Mixed Reaction to Revised Wimbledon Tennis Plans

AELTC says it is increasing public access to green space in new design

A visualisation proposed green space at the northern entrance to the park
A visualisation proposed green space at the northern entrance to the park. Picture: AELTC

May 14, 2024

Updated plans for the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course have been published by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).

The new designs represent its attempt to move forward with proposals to develop a major tennis centre on the site.

It is now intending to create a new four-acre public parkland following consultation with the Greater London Authority. This would be located at the northern entrance to the site and would be adjacent to the entrance to the existing Wimbledon Park, owned and operated by Merton Council. There is an additional 23-acres of parkland already proposed in the southern part of the site, bordering Home Park Road. Campaigners against the proposal dispute AELTC’s claims about the size of the area available for public access saying areas such as the maintenance hub, staff car park and the nature reserve should be discounted.

AELTC says the proposed northern parkland will be accessible year-round, outside of the Qualifying Competition and The Championships. It will include new seating set within grasslands, areas of wildflower meadow, tree and woodland planting, and a pond. There will also be the opportunity to host small events – such as farmers markets and exhibition stall-type activities as well as leisure activities such as yoga and fitness classes. During the Qualifying Competition and The Championships, the northern parkland will be the gateway into the event for visitors approaching from Southfields.

AELTC is also proposing to enhance some of the community facilities in Wimbledon Park. Subject to planning permission being granted, it will provide a children’s playground, new public toilet facilities, new planting and an upgrade to the Watersports and Outdoor Centre, as well as new pathway links to both the northern and southern parklands.

Deborah Jevans CBE, Chair of the All England Club, said, “I am delighted that, following the many thousands of conversations we have had with local people about our plans, and working with the Greater London Authority, we are now able to propose even more green space for Londoners to enjoy, on land that has been inaccessible to the public for more than 100 years.

“Our overarching plans to transform the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course will deliver one of the greatest sporting transformations for London since the 2012 Olympics. We continue to be committed to delivering significant social and environmental improvements, as well as creating hundreds of jobs and generating millions of pounds in economic benefits.”

The Greater London Authority is consulting on AELTC’s plans and comments can be made on this link until 8 June. A date for a public hearing on the applications is due to be confirmed for the coming months.

An aerial view facing south of the proposed facilities. Picture: AELTC
An aerial view facing south of the proposed facilities. Picture: AELTC

Over 3,000 people have already commented and the Save Wimbledon Park Group is urging residents, particularly those from the Southfields area, to make updated comments on the revised proposals.

Iain Simpson, Chair, Save Wimbledon Park, said, “AELTC’s proposed minor modifications are extremely disappointing and change nothing. The area will still become exactly what we said three years ago – a huge industrial tennis complex. And for what is such an enormous development on protected land, the AELTC continue in failing to justify their specific needs for expansion. Wandsworth unanimously rejected the application for this very reason.

“These tiny amendments are an insult to the community AELTC claim to be part of. The park will still be used for set up and take down through the key summer months and public access will still be ‘permissive’. This means that they can close it at any time denying access to important open green space that is there for people’s recreation and well-being.

“The application, as it stands, would overturn all of the excellent promises that the mayor and assembly members have made only recently to preserve, amongst many issues, London’s open green spaces and their work to make our air cleaner, particularly around schools. This is a city wide issue and we continue to campaign on behalf of all Londoners.

The scheme includes an 8,000 seat show court
The scheme includes an 8,000 seat show court. Picture: AELTC

Updated documents on the proposals are available on the LB Merton and LB Wandsworth websites.

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