Wimbledon hit by ANOTHER delay to planned growth after council meeting is postponed

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Wimbledon hit by ANOTHER delay to planned growth after council meeting is postponed… with 38-court expansion onto neighbouring golf course set to drag on until after 2023 tournament in July

  • Wimbledon is facing yet another delay to its major 38-court expansion plans 
  • The latest planning meeting involving the local councils has been postponed 
  • It seems likely the situation will not be resolved before 2023 tournament in July

Wimbledon is facing yet another delay to its major expansion plans onto a neighbouring former golf course after its latest planning meeting involving local councils was postponed.

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And it now seems likely that arguments to secure permission to build 38 new courts, including a stadium, will not be heard until after The Championships take place in the first half of July.

The application process is already around eighteen months behind schedule, and it is now nearly four and a half years since the All England Club bought out the lease of the adjacent Wimbledon Park Golf Club at a cost of £65million.

It had been envisaged that the long-running saga would reach a significant point next week with Merton Council’s planning committee expected to formally meet to consider the plans.

However, that has been put back again, and it is already said to be highly unlikely that a proposed alternative date in May will be realistic.

Wimbledon is facing another delay to its major expansion plans onto a former golf course

Wimbledon is facing another delay to its major expansion plans onto a former golf course

It is nearly four and a half years since the All England Club bought out the lease of the adjacent Wimbledon Park Golf Club for £65million, with the application 18 months behind schedule

It is nearly four and a half years since the All England Club bought out the lease of the adjacent Wimbledon Park Golf Club for £65million, with the application 18 months behind schedule

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It now seems likely that arguments to secure permission to build 38 new courts, including a stadium, will not be heard until after The Championships take place in the first half of July

It now seems likely that arguments to secure permission to build 38 new courts, including a stadium, will not be heard until after The Championships take place in the first half of July

With the tournament and all its organisational demands fast approaching after that, another Championships could well come and go without a resolution.

The odds remain that Wimbledon, with its huge national significance and deep pockets, will eventually get the go-ahead at council level, with the controlling Labour group broadly supportive. 

But the scale of the project means that it will almost certainly be passed on to the London Mayor’s office and the Planning Inspectorate.

There is also significant opposition around the SW19 postcode, and objectors have collected more than 10,000 signatures on a petition protesting against the plans.

The All England Club point to the many community benefits in the plans, and insist that the scheme, which will now not be completed until the 2030s, is necessary to maintain its status at the top of world tennis.

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The application involves huge volumes of paperwork and several highly complex legal arguments, especially relating to a covenant on the land, which was purchased in 1993. There are different positions on how much development that should permit.

A spokesperson for the AELTC said: ‘We are continuing to follow the agreed planning process required of all applicants and are engaging positively with the planning officers at Merton and Wandsworth Councils. 

‘We believe these proposals offer a once in a generation opportunity to both secure the future of The Championships and unlock significant benefits for our neighbours, including a major new community park for London.’

Novak Djokovic (left) defeated Nick Kyrgios (right) in the men's singles final at SW19 in 2022

Novak Djokovic (left) defeated Nick Kyrgios (right) in the men’s singles final at SW19 in 2022

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