AFC Wimbledon close in on Plough Lane return as Sadiq Khan returns stadium decision to Merton Council
AFC Wimbledon’s relocation back to Plough Lane looks set to be rubber-stamped after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan returned the planning application back to Merton Borough Council.
The initial application for an 11,000-seater stadium on the site next to their former home was granted by the council in December 2015, but then London Mayor Boris Johnson called it in for review.
Mr Khan, who took over from Mr Johnson in May, has since reversed that decision though and has handed the power back to Merton, meaning it should get the final seal of approval at their next planning committee meeting on September 15.
AFC Wimbledon formed as a phoenix club in 2002 following the relocation and eventual renaming of Wimbledon (now MK Dons) and play their home games at Kingsmeadow Stadium in Kingston.
However, a quick rise through the leagues sees them compete in League One this year and chief-executive Erik Samuelson said they have outgrown their current home, leading to the plans to return to their ‘spiritual home’ in Plough Lane more than 25 years after they left.
The site of Wimbledon’s old ground – which they had to leave in 1991 after the Taylor Act adjudged Premier League clubs had to play in all-seated stadiums – is now a housing estate but the greyhound stadium next door was seen as the best option.
The run-down stadium is in need of a rejuvenation and has been the subject of other applications, but it seems Wimbledon long-awaited dream to return home will soon become a reality.