Lib Dems slam Wimbledon Park development project

The All England Lawn Tennis Club has been accused of showing contempt for Wimbledon residents by pressing ahead with a development on Wimbledon Park.

The club has broken its promise made to the local council and the people of Wimbledon, said local Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Kohler.

“When the council sold the freehold of the Wimbledon Golf Club site to the All England Club in 1993 they gave public assurances that they would never build on the land, backed up with a legally enforceable covenant,” Kohler told Merton council on 17 November.

The club’s plans to develop a 39.70-hectare site with an 8,000-seater stadium, 38 competition tennis courts and ten buildings have already provoked fierce opposition from The Wimbledon Society and more than a thousand residents.

The Wimbledon Society said: “Merton has revealed that it has received around 700 objections to the proposals and only 14 letters of support.

“Wandsworth Council’s website shows 530 letters of objection and only 16 letters of support.”

Eight years of construction would be disruptive to the community, including the re-routing of the 493 bus during tennis championships and the incorporation of Church road, a public highway, into a site application boundary.

Kohler said: “These plans would make a mockery of those assurances, ignore the wishes of local people and reward the All England Club’s greed and duplicity.”

He spoke strongly against what he saw as the club’s disregard for the environment and green spaces.

These developments are seen as a threat to biodiversity and an insult to Wimbledon residents.

“The All England Club is showing complete contempt for the people of Wimbledon,” said Kohler, who campaigned successfully against the closure of Wimbledon Police Station in 2018.

He added: “I am consequently calling on them [the council] to do the right thing and commit to enforcing the restrictive covenants and block this environmentally destructive overdevelopment.”

The club has rejected suggestions that its project will reduce public access to Wimbledon Park or pose significant social or environmental costs.

“The planning application does not include or propose any new development on the public Wimbledon Park, which is owned by Merton Council,” the club said.

“We take the importance of preserving the local environment and heritage very seriously.”

Environmental matters have taken on increasing significance since the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this year.

Pollution has become a huge issue in London and club’s plans would mean more coaches, more traffic and years of disruption from construction, say critics.

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D c
23 November 2021 1:27 pm

Eight years of construction would be disruptive to the community, including the re-routing of the 493 bus”
seriously? Do any of the people objecting ever use a bus? All this lib dem ever does is oppose change.

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