Merton set to welcome royal visitor

Merton is all set to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester as he formally opens the borough’s brand new Community Club House at the Wimbledon Park Athletic Stadium.

The Duke will arrive at the club house in Wimbledon Park on Thursday 18 March at 11.00am. Here he will meet Merton’s mayor Councillor Nick Draper, Stephen Hammond MP, Merton Council Deputy Leader Councillor Samantha George, local councillors, the team of dedicated ground staff as well as directors of Moy Construction Adrian Mullen and Malachy Cavanagh. Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club president David Littlewood and chairman Fred Green, along with Sim Comfort of Wimbledon Park Heritage Group will also be present.

Merton Council led on the design and build process of the new club house. At 120 m2, it is twice the size of the previous building. It also has a green sedum roof and living walls which help to absorb rainwater and provide additional thermal qualities to the building. The club house has been built with piled foundations, cavity wall construction, and a suspended concrete floor with under floor heating powered from an air source heat pump which should cut CO2 emissions by 60%.

The community club house and track have been made possible through a successful partnership between the council and Hercules Wimbledon Athletics Club who secured £60,000 from the government agency Sport England and a further £100,000 from the London Marathon Trust. Merton Council has also invested £55,000 in the building and in the landscaping of the surrounding area.

Mayor of Merton Councillor Nick Draper said: ‘I am looking forward to seeing the brand new community club house. It appears to be an excellent joint initiative between the government, the voluntary sector, the council and a local sports club, and I feel incredibly privileged that I’ll visit it for the first time alongside the Duke of Gloucester.’

Merton Council cabinet member for the environment and leisure services Councillor David Simpson said: ‘This is a very exciting development and I am delighted that the Duke of Gloucester has taken time to visit Merton’s brand new sporting facility. It shows just how much can be achieved when organisations work together for a common goal. We thank Hercules Wimbledon Athletics Club for working with us in such a positive way to deliver this project.

‘There has been lots of community interest from local sports and community groups wanting to use the new facilities, which is fantastic. We will also be using the community club house as a venue for some of our own sports and activity courses too.’

Fred Green for Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club said: ‘It is great to see the community clubhouse project become a reality. We are confident that the stadium will shortly be awarded a Grade A certification and we look forward to it hosting high level athletic events as well as being used by club athletes, schools and community organisations for training and leisure purposes. It is an exciting development for the club and it will also help to raise the profile of athletics in the borough in the run up to the 2012 Games.’

Hannah Bladen, Sport England’s regional lead for London, said: “If community sports clubs want to attract and retain participants, they need to be able to offer quality facilities for everyone. The improvements to the council’s new facilities will be welcomed by regular users and those who are new to sport.”

Following his visit to the Wimbledon club house, the Duke, with Merton Council’s Mayor Councillor Nick Draper and Leader Councillor David Williams, will also visit Merton Register Office in Morden Park where he will be able to see historic photographs of the house and hear about its history.


Notes to editors

Sport England is the government agency responsible for building the foundations of sporting success, by creating a world-leading community sport system of clubs, coaches, facilities and volunteers.

A sedum roof system, also know as a green roof, is visually appealing and also reduces the environmental impact of the building, creating habitat for native flora and fauna, and enhancing building performance. Sedums change colour with the seasons, both through flower and foliage, adding further interest to the roof.

A living wall is an external wall partially or completely covered with vegetation.