Lib Dems set to force showdown vote on All England Club development

Merton Liberal Democrat councillors who are leading the campaign against the All England Club’s plans to build a 10 storey stadium and 38 new courts on Wimbledon Park plotted a showdown vote at today’s (2 February) council meeting.

The councillors have tabled a motion calling on the Council to commit to enforcing the restrictive covenants it possesses which give it the power to prevent any building on Wimbledon Park.

Enforcing the covenants would ensure the All England Club’s proposals would be blocked even if its planning application is successful.

Simultaneously, Cllr Paul Kohler – the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary candidate for Wimbledon – presented a petition signed by more than a thousand local residents opposing the development plans, demonstrating the scale of support for the Liberal Democrats’ campaign to stop the development and save Wimbledon Park.

Speaking ahead of the council meeting, Cllr Kohler said: “The covenants enshrine in law the public assurances given by both the Council and the All England Club to preserve the Wimbledon Park land as green, open space for Wimbledon residents.

“Those residents have a right to expect that those promises be kept.

“When I asked the Labour cabinet member at our previous meeting to confirm the Council would enforce the covenants, he refused to give me a clear answer.

“As a result, my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I are proposing this motion to force the Labour administration’s hand.

“Wimbledon residents deserve councillors that stand up for them.

“I urge both Labour and Conservative councillors to back our motion and send a clear message to the All England Club that Wimbledon expects it to keep its word.

“The All England Club’s proposal would concrete over a significant amount of green space and would lead to the destruction of countless mature trees, all for the sake of courts that will only be used for a few weeks a year”, Cllr Kohler added.

“I support the Club’s ambition to bring the qualifying rounds of the Wimbledon Championships to SW19, but they can and must find a less environmentally destructive way to do so.”

Photo credit: Merton Liberal Democrats

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