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Seized goods donated to charity by Merton and Richmond Councils

14 February, 2019 - 13:14

Counterfeit clothes, shoes and toys seized by Merton Council and Richmond Council have been donated to the charity Sports Traider.

The items, including rugby scarfs, boots, trainers, jewellery and toys will either be rebranded by Sports Traider, which gives disadvantaged young people access to sports equipment. Anything which poses a danger will be shredded and the material recycled.

The Councils have a duty to protect consumers by ensuring that counterfeit and dangerous goods are kept off the market.

By choosing to donate to Sports Traider, the Councils are reducing the volume of waste going to landfill and preventing counterfeit goods from finding their way back to the black market.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “Merton Council is pleased to be working with Sports Traider and donating these items to a worthwhile charity that helps communities and promotes sports. I would also like to commend the work being done by our enforcement teams, who work tirelessly to ensure that counterfeit goods are taken off our streets.”

Cllr Martin Elengorn, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Making sure that counterfeit goods are not being sold on the streets of our borough is important. They are usually low quality and quite often dangerous. By working with Sports Traider we are able to ensure that dangerous goods are always shredded or recycled and all money raised goes to worthwhile charities.”



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Kids urged to go Fizz free this February

12 February, 2019 - 15:22

Children and young people across Merton are being encouraged to give up fizzy drinks this month to reduce their sugar intake.

Merton Council is supporting Fizz Free February, which was pioneered by Southwark Council, to tackle obesity and tooth decay among children and young people.

The council’s public health team are raising awareness of the campaign at a stand in the Civic Centre this week.

(L-R) Merton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Dagmar Zeuner and Cabinet Member for Health Councillor Tobin Byers

Consuming too much sugar can result in a child gaining weight, which increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers and tooth decay.

In Merton, one in every five children starting primary school is overweight or obese and this increases to one in three pupils starting secondary school.

Eating too much sugar can also be very harmful for children’s teeth. Almost a quarter of children (22.5%) in Merton have one or more decayed, missing or filled teeth by the age of five and, for children aged between five and nine-years-old, tooth decay is the most common reason for admission to hospital.

Merton Council’s Member for Health, Councillor Tobin Byers said: “A fizzy drink can contain up to seven teaspoons of sugar, which is almost twice the total maximum recommended amount a young child should consume in a day, so pledging to go fizz free is an easy way to cut down sugar intake.

“We are encouraging children and young people to swap fizzy drinks for water, low fat milk or other drinks which contain no added sugar. As well as helping to prevent tooth decay, this simple change can stop children putting on weight which can increase their risk of developing serious illnesses when they are older.”

To join in, just complete the online pledge to give up fizzy drinks for 28 days and use the #GoFizzFree hashtag on Twitter.


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Seized goods donated to charity by Merton and Richmond councils

11 February, 2019 - 14:30

Merton and Richmond Council’s Trading Standards teams have donated seized counterfeit clothes, shoes, toys and other goods to the charity Sports Traider.

 Trading Standards team handing donations to Carol Haynes at Sports Traider

Sports Traider are a registered charity who work closely with many Trading Standards departments, and brand holders alike. They provide access to sports equipment for disadvantaged people, be that through disability, social exclusion or poverty. The aim is to give them something to focus on, be part of a team and improve self-esteem.

The items which are mostly counterfeit goods include rugby scarfs, boots, trainers, jewellery, toys and tobacco. Sports Traider, will either rebrand the clothes or shred and reuse the material. There is even a use for the tobacco, with it being used to make compost!

All of the money they raise is ploughed into schemes helping disabled and disadvantaged people locally to gain employment, training and sporting opportunities. They have also recently helped wounded and sick ex-military personnel through a sports rehabilitation programme.

The Council has a duty to protect consumers by ensuring that counterfeit and dangerous goods are kept off the market.

Counterfeit goods pose a serious safety risk to consumers; jewellery often contains dangerous levels of nickel and other harmful substances, while the toys have not undergone safety testing so pose many risks, such as choking or cutting on sharp edges.

