Private Eye | 1-14 December 2023 | Ball Called Out
"The All England Club's ambitious scheme to expand into neighbouring Wimbledon Park has suffered a big setback after Wandsworth councillors voted 7-0 against the proposal.
The club wants to develop a new site on metropolitan open land for its qualifying tournamed (Eyes passim). It argues that unless it builds an 8,000 seater stadium and 39 tennis courts on the park, it will fall behind other grand slams.
Merton Council accepted the special circumstances and waved the application through. But Wandsworth shares the park with Merton and its own planning officers were less than impressed by Wimbledon's argument. They recommended refusal on the basis that the development would "cause substantial harm to the openness of metropolitan open land".
The decision has now been handed to the London mayor's office wich will decide shortly whether to kill off the plan or call it in for review. As Eye 1576 predicted, mayor Sadiq Khan is recusing himself from the decision after ill-advisedly expressing enthusiastic support for the expansion in an interview with Wimbledon's in-house TV channel. The decision will now rest with the deputy mayor for planning, Jules Pipe."