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Wimbledon Expansion Rejected by Council's Refusal!

Posted by Admin on 8th Jun 2024

Wimbledon Expansion Rejected by Council's Refusal

Wandsworth Rejects Wimbledon's Expansion Plans!

November 21, LONDON -- The London Borough of Wandsworth on Tuesday rejected planning approval for a significant extension. The decision disappointed representatives of the All England Tennis Club, the organisation that stages Wimbledon.

To stay competitive with the other three grand slam events in New York, Paris, and Melbourne. The All England Club (AELTC), which hosts the Wimbledon Championships annually, plans to construct 38 new courts and an 8,000-seat stadium. First, it was approved by the London Borough of Merton, but Wandsworth's planning committee rejected it. The London Mayor's office will now examine the decision.

Wandsworth only oversees a minor portion of the AELTC's plans. Still, both councils had to approve the ambitious goals for them to proceed.

The All England Club's chief executive, Sally Bolton, said, "Naturally, we are disappointed by the London Borough of Wandsworth's decision. Our proposals will deliver one of the greatest sporting transformations for London since 2012, alongside substantial benefits for the local community."

The planning officials for Wandsworth suggested earlier this month that council members oppose the building because it would "cause substantial harm to the openness of metropolitan open land."

The decision was confirmed by a post from the London Borough of Wandsworth on X, formerly Twitter, which read, "Wandsworth's planning committee votes to refuse Wimbledon tennis expansion plans."

On Tuesday, a sizable group of protesters gathered in front of Wandsworth Town Hall as the council members debated.

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Environmental organisations and locals had also voiced concern. With approximately 14,000 people signing a petition to halt the proposals, which called for removing 300 trees. Although the AELTC stated that more than 1,000 trees would be planted.

Over the last twenty years, the All England Club has undergone a complete makeover of its facilities. However, one of the driving forces behind this expansion has been the requirement that the Wimbledon qualifying tournament be held off-site, many kilometres away. Wimbledon Park Golf Club members approved the AELTC's 65 million pound bid in 2018.

The tennis club claims that public land will be restored by going ahead with its development plans.

"We firmly believe the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project offers significant social, economic, and environmental improvements, including turning 23 acres of previously private land into a new public park, alongside hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of pounds in economic benefits for our neighbours in Wandsworth, Merton and across London," Sally Bolton updated.

"Given the split council decision, with the London Borough of Merton resolving to approve our application last month, our planning application will now be referred to the Mayor of London's office for consideration."

The Wimbledon-based lawmaker Stephen Hammond expressed satisfaction that Wandsworth had rejected the Wimbledon expansion idea. He said, "I think this application is too big and very difficult to justify," according to the Daily Mail. "It is not clear that you need the 39 courts, it is not clear that they need to build the size of the show court they are talking about, and it is not clear that they have thought about building in the public park."

One thing is sure: neither side will give up easily.

There will be an election soon, in October 2024. Still, preferably in January 2025, even if this is a long-term project and Wimbledon isn't expecting an easy way out. Since the Secretary of State for Leveling Up, Housing, and Communities has the authority to "recover" the case and make the final decision. A change of government is expected, with Labour leading the polls by a wide margin.

Due to the national importance of their event, contrasting with perceived local opposition ("NIMBYism"). The club trusts that decisions made higher up favor their cause. Yet, this influence might be temporary or subject to potential government changes after nearly a decade.