By choosing to donate to Sports Traider, the Council is actively reducing the volume of waste going to landfill and keeps the items from ending back up on the black market.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “Merton Council is pleased to be working with Sports Traider and donating these items to a worthwhile charity that helps communities and promotes sports. I would also like to commend the work being done by our enforcement teams, who work tirelessly to ensure that counterfeit goods are taken off our streets.”

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Ofsted praise for effective work with vulnerable children

8 February, 2019 - 16:44

Merton Council has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for its effective and timely work to protect the borough’s most vulnerable children.

The inspection focused on the work by the council’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), and other safeguarding schemes, to identify the risks children face and create plans to meet their needs. The inspectors noted the MASH was continuing its strong work; previously recognised in the ‘Good with Outstanding features’ rating of Merton Children’s Services awarded in 2017.

The report, published today, praised the council for further enhancing its early help and support work and described the assessments of the needs of children as being of ‘exceptionally high quality’. The inspectors noted that children’s views ‘are clearly listened to and acted on’.

The inspectors acknowledged improvements made by the department since the last full inspection in 2017 and earmarked areas for the service to work upon to make continual enhancements.

Following a two-day the visit in January, the inspectors noted: “MASH is well established, with effective multi-agency engagement, and partners contributions lead to timely and proportionate responses to the risks identified at the time of referral.”

“Assessments are comprehensive and analytical, and lead to clear plans that help to improve children’s and families’ circumstances. Social workers are supported and supervised effectively by experienced managers, so that work progresses in a timely way.”

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Kelly Braund, said: “Keeping our most vulnerable children safe and ensuring they receive effective and timely support is of utmost importance to us.”

“We are pleased that Ofsted has recognised the work of MASH and our other safeguarding schemes, and we are committed to continually drive forward improvements to ensure all children in Merton have the protection they need.”

“This report is a great testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff. It also reflects the strong work that we deliver in partnership with our schools, voluntary sector partners, the police, NHS and of course our parents and carers.”

Link to the full report:

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Merton to pilot better mental health assessments for children entering care

6 February, 2019 - 11:33

Merton Council has been chosen to pilot a new approach to give children coming into the care system better mental health assessments.

Merton is one of nine local authorities selected to take part in the two-year pilot, which is funded by the Department for Education, and run by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, along with a consortium of partners including Action for Children, Research in Practice and the Child Outcomes Research Consortium.

The pilot will conclude with an evaluation and the findings will be shared with other councils across the country.

The announcement was made during Children’s Mental Health Week, which runs from 4 -10 February.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Kelly Braund, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to take part in such an important pilot, which has the potential to provide significantly better support to some of our most vulnerable young people at a very difficult point in their lives.

“Nationally, too many children come into our care with mental health issues which have gone undiagnosed and better mental health assessments will ensure that we can provide support tailored to each child’s needs. There is a strong link between a child’s mental and physical health, so improving their wellbeing can also benefit their overall health.”

Director of Research in Practice, Dez Holmes, said: “The calibre of applications received showed local areas are making great strides towards improving the mental health assessments for children entering care through innovative practices, partnership working, as well as a strong operational and strategic commitment to improving the lives and outcomes of children and young people. Areas selected for this project demonstrated a high level of expertise and commitment to innovation and we are delighted to be working with them on this important project.”

The Head of Service, for Specialist Trauma and Maltreatment at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Sheila Redfern, said: “We’re excited to begin working with sites on this important project. A new assessment framework is to be introduced, with the child or young person at the heart of these assessments. The approach will be more relational, include the young person’s carer, and bring together views of those around the child. The aim is to increase awareness of the level of the young person’s mental health needs and create a shared understanding of these needs across the important people in the child’s network.”

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Hate Crime advice service to be launched

5 February, 2019 - 15:00

Merton council will be hosting a hate crime advice surgery in partnership with charity Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks).

Merton is the first borough in south London to work in conjunction with Tell Mama to run these sessions that are aimed at raising awareness and support victims of hate crime.

