  It will contain an attenuation pond, designed to control storm run-off from the built development.
  • Woodland to west of path and meadow will be jointly managed with the eastern lawn and woods.
  • A new public path will be provided from Copse Hill on to the upper field.
  • Berkeley Homes will replace the existing 2 bedroom cottage to provide rental income for the park.
  • The Scout area will be extended to include the old tennis courts that surround the existing site. This will be through a long term lease at peppercorn rent.
  • The plan also includes replacing part of the Scout buildings -- this does not form part of the works to be provided by Berkeley Homes, but under the Section 106 agreement, Berkeley Homes will provide £60k towards the cost of the works. Berkeley Homes is also making a charitable donation of £10k to the Scouts.
  • The Section 106 agreement will require Berkeley Homes to provide a 'dowry' of £360k to help with the maintenance of the park. This will be ring-fenced so that it can only be used for the park.
  • The S106 will include a condition that the Council cannot dispose of any of the gifted land or buildings for profit i.e. it will have long term protection.

NORTH/SOUTH PATH

The north/south path will be improved by Berkeley Homes and will be publicly adopted.

 

NEXT STEPS

Much has been achieved but we now need to work with the Council to ensure community involvement in managing the park and to ensure there is a sustainable plan in place.  The Trust could combine Council and local expertise, and access grant funding that the Council alone cannot.  It is down to the enthusiasm and skills of local residents that this open land has been saved.  It would be foolhardy to dispense with their services now.

Berkeley Homes hope to commence the main construction works in November 2011, although they will be undertaking some demolition work on the Firs site in advance if this, probably in late August/early September 2011.  Berkeley Homes aim to complete the works on the open land and buildings that will transfer to the Council ('Morley Park') within 18 months of signing the S106 agreement that will detail all the contributions that Berkeley Homes will have to make (e.g. the dowry for the open land, and full specification for the pavilion).

 

Last Updated 03/08/11