A visualisation of the show court planned as part of the scheme. Picture: AELTC
November 14, 2023
Controversial plans by the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) to build new tennis facilities and a stadium on Wimbledon Park have received a major setback.
Planning officers at Wandsworth Council have prepared a report for councillors recommending that they reject the planning application. The planning committee is due to consider the scheme on 21 November after Merton’s equivalent body had given the green light to it earlier this month.
The proposal is for a 8,000 capacity show court and 38 grass tennis court on land which is currently a golf course and is spread across the borders of the two local authority areas.
The conclusions of the Wandsworth report were welcomed with delight by those campaigning against the plan including Putney MP Fleur Anderson. She said, “I am delighted that Wandsworth Council planning officers have recommended that the AELTC proposals for Wimbledon Park be refused.
“Wimbledon Park is protected, Grade II listed Metropolitan Open Land. This means that ‘very special circumstances’ must be proved for it to be built on.
“Wandsworth Council planning officers have not found that these ‘very special circumstances’ exist and so have recommended the plans be refused. The campaign continues. Our precious green space must be defended. But this is a very positive step in the right direction.”
In a statement responding to the report AELTC said, “We are surprised that planning officers at the London Borough of Wandsworth have recommended refusal of the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project, particularly after the London Borough of Merton resolved to approve the application following extensive analysis and debate both in their officers’ report and at the planning committee.
“We regret that Wandsworth’s officers have taken a different view but it is for councillors on the planning applications committee to make their own considered decision at the meeting at November 21.
“We firmly believe the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project will deliver substantial social, economic and environmental benefits including 23 acres of newly accessible green space alongside hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of pounds in economic benefits for our neighbours in Wandsworth, Merton and across London.”
The decisions made by both Wandsworth and Merton, even if they have reached different conclusions, will then need to be considered by the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority.
A public meeting on the scheme is taking place at St Michael’s Church, 71 Wimbledon Park Road, Southfields (SW18 5TT) on Tuesday 14 November at 7.30pm.
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