The surgeries will run on the second Tuesday of every month from 1.00pm to 2.00pm starting Tuesday 12 February at the civic centre, London Road. It will be a safe space for anyone to come and discuss hate crime and report anonymously. Members of the public can drop in for advice as no appointment is necessary.

Merton is one of the safest London boroughs, and the council has a strong working relationship with the police and other partner agencies to promote community cohesion and encourage victims to come forward. Representatives from BAME Voice, Inner Strength Network and Polish Family Association will also be on hand to offer advice.

Cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities, Councillor Edith Macauley, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with Tell Mama and all our partners, to ensure Merton continues to be one of the safest London boroughs. Hate crime is a continual concern for our residents and has no place in our borough. I am encouraging everyone to come for these sessions, where we hope to raise more awareness about what hate crime is and how to spot it. We want to provide people with a supportive environment where victims can report in confidence incidents of hate crime.”

For more information:


Notes for Editor

All sessions will be held at Merton civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Tuesday 11 June 2019 



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Leyton Road Opens

4 February, 2019 - 15:37

On a sunny winter’s day, Mayor of Merton Councillor Mary Curtin officially opened the Leyton Road Community Resource Centre.


Leader of the Council, Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Mayor of Merton Cllr Mary Curtin , Wally Downes, Manager of AFC Wimbledon and Ivor Heller, Director of AFC Wimbledon.

The ceremony was held on Wednesday 30 January and attended by The Leader of the Council, Cllr Stephen Alambritis, ward councillors, Wally Downes, Manager of AFC Wimbledon and Ivor Heller, Director of AFC Wimbledon.

Leyton Road is the new home of the High Path Centre, which has moved as part of the planned new Harris Academy development. Located in Colliers Wood, the new centre will provide day services for adults with learning disabilities. The centre, which was designed in consultation with service users and their families, now has a state-of-the-art music therapy room, art room, relaxation area, garden and fully fitted kitchen.

The core users of the service are people with a learning disability, who were joined by friends and colleagues from Merton’s other day services as well as their parents and carers.

The centre is a community hub, hosting voluntary groups who were all represented at the opening ceremony including the Uptown Youth Group, WIFFA (West Indian Families and Friends Association) and PHAB Club.

 Leader of the Council, Cllr Stephen Alambritis and Wally Downes, Manager of AFC Wimbledon

Special guests from the management team of AFC Wimbledon and Haydon the Womble, the club mascot, reflect the close ties between AFC, the staff and clients of the day service. The club have supported the clients throughout the years with day trips to matches, joint ventures and fundraising.

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “I would like to welcome everyone to the Leyton Road Community Resource Centre. This service is an example of the council’s commitment to providing vital services to the most vulnerable in our community. I would also like to thank all the families, council staff and volunteers who have worked together to ensure that this state-of-the-art facility is available to serve the whole community.”




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Beware Blue Badge Parking Con

1 February, 2019 - 12:42

Merton Council is warning Blue Badge holders to be vigilant of a parking scam in which fraudsters are pretending to be a Council parking attendant to con people out of money.

The Council’s parking and community safety teams have had several reports that the man, who is dressed in a similar manner to real parking wardens, is approaching Blue Badge holders and telling them there is a new council policy that they need to register their vehicle at a parking machine. This is completely false.

The motorist is told to put their card into the machine and enter their PIN in front of the thief. He then says the card has been ‘swallowed’ and encourages the victim to leave – leaving him in possession of both the card and its PIN. One victim had £3000 withdrawn from their bank account following the fraud.

Merton Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Equalities, Councillor Edith Macauley, said: “I would like to reassure our residents and all blue badge holders that we are doing everything we can to stop this person. Merton Council would like to confirm that there have been no new changes made to the Blue Badge policy. Along with our neighbouring boroughs, all parking enforcement officers will be keeping a close eye out for this man, and we have alerted the local Safer Neighbourhood Teams so that the police can help us track him down.

“In the meantime, I would urge everyone to stay alert to suspicious activity. Never enter your PIN into any cash or payment machine in view of anyone else, and be aware that once you have entered your PIN, it is not possible for the machine to ‘swallow’ your card. If you are concerned you have been conned, contact your bank immediately so that your card can be cancelled.”

