Dons Unveil Plans To Move Back Home

Wimbledon's ground vision on Greyhound Stadium site

AFC Wimbledon have submitted ambitious plans to build a new ground on the Greyhound Stadium site in Plough Lane.

The building of the 11,000 capacity stadium, set to grow to 20,000, would see the club finally return to their traditional home.

Outline plans to build a stadium on the greyhound site in Plough Lane have been submitted to Merton Council as part of the council's "call for sites" process, which will end with all development sites in the borough being given a designation for how they should be used.

AFC Wimbledon is working with Galliard Homes to win approval for the greyhound stadium site to be designated for use as a football stadium.

Key features of the joint submission are:

·   An 11,000 capacity, purpose-built stadium with the flexibility to expand in stages to 20,000, matching the club’s growth and development on and off the pitch.

·   Extensive banqueting and conference facilities, providing significant additional revenue for the club.

·   Approximately 600 residential units.

·   A wide range of shops and community facilities.

Constructing the first phase of the stadium is expected to cost in the region of £16m. Funds will be raised through a combination of naming rights for the new stadium, a Community Share issue and funds from enabling development.

Club Chief Executive Erik Samuelson said: "There is a long way to go before our plans become a reality. Before we can submit a planning application, there are two significant hurdles that must be overcome. First, we must win the support of Merton Council for our proposal that the site should be developed as a football stadium. Second, the designation must be reviewed and approved by an independent inspector. The review will cover all the sites in Merton and it is likely that the result won’t be known until about March 2014.

"If we get the green light on those two matters we will then submit a formal planning application in the spring, which could take many months to be approved. Even with a fair wind, it could take at least two years after that before work could begin on site.

"Remember, too, that the process is highly competitive, with rival plans being submitted for a new greyhound stadium to be built on the site, with adjoining residential and retail development.

"AFC Wimbledon is a community-owned club. We are making a powerful case for transforming a dilapidated area into a stadium that will be at the heart of our community. As we explain in our submission, since our formation in 2002, we have been actively involved in Merton in an astonishingly wide range of activities, despite being based in Kingston upon Thames.

"Re-locating to the area we represent provides an outstanding opportunity for us to increase and extend this involvement many times over. Everyone who knows us recognises that, as a community-owned club, we are run in a prudent and sustainable way and the business case that supports our proposals is strong and robust."  

The club said it will be shortly presenting its plans in more detail.   

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September 20, 2013

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