AELTC offer more parkland in Wimbledon expansion bid

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has announced plans to create a new four acre public parkland as part of its proposals to transform the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course.

This enhancement to the proposals comes following consultation with the Greater London Authority and an extensive public consultation period, which has seen more than 7,000 people attend one of the Club’s events since the planning applications were submitted in July 2021.

Wandsworth Council last year refused the club’s proposal to build an 8,000-seat stadium show court and 38 grass courts on Grade II-listed Wimbledon Park.

Wimbledon currently has 18 Championships grass courts, as well as 22 grass practice courts. The new courts would bring the club’s total up from 40 to 79 grass courts, almost doubling capacity for matches and allowing qualifying for The Championships to be held at the venue.

The proposals are now in the hands of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s office, which is currently assessing the plans. That decision now rests with the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Jules Pipe. Khan has personally recused himself following his prior support for the expansion effort. A decision is expected before the end of the year.

The proposed new parkland will 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.

This northern parkland will complement the 23-acre parkland already proposed in the southern part of the site, bordering Home Park Road. This will mean that, subject to planning permission being granted, there will be more than 27-acres of the former private members’ golf course open to the public to use as part of the successful delivery of the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project.

The proposed northern parkland will be accessible year-round, outside of the Qualifying Competition and The Championships. The intention is that this new parkland will greatly enhance the experience of visitors entering Wimbledon Park from Wimbledon Park Road. The northern parkland will include new seating set within grasslands, areas of wildflower meadow, tree and woodland planting, and a tranquil 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.

The All England Club also proposes to enhance some of the community facilities in the much-loved public Wimbledon Park.

Subject to planning permission being granted, the development will unlock a state-of-the-art children’s playground, new public toilet facilities, extensive 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.

Alongside this announcement, the All England Club has confirmed that the projected economic boost to London from The Championships will exceed £300 million, both through direct and indirect impacts, once the project is completed.

This is alongside the creation of more than 250 new jobs for The Championships, as well as many hundreds of jobs throughout the project’s construction phase.

New CGI images of the development have also been made available with a visualisation of the newly proposed northern parkland, as well as new views of the Parkland Show Court from both the former golf course and from Church Road.

Plans to bring the Qualifying Competition to SW19, and to create significant year-round community benefits, currently sit with the Mayor of London’s office.

The Greater London Authority has now opened a consultation on these enhancements to the scheme’s design, and this consultation will be open for 30 days. In the meantime, the Greater London Authority will continue its detailed examination of the proposals.

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