If you would like more information about protecting yourself from scams visit Merton trading standards  or contact For Blue Badge scheme queries visit



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Merton Council launch Tune In

22 January, 2019 - 15:25

In collaboration with critically acclaimed bassist Jah Wobble, Merton Council are launching ‘Tuned In’, which will provide free weekly sessions for participants to meet new people and play an instrument or exercise.

The sessions start on Monday 28 January at 7pm at Merton Arts Space in Wimbledon Library. The sessions will be led by Jah Wobble who will bring his enthusiasm for music and sports to the group.

It is estimated that there could be 8,000 lonely people in the borough. London’s older people population rank top as the loneliest in the country with more than four out of five (87%) feeling lonely at least some of the time. The project aims to bring people together across the borough through a mutual love of music and sport.

Merton Council will work in partnership with AFC Wimbledon, Fulham FC, One You Merton and GLL to provide the sessions with the main focus being directed musical ‘jam’ sessions that people can get involved with no matter their ability. ‘Tuned In’ partners will be on hand to provide health and exercise advice and activities.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “What a wonderful idea!  It’s very easy for people to become lonely in our busy metropolis, and music and sport are ideal ways to find new friends.  Get the serotonin flowing!”

For more information and to register visit

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Council installs bollards outside homes to stop illegal crossover parking

21 January, 2019 - 16:30

Merton Council is taking enforcement action against residents who illegally park their vehicles on their properties without a dropped kerb.

So far, the council’s enforcement officers have put up bollards on the pavement in front of 15 properties across the borough, blocking access for residents who have been illegally mounting the kerb and driving across the pavement to park on the hardstanding in front of their homes.

The enforcement action follows warning letters from the council to residents asking them to apply to the council for a dropped kerb to be put in, if their property meets the criteria, or to put up a wall or a fence to prevent vehicles from driving across the pavement onto their property. 

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Transport, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “It is illegal to drive over a pavement without a dropped kerb and we are taking enforcement action against residents who persist in mounting the kerb and driving across the pavement to park in front of their property, risking the safety of pedestrians and other road users.

“Not only are cars manoeuvring across pavements dangerous for walkers, overhanging vehicles can block the pavement for wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs. Driving over illegal crossovers also damages the kerb and pavement and the council will install bollards to prevent it happening.”

An application for a dropped kerb must meet the criteria set out on the council’s website and may also require planning permission. Applications in controlled parking zones will also be subject to a traffic management order. There must be a certain amount of space to park the vehicle directly in front of the property so that it does not hang over the pavement and can be manoeuvred in and out of the parking space in a single movement. Consideration must also be given to any lamppost or telegraph pole on the pavement, which can usually be relocated for a fee, although permission will be refused to move a tree, unless it is young enough to survive being replanted.  

Only the council can put in dropped kerbs and these are constructed to withstand domestic vehicles, usually in tarmac but also using heavy duty paving slabs where required. Standard paving is unsuitable for vehicles to drive over. Residents cover all costs, however, a dropped kerb can add five per cent to the value of a property.


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Mental health support teams to support up to 25,000 young people a year in south west London

18 January, 2019 - 10:48

South West London Health and Care Partnership have secured £1.85m of trailblazer funding, which will be used to create mental health support teams in Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth.

The funding will give almost 25,000 children and young people extra support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Mental health support teams will work with schools, children and young people and their parents with the aim of ensuring they are well equipped to have healthy and honest conversations about emotional wellbeing – as well as connecting them to local services.

Dr Andrew Murray, Merton GP, CCG Chair and lead on children and young people’s mental health said:This trailblazer funding will accelerate our progress and increase the impact we can have on young people’s lives and help young people achieve their full potential.

“The trailblazer pilot supports wider plans by the South West London Health and Care Partnership to take action on children and young peoples’ mental health, bringing together schools, clinicians, parents and young people to improve services across all six boroughs.”

