All England Club announces planned expansion will be public parkland

The GLA is currently examining the controversial proposals ahead of a public hearing.

Eleanor Crooks
Thursday 09 May 2024 21:36 BST
A CGI image of the new public parkland proposed by the All England Club (Allies & Morrison/AELTC)
A CGI image of the new public parkland proposed by the All England Club (Allies & Morrison/AELTC)

The All England Club has announced more of its planned expansion will be public parkland as it awaits a decision from the Greater London Authority.

The controversial plans, which were submitted to local authorities nearly three years ago, would see the size of Wimbledon’s grounds almost triple in size if approved.

They include a new 8,000-seat stadium and 38 other courts on land previously used by Wimbledon Golf Club, but there has been vocal opposition from some local residents and the area’s two MPs.

Merton Council eventually approved the proposal but Wandsworth Council, under whose jurisdiction a small part of the land sits, rejected it and in January the Mayor of London’s office took charge of the decision.

Central to the All England Club’s efforts to win over local residents has been the inclusion of public parkland, and on Thursday it announced that an extra four acres has been added in the northern part of the site, increasing the total to 27 acres.

Chair Debbie Jevans said: “I am delighted that, following the many thousands of conversations we have had with local people about our plans, and working with the Greater London Authority, we are now able to propose even more green space for Londoners to enjoy, on land that has been inaccessible to the public for more than 100 years.

“We continue to be committed to delivering significant social and environmental improvements, as well as creating hundreds of jobs and generating millions of pounds in economic benefits.”

The news was met with derision by the Save Wimbledon Park group, with chair Iain Simpson saying in a statement: “AELTC’s proposed minor modifications are extremely disappointing and change nothing. The area will still become exactly what we said three years ago – a huge industrial tennis complex.

“These tiny amendments are an insult to the community AELTC claim to be part of.”

Wimbledon organisers had initially hoped that the project, which would enable the qualifying competition to be held on site rather than at nearby Roehampton, could be completed by 2030, but the lengthy administrative process means that will now be pushed back.

The club’s statement concluded: “We look forward to confirmation of a date for a public hearing on our applications in the coming months.”

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