Why a small stretch of old wall off Merantun Way is important to our history.
Founded in 1114, Merton Priory was one of the greatest religious houses in England. It hosted a Parliament in 1236, and in 1436 a “Crowning ceremony” for 15-year-old Henry VI. The last Prior of Merton, John Ramsey, surrendered it to Henry VIII’s Commissioners in 1538; it was demolished and the stone used to build Nonsuch Palace near Cheam. But nowadays hardly a trace remains.
The Priory site is now partly occupied by Sainsbury’s Colliers Wood store, though incongruously the remains of the Chapter House still exist off a pedestrian underpass under Merantun Way.
A small portion of the abbey wall remains, now incorporated into a row of single storey workshops. A proposal was put forward to demolish these and build a block of apartments with commercial space varying in height from three to six storeys. Whilst the old wall would be retained, our objections to the new buildings included poor design, over-shadowing of the two-storey houses opposite and the lack of plans for an archaeological excavation.
The application was considered by the Council’s Planning Applications Committee earlier this summer. It was turned down because the councillors considered the height and bulk of the building was too great, there were too many north-facing, single-aspect units and because of the loss of daylight and sun to neighbouring properties. A further application has been submitted and we have repeated our objections.