“We are already piloting a ‘whole school approach’ in every south west London borough – introducing new services, such as online peer support for young people, mental health first aid training for teachers and courses to empower parents to talk to their children about emotional wellbeing.”

Kelly Braund, Merton Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Securing this funding is a real step in the right direction, and means that we can access the much needed resources to deliver pioneering mental health care to the Merton’s young people. In Merton, we are proud of our strong partnership work that means we can provide early intervention services by raising awareness, building resilience and helping young people to access the services they need when they first need it.  I look forward to seeing the continuation of the brilliant work being done by a comprehensive range of services that work together to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Merton’s young people.”

The trailblazer mental health support teams will offer both one to one support and group treatment sessions for children and young people and, where needed, provide referrals to specialist children and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS).

Initially, the extra funding will support the development of three teams as a pilot across Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth. However, the South West London Health and Care Partnership is also hoping for a future roll out of teams across Croydon, Richmond and Kingston – building on learning from the pilot.

New schemes and services are also being introduced across south west London, including online peer support for young people, mental health first aid training for teachers, courses to empower parents to talk to their children about emotional wellbeing, an improved single point of access for CAMHS and a directory of support services.

Dr Murray continued:

“We know that if we are to have an impact on adult mental health we have to start early and support children and young people and give them the skills to be resilient.

“We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to launch and test our enhanced mental health support teams, in addition to the work we are already doing across all of our boroughs to support children and young people. We’re aiming to expand the pilot across our other boroughs of Croydon, Kingston and Richmond, to ensure that we can give every young person the best chances in life.”




  • Nationally, we know that 50% of all mental health problems are established by the age of 14, rising to 75% by age 24.
  • One in ten children aged 5-16 has a diagnosable mental health condition, such as conduct disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression.
  • Merton has the second highest rate of child mental health admissions compared to comparative boroughs (122.7 per 100,000, equivalent to 56 admissions, 2014/15). This is the higher than the average for England (87.4 per 100,000) and London (94.2 per 100,000).


Mental health support teams will be made up of:

  • A clinical psychologist
  • An emotional wellbeing nurse or therapist (to provide group support for younger children)
  • 4 Well-being practitioners
  • A pathway co-ordinator
  • Administrator



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Neighbourhoods to receive £15k of community funding

18 January, 2019 - 09:56

Every electoral ward in Merton is to be given a grant of £15k for neighbourhood projects which enhance the local area.

At a meeting on Monday, Merton Council’s Cabinet agreed to allocate the funding to every ward in the borough for initiatives to improve the public space. Each ward will have three years to spend their £15k allocation.

Merton Council will open applications from early spring, when communities will be able to select from a list of types of projects to be funded by the £15k for their wards. The list includes initiatives which are not already covered by the Council’s contracts with idverde, Veolia or FM Conway and meet criteria set out by the Government for spending the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy.

Schemes may include providing alley gate schemes, benches, painting or renewing fences or installing children’s playground equipment. Other options are planting bulbs or supporting volunteer group clean ups. There may be opportunities to pool funding with neighbouring wards or combine grants.

Applicants need to put forward their selections to their ward councillors, who must all agree to the proposals before submitting them to the Council for approval.

In addition, during the spring, communities can submit bids to a separate fund called the Neighbourhood Fund. The Neighbourhood Fund is available for a broader range of projects that Merton Council and communities have decided would address their priorities for Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy funding.

The funding for both the £15k per ward allocation and the Neighbourhood Fund projects comes from the Community Infrastructure Levy – money developers are required to pay as part of planning consent to support the demands their plans place on the local area.

The rollout of the £15k Ward Allocation initiative across the borough follows a pilot scheme which was run last year.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Transport, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “This funding can help make a real difference locally by allowing local communities to access funding to help improve their local area and determine priorities.

“I look forward to seeing many ideas put forward by residents, community groups and councillors on improvements that can be made to their local area from the funding.”


