Merton Council is set to consult with the borough’s residents on the potential closure of a footpath which runs through the grounds of Rutlish School.
The consultation will seek residents’ views on closing the footpath to the public during school hours in term time and follows a request from the school to the council, to make the grounds more secure for its pupils in the light of police recommendations to improve security at the school.
Rutlish School has two main sites, situated either side of the footpath. The footpath links John Innes Park to John Innes Recreation Ground and provides a direct pedestrian and cycle route from one to the other for park users.
The council recognises that some residents would be affected by the proposed restricted access to the footpath, as it provides ready access to John Innes Park tennis courts, a bowling green and a croquet lawn. In the event that there is restricted access to the path during term time, park users would have to take an alternative route via Watery Lane and Manor Road.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis: “It is only right that the school’s main responsibility is to its students and staff. The council also has a responsibility to ensure our young people’s safety. At the same time, we know that residents have concerns about accessibility to their parks so we want to give park users and others, including pupils and staff at the school, the opportunity to share the views about the future of the path and how we balance the safety of pupils with public access.”
The consultation will be available on the council’s website later in June. Paper copies will also be made available in libraries and from the civic centre.