Council agrees that creche and cafe can be dropped from stadium scheme
By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
As AFC Wimbledon’s return home draws closer, an update to the plans was heard this week.
The club left Plough Lane in 1991, first sharing Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace FC, before moving to Milton Keynes.
They were renamed Milton Keynes Dons but AFC Wimbledon was formed after ongoing support from dedicated Wimbledon fans. They are currently based in Kingston and set to move back to the town in 2020.
But on Thursday (March 21) Merton Council approved plans to drop a crèche from the development.
As well as brand new stadium on the site of the old greyhound stadium the development will include more than 600 new homes.
An amendment on the plans includes getting rid of a crèche and cafe as well as including 28 extra flats.
Objector, Sara Sharp, said that there is a need for more childcare provision in the Wimbledon Park ward.
She said: “Why is the council not asking the applicant to find another site for the crèche in the huge development?
“And why isn’t the council asking for the applicant to fund much needed childcare provision, if not on the development then, elsewhere?”
But Galliard Homes, the developer behind the new flats, said a crèche would not be commercially viable.
Philippa Dalton, on behalf of the company, said: “We have been out to talk to potential providers who have said this is not commercially sustainable.
“There are severe limitations of having a nursery and crèche within an operational football stadium with no outdoor dedicated play space.
“It also has very limited pick and drop off access for parents, so on that basis we have concluded it is not commercially sustainable and have removed it from the proposal.
“There are still assets of the scheme that are for the community to enjoy, there is a squash and fitness club there will be community uses of the stadium.”
She added that of the 28 additional flats provided, 20 would be affordable and delivered by Catalyst Housing.
Cllr David Dean said if the plans went ahead there should be a claw-back clause to get the developer to pay for the crèche.
He said: “I know a lot of weight was given to this crèche, I am surprised by this amazing about turn.
“A legally binding presentation was made and accepted by this planning committee and this council should be asking for the money to mitigate the legal promise that a crèche would be on this site.”
Cllr Dean wanted this to be a condition of approval but the amendments were given the green light without any conditions.
The greyhound stadium was demolished in December and AFC Wimbledon is expected to move into the stadium in time for the 2020/21 season. The first 114 homes on the site are set to be completed by 2021.
March 24, 2019