Wimbledon expansion plan derailed | The Express Tribune


Wimbledon’s expansion plans have suffered a significant blow after a local council rejected their proposal to build new tennis courts on land near the All England Club.

Wandsworth councillors voted unanimously to snub the proposal for 39 new courts in neighbouring Wimbledon Park in south-west London.

The seven councillors acted upon the advice of their planning chiefs despite Merton Council, in which the majority of the site is located, approving it last month.

The application will now be referred to the Mayor of London’s office and the All England Club remains hopeful that it will still be given the green light despite fierce resistance from some local residents.

All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said in a statement: “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.

“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.

“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 application from the grass-court Grand Slam included an 8,000-capacity show court on land previously occupied by Wimbledon golf course.

The expansion would have allowed Wimbledon’s qualifying tournament to take place on site.

That would be in line with the other three Grand Slams, with Wimbledon’s qualifying event held over three miles away in Roehampton at present.

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