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The Standard: Campaigners Confident of Blocking Wimbledon Expansion Despite Early Blow

"Campaigners Confident of Blocking Wimbledon Expansion Despite Early Blow"

The Standard: Campaigners confident of blocking Wimbledon expansion despite early blow

"Opponents of Wimbledon’s ambitious expansion plans are confident they can still block them from going through despite effectively losing round one to the All England Club.

On Monday, planning officers recommended Merton Council’s planning committee grant permission for an 8,000-seater show court and 38 other grass courts on the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course.

But campaigners say they are “ready for the next stage of the fight” in what looks set to continue to be a protracted dispute.

Merton councillors will vote on the proposal at a meeting on the evening of Thursday, October 26 with Wandsworth Council, whose boundaries also cover part of the site, set to also rule on it next month."

The matter would then be referred to London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority, with arguments not just over planning but covenants regarding the site and the legality of the expansion project.

Following the planning recommendation, Iain Simpson, chair of Save Wimbledon Park, said: “We are disappointed but not surprised by the report. We believe that common sense in the long run will prevail because all the objections we have made over the last two-and-a-half years are valid.

“To say that there will be ‘no significant adverse effects’ is extraordinary when they plan to flatten and bulldoze most of what is actually a 75-acre area when it is a grade one site of borough importance for nature conservation.

“This is a planning assessment only and separate permission will be needed to resolve ownership and rights before any development can or will proceed. This is only the beginning and we are ready for the next stage of the fight.”

There are a variety of objections ranging from its environmental impact to fears that the proposed show court could be used for events outside of the Wimbledon fortnight."


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