The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s plans to build a new 8,000-seater stadium in Wimbledon could be scuppered after council officials recommended rejecting it.
The AELTC’s plans for the stadium in Wimbledon Park will be heard before Wandsworth’s planning committee on Tuesday night, but officials have recommended the stadium be rejected.
Merton Council’s planning committee has agreed to the project but Wandsworth Council also needs to vote on the plans for 38 grass tennis courts as well as an 8,000-seater showcourt as it crosses into their area.
Wandsworth officials say the new stadium would “cause substantial harm to the openness of metropolitan open land”, and that tripling the size of the tennis championship grounds to 46 hectares is not justified.
However, the All England club argues it needs the space to make sure that the Wimbledon grand slam remains “the world’s premier tennis tournament”.
The club said in a statement: “We are surprised that planning officers at the London Borough of Wandsworth have recommended refusal of the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project, particularly after the London Borough of Merton resolved to approve the application following extensive analysis and debate both in their officers’ report and at the planning committee.
“We regret that Wandsworth’s officers have taken a different view but it is for councillors on the planning applications committee to make their own considered decision at the meeting at November 21.
“We firmly believe the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project will deliver substantial social, economic and environmental benefits including 23 acres of newly accessible green space alongside hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of pounds in economic benefits for our neighbours in Wandsworth, Merton and across London.”
Critics argue that the park should be left as an open space, with MP Fleur Anderson, who represents Putney, Southfields and Roehampton, among those hitting out the plans.
Demonstrators are planning a protest outside the planning meeting due to be held at 7.30pm on Tuesday.
Nearly 16,000 people have signed a petition to “save Wimbledon Park” which argues that “development on this scale is unjustified” for the Grade II-listed park.