London mayor Sadiq Khan is allowing Merton Council the final say on plans by Wilson Owens Owens (WOO), Sheppard Robson and David Morley Architects for a new football stadium for AFC Wimbledon
In March Khan’s predecessor, Boris Johnson, called in the plans at Plough Lane for a 20,000-seat stadium – with an initially capacity of 11,000 – plus 602 homes built by Galliard Homes along with a crèche, café, squash and fitness club, car and coach parking.
But, following a consultation, Khan has handed the decision back to the council, which originally approved the plans in December last year.
Khan, said: ‘I have taken the time to consult local residents, businesses and other interested parties and, having weighed up all of the evidence available to me, I’m confident the stadium and the leisure facility proposed alongside it will be of great benefit to Londoners and the wider community for generations to come.
‘As such, I have decided to return the application to the local council to determine itself.’
The plans include the demolition of Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium and, if approved, would see AFC Wimbledon move to Plough Lane near the former home of Wimbledon FC, which moved to Milton Keynes in 2003 and was renamed MK Dons.
The proposed stadium would be 18m tall, while three residential blocks would range from six to 10 storeys and form a series of ‘stacking blocks’ based around taller ‘spine blocks’.
Khan’s U-turn has angered Merton’s neighbouring borough, Wandsworth Council, which claims the arena and new homes will put huge pressure on the area’s transport network ‘with increased traffic congestion and more passengers accessing local rail services, especially at the already busy and crowded Earlsfield Station’.
Councillor Sarah McDermott, Wandsworth Council’s planning committee chairman, said: ‘This is a bitter disappointment for Earlsfield and Tooting residents, who will bear the brunt of this excessive development. The Mayor openly opposed this scheme when he was MP for Tooting, so it’s hard to understand why he’s now cheering for its “great benefits”.
‘This is a bitter disappointment’
’Nothing has changed and it certainly doesn’t meet his mayoral planning policies on air quality or affordable housing. The impacts on our schools, healthcare and transport network will be very difficult to manage and we feel badly let-down.’