AFC Wimbledon chief executive defends stadium application in letter to Tooting MP

AFC Wimbledon’s chief executive is defending the club’s plans for a new Merton stadium after criticism from Tooting MP Sadiq Khan.

Last week Mr Khan wrote to the club urging them to review their application for a new 20,000-seat Plough Lane stadium – near the border of Merton and Wandsworth – in light of Wandsworth Council’s planning application committee objections.

But Erik Samuelson today published the letter he wrote to Mr Khan in response, in which he reveals Wandsworth’s decision to object was contrary to the professional advice of their officers.

He does though also admit there were some valid concerns that the club are looking to resolve.

He wrote: “They however highlighted various transport issues, particularly related to parking and highways which need further assessment and explanation.

“We are in active discussions with TfL and the highways departments of Merton and Wandsworth and expect to fully address these outstanding concerns.”

The letter goes on to state that no final decision will be made until discussions with all relevant parties have been conducted.

In his letter dated February 19, Mr Khan also conveyed concerns about the application among members of his constituents.

He wrote: “There are serious concerns amongst some local residents about the impact a development of this proposed size will have on the community.”

Mr Samuelson tackled that issue by highlighting the fact the club circulated 18,000 leaflets to Merton and Wandsworth residents and held three public exhibitions last summer.

Merton Council even extended its statutory consultation period to seven weeks from the usual three, as well as holding a forum in each borough.

Mr Samuelson’s letter reads that the consultation yielded 6,000 letters in response, 90% of which supported the application, and more than 2,500 came from residents of Merton and Wandsworth, mirroring figures from consultations undertaken prior to the application’s submission.

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