  1. Details on how to apply for £15k per ward allocation and Neighbourhood Fund money will be published on the council’s website:
  2. Merton Council also uses Community Infrastructure Levy funding to help pay for key infrastructure projects in accordance with Regulations and Government guidance. Funding is approved as part of the Capital Programme allocation process.
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Merton Holocaust Memorial Day 2019

18 January, 2019 - 09:30

Merton’s Holocaust Memorial Day event will be held on Tuesday 22 January in the Council Chamber from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm. Members of the public are invited to attend this free event.

Nationally, Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated on 27 January each year and marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

This year’s theme is ‘Torn from Home’ and urges us to reflect on how the enforced loss of a safe place to call ‘home’ is part of the trauma faced by those who have experienced persecution and genocide.

The evening’s programme includes a presentation from a Holocaust survivor and contributions from local politicians, community representatives, religious leaders and the Wimbledon Synagogue choir.

The Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin who will be leading the event said:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives through the atrocities of the holocaust and subsequent genocides and honour the survivors.

“In Merton we are proud of our diverse community where people from different backgrounds get on well together. The civic event shows our commitment to continuously working to erase hatred, prejudice and discrimination in the borough.”

The council also has an exhibition in the Civic Centre displaying information on the Holocaust and other genocides.

For further information on Holocaust memorial events visit



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AFC Wimbledon secure their return to Merton

17 January, 2019 - 09:19

AFC Wimbledon have secured their return to the borough after completing a key stage for the development of their new stadium at Plough Lane.

On Monday 24 December Merton Catalyst LLP (the joint venture of Galliard Homes and Catalyst Developments [Wimbledon] Ltd) officially transferred ownership of the land on which the stadium will be built to a subsidiary of the Dons Trust, The Wider Interests of Football Limited, meaning AFC Wimbledon began 2019 as owners of the freehold to that land.

AFC Wimbledon Chief Executive Erik Samuelson said: “The transfer of the freehold to our land on the Plough Lane site is a massive step forward.  Finally, we no longer need to call Plough Lane our spiritual home – it’s our actual home.”

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “I am delighted that AFC Wimbledon are now the owners of Plough Lane and returning back to their hometown. As ever, I am hugely thankful to the fans and our council staff who are working tirelessly towards the club’s return to the borough and have done so much to make Merton a great place for families. The development will be fantastic for our community, bringing not just an amazing stadium, but much needed homes and better transport links, new jobs and an economic boost to the local area. The whole of Merton will be cheering them on!”

Once completed, the new development will not only provide a state of the art 11,000- 20,000-seater football stadium for AFC Wimbledon, but will bring over 600 much needed homes, retail space, a squash and fitness club as well as an economic boost to Merton.


Notes to editors

  1. Representatives from AFC Wimbledon, Merton Council and GRA Acquisitions Limited sign the Section 106 agreement on 13 December 2017.
  2. Merton Council’s planning committee unanimously approved AFC Wimbledon’s and Galliard’s application to build a new stadium on 10 December 2015.
  3. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan formally handed back to Merton Council the powers to progress AFC Wimbledon’s application for the football stadium in August 2016.
  4. Dons Trust, The Wider Interests of Football Limited is the company which owns AFC Wimbledon. It is in turn owned by fans of the Club.
  5. Merton Catalyst LLP is a joint venture between Gallard Homes and Catalyst Developments [Wimbledon] Ltd.
  6. Find out more information about the stadium development here
  7. For more information about the residential, retail and leisure development visit
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Young care leavers to benefit from free council tax

16 January, 2019 - 15:07

From April, young people leaving care in Merton will no longer have to pay council tax thanks to a decision by the council’s Cabinet.

At a meeting on Monday Cabinet agreed to amend their council tax reduction policy to support care leavers in Merton up to the age of 25 and make them exempt from paying council tax.

The decision builds on a campaign by the national charity The Children’s Society, which has previously called for care leavers up to the age of 21 to be exempt from paying council tax.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Kelly Braund, said: “As a council we aim to make this borough a great place for families. Care leavers are our family and we are passionate about making sure that they are afforded the same care, security and stability as any parent would want for their child.”

