Campaigners brand Wimbledon's revised expansion plans 'an insult'

Campaigners brand Wimbledon's revised expansion plans 'an insult'

Anti-expansion campaigners have branded Wimbledon’s revised plans an “insult” to the local community.

It was revealed yesterday that the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club had made changes to its multi-million pound expansion, which includes 39 additional tennis courts, including an 8,000-seater show court.

Under the revisions, the club said it had offered up four more acres of parkland accessible to the public, taking that to 27 acres, as the Greater London Authority mulls over the proposal, permission for which was granted by Merton Council but rejected by Wandsworth Council.

Iain Simpson, chair of campaign group Save Wimbledon Park said: “AELTC’s proposed minor modifications are extremely disappointing and change nothing. The area will still become exactly what we said three years ago – a huge industrial tennis complex. And for what is such an enormous development on protected land, the AELTC continue in failing to justify their specific needs for expansion.

“These tiny amendments are an insult to the community AELTC claim to be part of. The park will still be used for set-up and take through the key summer months and public access will still be ‘permissive’. This means that they can close it at any time denying access to important open green space that is there for people’s recreation and wellbeing.

“The application, as it stands, would overturn all of the excellent promises the mayor and assembly members have made only recently to preserve, among many issues, London’s open green spaces and their work to make our air cleaner, particularly around schools. This is a city-wide issue and we continue to campaign on behalf of all Londoners.”

Artist rendering of the original Wimbledon expansion plans (ALLIES AND MORRISON/AELTC)
Artist rendering of the original Wimbledon expansion plans (ALLIES AND MORRISON/AELTC)

The revised plans were announced by the Greater London Authority, which is expected to make a decision over land on the former site of Wimbledon Park Golf Course in the wake of this summer’s Wimbledon championships.

AELTC chair Debbie Jevans said: “I am delighted that we are now proposing even more green space for Londoners to enjoy, on land that has been inaccessible to the public for more than 100 years.

“Our plans to transform the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course will deliver one of the greatest sporting transformations for London since the 2012 Olympics.

“We are committed to delivering significant social and environmental improvements, as well as creating hundreds of jobs and generating millions of pounds in economic benefits.”