Wandsworth and Merton councillors clash over Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium redevelopment

Councillors are at war over the future of one of London’s last greyhound tracks.

While proposals for either a new 11,000-seater football stadium and 602 homes or a new greyhound racing stadium are still being assessed, questions are being raised at what impact a football stadium would have on the area.

Wandsworth Council’s community services spokesman Councillor Jonathan Cook criticised the AFC Wimbledon proposal which he claimed had not responded to the public consultation.

He said: “Building a large football stadium and many hundreds of new homes here would certainly have an impact on the area and would inevitably lead to increased pressure on local transport infrastructure and other public services.

“Although these are revised and updated proposals for this site, many local people will still feel that the shortcomings that were evident in the previous set of plans have not been sufficiently addressed.”

Merton Council is responsible for determining the application and cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge, rebutted Councillor Cook’s claims.

He said: “Merton officers have worked closely with Wandsworth officers and TfL to address any issues over travel or transport in respect of this application.

“This includes particular considerations of whether the streets, bus services, tube and train services can carry the anticipated numbers of people that would live in or visit the site.”

Councillor Judge also stressed the level of preparation that had gone into the project to prevent any impact on schools.

He added: “Merton and Wandsworth officers have liaised on this site since 2012 to ensure that the anticipated numbers of school children that would be living on the site may be accommodated in existing and new school places in the area.”

Animal rights organisation PETA launched a petition back in February which racked up more than 15,000 signatures supporting AFC Wimbledon’s proposal in a bid to end ‘cruel’ greyhound racing.

Councillors in Merton will soon determine the planning application, with public feedback expected to be published in the next few months.

Image courtesy of sixten3 via YouTube, with thanks

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