“The transition into adulthood for people leaving care can be harder than for other young people in the borough. As they learn how to manage their money and develop a life of their own, we want to give them the best start that we can. As their corporate parent, we feel that the council tax exemption is a great way to help them in their journey towards independence, and I’m very pleased that we can offer this support.” 


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Merton to hold Scam Awareness Conference

15 January, 2019 - 15:54

Merton Council’s Safer Neighbourhood Board have partnered with the Met Police Cyber Crime Unit and Trading Standards to host a free community ‘How to avoid scams’ conference for residents.

Age UK, Financial Services, Trading Standards, MASCOT, Victim Support, Citizens Advice, Neighbourhood Watch and Neighbourhood Police will be on hand to give expert advice.

The session will be held on Saturday 2 February, between at 10am until 1pm (doors open 9.30 at The Everyday Church, Queens Road, SW19 8LR (adjacent to Centre Court shopping centre in Wimbledon).

Sadly, a Merton resident was recently scammed over the phone and lost £1,200. The resident received a voicemail from someone claiming to be from the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The message stated that the resident had an outstanding debt and that an arrest warrant had been issued. On calling the number left on the voicemail, the resident was advised that they could avoid court and settle the debt, by paying it off in high street vouchers by 3pm that day.

The scammers convinced the resident to stay on the phone while they purchased vouchers from different stores. In this case, the resident lost £1,200.

At the conference Merton residents will be able to learn more about how they can protect themselves. Scammers are professional hoaxers, who at times appear to be friendly and can be well spoken. They can use fictitious charities and distressing photographs and may refer you to what seems to be a legitimate website. They may provide false testimonial and give themselves important sounding titles.

Merton Council cabinet member for Community Safety, Engagement and Equalities, Edith Macauley said: “I look forward to seeing you all at the conference where our experts will tell you all the ways that you can protect yourself, family and community from scammers. We thank all the partners who have come together to provide our residents with this excellent session that will be very helpful.”

For more information visit or Contact


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Council to consult with businesses on business plan

14 January, 2019 - 13:44

Merton Council is to meet with businesses to ask them about their views on the council’s budget and business plan proposals.

Leader of the council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis will be at the civic centre on Wednesday, 13 February 2019, 6pm – 7pm along with council officers and cabinet members to answer any questions and address concerns business owners may have about the proposals for 2019/20 and the business plan 2019-23.


The meeting is part of the council’s annual consultation with businesses on the financial decisions it has to make to balance the budget and plan for the coming four years.


Merton Council recognises the importance of a vibrant local economy and the role local businesses play in creating jobs and prosperity. The responses to the consultation will all be considered as part of the business plan, which will be finalised at full council on 6 March 2019.


Leader of Merton Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “I am a small businessman myself and was spokesperson for the Federation of Small Businesses so I understand businesses and how vital they are to the economic success of the borough. As a council we have adopted a business-like approach to our services and to the financial decisions we have to make. So I value greatly all our discussions with the business community especially when we get to hear their thoughts on what we’re doing and how we can continue to make Merton a place that’s business-friendly.”

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Merton scores an ace at New Year’s Day Parade

4 January, 2019 - 14:09

Merton is celebrating another successful year at London’s New Year’s Day Parade (Tuesday 1 January) after winning £5,000 for the Mayors charities with its entry,Merton Welcomes the World’. 

Record crowds lined the streets of London to watch the 2019 parade as it made its way along the 2.2mile route through the city. This year’s theme ‘London Welcomes The World’ was reflected by the 8,000 participants representing 26 nations and 15 London boroughs.

In keeping with the parades theme, Merton’s entry, ‘Merton Welcomes the World’ was chosen because Merton is home to the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Championships and welcomes thousands of visitors from across the globe every year. Two giant puppet tennis players, controlled by talented pupils from the Wimbledon College of Art, showed off their tennis skills whilst councilors, young people from Morden Little League and friends danced and sang to the parade song, ‘Anyone for Tennis’, which was composed by Councillor Linda Kirby and recorded by children from Links Primary School.

