I understand that Merton Planning Application Committee will be deciding on the AELTC stadium proposals on May 11th and that Wandsworth Council may be discussing the proposals in its meeting on April 25th.
The application will be made public in the agenda on the website the week before the meeting, here.
The petition and more information about the campaign to Save Wimbledon Park and objection on environmental grounds is here.
Please do consider signing and sharing the petition. However, even more important at this stage is to contact the Councillors who will be making this decision.
a) if you live in Southfields or West Hill ward you can ask your councillors to attend the meeting and speak against it. Local residents, applicants (and MPs) are not allowed to speak to the meeting.
b) you can also write to the Wandsworth planning committee members to share your views on the application. Short emails in your own words are best. Their emails are below.
Points of objection that I will be re-iterating to committee members are:
- This is Metropolitan Open Land and allowing industrial scale development and no public access to the majority of the land goes against these protections and sets a very dangerous precedent for other protected spaces. AELTC have not made a convincing case for special circumstances which would balance the considerable loss of amenity for Wandsworth residents.
- The park has important heritage value with a rich history as the remaining part of a far larger park.
- The petition numbers show the high levels of local objection, but AELTC has ridden roughshod over this and not responded to residents’ concerns during the consultation period. The small area of park being handed for limited public access is no compensation for the considerable loss of amenity of losing a sizable part of Wimbledon Park to this development.
- The remaining open park is very small part of the overall site, will be closed to the public during May and June and could be built on in the future unless given over to an independent trust. AELTC has said that there are protections being negotiated with Merton but has never said what these will be despite being asked repeatedly by myself and residents in all of the consultations.
- The park is important and valued green space which we should be saving in a time of climate emergency, both Councils have declared a climate emergency and the environmental audit shows many areas in which this does not meet requirements. The proposals will result in increased air pollution, lack of biodiversity of the grass courts with 9km of tarmac and many small service buildings as well as the over-sized stadium and air pollution of the building works and transport.
- The park is next to a large area of housing estates without gardens in West Hill and access to parks is important for all residents, but especially for residents with little other green space.
- The land was sold to AELTC in 1993 with strict planning protections in the covenant agreement, and these proposals clearly contravene this agreement.
- The stadium is clearly over-development for this residential area and should be reduced.
- The option of a temporary timber stadium erected each year (there are similar venues around the world, included the Abba Voyage venue which will travel around the world) would be more environmentally sustainable.
- What financial compensation is being offered to Wandsworth residents, through the Council, for the loss of land, increased air pollution, and the disruption of the building and considerable damage to the roads in Wandsworth to be caused by lorries for the building works?
- The closure of Church Road will be longer under these proposals as the qualifiers will be included in an extended championship time. This severely inconveniences local residents and there has been strong feedback. But there have been no proposals to make the bridges over the road permanent instead of having a closure or other ways to mitigate the security concerns as well as responding to residents. Instead, the proposals are all on AELTCs terms and not local residents.
- Will AELTC provide for the upkeep and management of the community centre (currently the golf club house)?
- The travel plan is very poor, damaging to public parkland and too disruptive to Wandsworth residents. There will be thousands more visitors and for longer to include the qualifiers as well. But the plan is still to park on the ‘public’ land of the new Wimbledon Park area as well as to keep parking on the old part of Wimbledon Park which churns up all the grass, stops public use in the summer months
The Wandsworth Planning Application Committee members are: