HomeEuropeSetback for Wimbledon Park expansion plans as Councillors reject proposal

Setback for Wimbledon Park expansion plans as Councillors reject proposal

Setback for Wimbledon Park expansion plans as Councillors reject proposal

Wimbledon’s ambitious expansion plans have encountered a significant setback as Wandsworth councillors voted unanimously against the proposed addition of 38 new courts in the adjacent Wimbledon Park.

This decision, influenced by the guidance of planning chiefs, comes despite the recent approval of the majority of the site by Merton Council.

The application’s rejection by Wandsworth councillors prompts the next steps to involve a referral to the Mayor of London’s office. The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) remains optimistic about securing approval for the project, emphasising the potential benefits it holds for the local community.

Sally Bolton, Chief Executive of AELTC, expressed disappointment in a statement, noting, “Naturally, we are disappointed by the London Borough of Wandsworth’s decision.”

“Our proposals will deliver one of the greatest sporting transformations for London since 2012, alongside substantial benefits for the local community.

“We firmly believe the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project offers significant social, economic and environmental improvements, including turning 23 acres of previously private land into a new public park, alongside hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of pounds in economic benefits for our neighbours in Wandsworth, Merton and across London.

“Given the split council decision, with the London Borough of Merton resolving to approve our application last month, our planning application will now be referred to the Mayor of London’s office for consideration.”

The AELTC’s proposal featured plans for an 8,000-capacity show court on the former Wimbledon golf course land. However, it faced opposition from some local residents, and Wandsworth’s planning officers, in line with recommendations from last week, rejected the proposal.

The officers concluded that there were not sufficient “very special circumstances” to outweigh the perceived harm and loss of open land.

The outcome was welcomed by the pressure group Save Wimbledon Park (SWP), whose members have been actively campaigning against the expansion.

SWP Chairman Iain Simpson acknowledged the ongoing process but expressed satisfaction, stating, “This result is very heartening. The councillors unanimously recognised the crucial point that this application provides no justification for so much harm to metropolitan open land, our precious green belt.”

The decision has left the future of Wimbledon Park and its potential transformation very much up in the air.

Image credit: Spiralz

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