Plans to triple size of Wimbledon grounds in ambitious scheme to build 38 new courts including one with room for 8,000 seats will be considered by council
An ambitious plan to triple the size of Wimbledon’s groups, building 38 new grass courts and a 8,000 seat stadium, will be considered tonight by its local council.
Labour-run Merton Council are expected to give the greenlight to the project that would be see the All England Club’s grounds expand onto the disused Wimbledon Park Golf Course, after the club bought the site for £65million in 2018.
If given the go-ahead it would mean Wimbledon could hold qualifying tournaments on its grounds, rather than continuing to us the courts in Roehampton a couple of miles away.
Wimbledon chiefs anticipate the new courts, if approved will be ready for use by 2030, nine years on from when the plans were initially submitted.
It has not been plain sailing, however, with the expansion not going down well with some residents and a Save Wimbledon Park petition already has more than 13,000 signatures.
An ambitious plan to triple the size of Wimbledon’s groups, building 38 new grass courts and a 8,000 seat stadium, will be considered tonight by Merton Council
Wimbledon chiefs anticipate the new courts, if approved will be ready for use by 2030, nine years on from when the plans were initially submitted
While the council is expected to wave through the plans, the huge application will most likely be passed on to the London Mayor’s office and could even be challenged at a national government level.
There is also the possibility of a legal challenge centring around covenants which accompanied the original sale of the land in 1993.
Infuriated locals and conservation groups could also enter a separate legal challenge.
In outlining its plans, the All England Club said: ‘The AELTC seeks continually to ensure that the Championships, proudly a local and national asset, remains a world-leading sporting event.
‘Bringing the qualifying event on site in order to improve it to be worthy of our world-class player field, enhancing practice and junior event facilities and providing a third ‘show court’ are all measures aimed at ensuring Wimbledon remains the world’s premier tennis tournament, with all the associated substantial social and economic benefits that the event brings, locally and nationally.’
All England Club want to build 38 courts and a new 8,000-seat stadium on nearby golf course
Originally the All England Club hoped that its vision might become reality by the end of this decade, but with several hurdles still to be overcome any completion is now unlikely to happen until the 2030s
Earlier this month a 524-page document was published by the council concluding the expansion should be approved on the basis of ‘Very Special Circumstances’.
It weighed up the benefits of the project – including a 23-acre public park being created – against the drawbacks, such as the blemishes to the Capability Brown landscape.
Other factors considered were the £8.6million of enhancements that will be given to the Wimbledon Park area if passed through, with 500 tickets a day being offered to local at face value for the new stadium, dubbed ‘Parkland’.
At tonight’s meeting a Labour majority is expected to back the plan – while a few objections are expected from Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.
Coalition resident groups and other bodies will most likely voice their concerns over the development.
Originally the All England Club hoped that its vision might become reality by the end of this decade, but with several hurdles still to be overcome any completion is now unlikely to happen until the 2030s.
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