Merton’s entry in the London New Year’s Day Parade – ‘Merton Welcomes the World’

Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin said, “It was fantastic to see Merton’s entry in the New Year’s Day Parade. We have been taking part in this competition for many years now and the effort that our talented team always put in is outstanding. I would like to thank everyone involved, with a special thanks to the students at Wimbledon College of Art and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Geraldine Stanford for organising the Merton entry. Due to everyone’s efforts we’ve raised £5,000 for my two Mayoral charities.”

Watch footage of the Merton entry making its way through the streets of London.

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Merton council signs declaration to reduce sugar consumption and support healthier food

4 January, 2019 - 10:29

In December, Merton Council took its fight to creating a healthier borough a step further by signing a Local Authority Declaration, committing to reduce sugar consumption in the borough and promote healthier eating.

Leader of the Council Cllr Stephen Alambritis and Dr Dagmar Zeuner, Director of Public Health with the signed Local Authority Declaration

On average children in England, now consume more than double the recommended daily amount of sugar. By 11 years of age, 1 in 3 children in Merton are either overweight or obese with a similar picture seen across London. Signing the declaration shows the positive and proactive steps that Merton Council is taking to support families to be healthier.

Drafted by London charity Sustain, an alliance of organisations working together to improve the food available in London, the declaration requires councils to take significant actions to tackle unhealthy food and drink in their boroughs. Merton council leaders have committed to measures such as combating the advertising of unhealthy foods and improving the food available at public events and on our high streets.

As a result, for the first time, Merton Council’s Morden Fireworks events in November 2018 offered a greater variety of healthy alternatives for the public. The council will be reviewing its advertising policy to ensure that council-owned advertising supports healthy eating and will continue to work with its school meals suppliers to reduce the sugar in school meals. The council will also work with its internal caterers to deliver healthier food and drink options for staff members.

This year Merton Council will also launch a local “Sugar Smart” campaign that will focus on engaging local businesses, residents and organisations to pledge to take actions to reduce their sugar consumption.

The Leader of the Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “We want to ensure that children in Merton have a healthy start in life. Preventing obesity which later leads to chronic diseases is important to us. There is hidden sugar in everyday foods which we often miss unless we read the packaging, which is why we are working in collaboration with Sustain and local partners to ensure that we effectively create a healthier borough for everyone. Signing the declaration shows our commitment to tackling childhood obesity.”

Dr Dagmar Zeuner, Director of Public Health at Merton Council said: “Childhood obesity is a complex issue and there is no single solution. Therefore a preventative, whole systems approach is required, which recognises the influence of the places where we live, work and play on our health and well-being, as well as our individual behaviours and choices.”

Merton council is also supporting the national Change4Life campaign starting in January urging families to “Make a swap when you next shop” encouraging simple swaps to food and drink options that are lower in sugar.”

If you would like to cut back on the sugar you and your family are eating, why not visit Change4Life and start swapping some everyday items high in sugar for healthier options? The Change4Life website contains information about the free app Food Scanner, which you can download to help you know the sugar content of your food and to compare products.


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Motorists warned to keep clear of zigzag lines outside schools

2 January, 2019 - 09:14

Merton Council will be starting the new term by stepping up enforcement on motorists who stop on zigzag lines outside schools.

Following concerns from parents and residents about safety and air pollution, council enforcement officers will be using automatic number plate recognition, in addition to the mobile CCTV car that is already used, to enforce against motorists stopping on zigzag lines when the schools go back next week. 

Drivers caught stopping on zigzag lines are liable for a £110 penalty charge, which is reduced to £55 if paid within 14 days. Signs outside each school state what hours the keep clear restrictions are in force.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor Tobin Byers, said: “Motorists who stop on zigzag lines outside schools not only compromise the safety of other children and their parents who are trying to cross the road, but also increase air pollution around the school gates by leaving the engine running while they drop off or pick up passengers.

“We want to take this opportunity at the start of the new school term to step up enforcement to deter motorists from stopping on zigzag lines and to encourage more parents to walk their children to school rather than drive.”


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