Fight to save Wimbledon greyhound stadium continues as decision day approaches


The council will decide what to do with the site on September 11.


By Thomas Paul

The man spearheading the bid to save Wimbledon greyhound stadium has issued a rallying call to punters to make their voices heard to Boris Johnson and Merton Council.

Irish businessman Paschal Taggart has made a £25 million bid to upgrade the existing stadium into a state-of-the-art greyhound racing facility. 

The council will decide between the two parties bidding to redevelop the site on September  11 – the alternative being a housing redevelopment and football stadium that will see AFC Wimbledon return to Plough Lane.

Widely credited for saving dog racing in Ireland, Taggart wants supporters of his plans not to be shy when it comes to getting their point across.

“The Mayor of London’s team have told us he wants to retain a greyhound stadium so it’s important that as many people as people as possible write to him.”

Despite 10,000 people signing a petition to save the track, the favourite to win the race for planning permission is venture capitalists and current stadium owners, Risk Capital.

Risk Capital bought the entire Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) in 2005, gaining four stadiums in total – Wimbledon, Perry Barr, Hall Green and Belle Vue.  

The ownership of the stadia is complex. Risk Capital financed the deal with a £50 million loan from a casualty of the recession, Irish Nationwide Bank.

Since its collapse in 2011, the bank’s debtors have been making their repayments to the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA).

This means that all bids must be approved by NAMA after Wimbledon Council has decided what can or can’t be built on the site.

In a further twist, the silent partner in Risk Capital’s original deal to buy the GRA and its partner in the new bid, property development company Galliard Homes, is also NAMA’s second biggest borrower with debts of €252 million. 

If their plan is approved, it would spell the end of the last greyhound racing stadium in London. There were 33 in the 1940s.

 Photo courtesy of saris0000, with thanks.

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