Prinate Eye, November 2023
Wimbledon fraught night
"Wimbledon fraught night: Wimbledon residents are drawing up battle plans following their local authority's decision to approve the All England Lawn Tennis Club's expansion into a local park (Eyes passim).
The scheme will see the club's estate triple in size, allowing it to host its qualifying tournament in the park, along with 8,000 more paying visitors and extra room for corporate hospitality at the existing site.
Followng a fraight five-hour meeting, Merton council's planning committee voted six to four in favour of the scheme, which will see the green-belt-protected, grade II*-listed land in Wimbledon Park trasformed into a major sporting venue with an 8,000-seat stadium, 38 tennis courts, player hubs, maintenance buildngs and 9km of pathways.
Local opposition to the scheme on the grounds of environmental dagamage and loss of open land was overruled in favour of the club's argument that the SW19 tournament will fall behind other majors if it cannot host its qualigying tournament on site"
Both local MPs - Conservative Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) and Labour's Fleur Anderson (Putney) - oppose the scheme. After the meeting Anderson said "I am deeply concerned at the precedent this sets not only for the development of Wimbledon Park itself, but other public, green spaces in the future. The decision was railroaded through the committee with very little time in the meeting given for local residents and councillors to put their case.
Wimbledon Park is covered by a strict covenant restricting it's use to leisure, recreation and open parkland that residents believe the club's development will break...."
...(see image for entire article).