Merton Council is preparing the way for work to start on a brand new family leisure centre in Morden Park.
The necessary archaeological surveys have been done and the council is now ensuring the safety of the local wildlife and that includes the local great crested newts, which are a protected species.
This week, Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, visited the site of where the new leisure centre will be and took a look at the area where work is being done to create a new habitat for the newts, which are protected under EU Law. He spoke to ecologist Gareth Matthes from GPM Ecology, who is expert in ensuring the welfare of protected species. The newts currently living in a pond close to the new site of the leisure centre will have a new improved habitat in the form of a larger, renovated pond in a quiet and secluded area of the park.
Councillor Alambritis said: “It is very exciting that we have a new affordable leisure centre coming to Morden and it’s great to see the preparatory work well under way. It’s important we ensure the wellbeing of our precious wildlife. We’re getting a good deal for the great crested newts and we’ve secured a great deal for our residents that will provide them with a modern leisure centre for families and clubs to enjoy. The new leisure centre will cost us less to maintain in the long run than the current building, so it’s good news for council tax payers and good news for the newts!”
Notes to editors
- Following feedback from residents and current Morden Park Pool users, the council’s new, affordable leisure centre will offer a 25-metre, six-lane pool, a 15-metre x 13 metre pool with moveable floor to accommodate swimming teaching, water-based exercise and diving, a 100-station fitness suite, a large studio/community room and café.
- Work is expected to start in the next few months.
- The council has planned the construction so that the current ageing Morden Park Pool will only be demolished once the new leisure centre is up and running. Leisure customers will always have sports facilities throughout the works
- Once the new centre is ready in early 2018, the site of Morden Park Pool will be returned to open green space.