The proposed expansion of London’s landmark lawn tennis venue has met with strong local opposition, explains hgh Assistant Planner, Ella Payne.
It is no secret that the road to receiving planning permission can be a long and treacherous one, especially in London. When faced with conflicting forces of environmental policy, the need to encourage business growth and tourism, amidst neighbouring residents and businesses, you can imagine the decade-long battle faced by such applications. From the Mayor’s ‘green infrastructure’ goals to making sure that the views of the community are heard, a strong economic argument doesn’t alway cut it.
The controversial All England Lawn Tennis Clubs (AELTC) Wimbledon Park Project, a core component of the Estate Master Plan, was granted permission this month by Merton Council’s planning committee for 39 new courts to be built over the road on the former site of Wimbledon Park Golf Club.
The AELTC states that this application has two fundamental objectives:
- To maintain The Championships at the pinnacle of the sport; and
- To provide year-round significant public benefit to the local community
Even though Merton Council voted six to four in favour of the scheme in a lengthy meeting on Thursday the 26th of October, with some praising the scheme for its economic benefits, many have shown far less support, stating that it has unacceptable environmental impact, even with the proposed new 23-acre public park.
The 894 objections that Merton council received in response to the proposal covered a range of concerns about the neighbourhood impact; from the predicted 6-year construction period to the extra spectators and planned road closures during The Championships.
However, there is hope for those who oppose, as the battle is far from over. The AELTC still has hurdles to overcome, as the application must now be approved by Wandsworth Council and the Mayor of London.