May 24, 2024

The All England Club announces that the planned expansion will be public gardens

The All England Club has announced that more of its planned expansions will be public parks as it awaits a decision from the Greater London Authority.

The controversial plans, which were submitted to local authorities nearly three years ago, would almost triple the size of Wimbledon’s courts if approved.

It includes a new 8,000-seat course and 38 other courses on land previously used by Wimbledon Golf Club, but there has been strong opposition from some local residents and MPs in the area.

An image showing the proposed new parks

Image showing the proposed new public parks (Allies & Morrison/AELTC)

Merton Council eventually approved the proposal, but Wandsworth Council, under whose jurisdiction a small portion of the land falls, rejected it, and in January the Mayor of London’s office took charge of the decision.

One of the All England Club’s most significant efforts to attract local residents has been the inclusion of public gardens, and it announced on Thursday that an additional four acres had been added on the northern part of the site, bringing the total to 27 acres.

Chairwoman Debbie Jevans said: “I am delighted that after thousands of conversations with local people about our plans, and working with the Greater London Authority, we are now able to propose more green spaces for Londoners to enjoy, on land that the public has not had access to for over 100 years.

CGI image of the proposed new display courtCGI image of the proposed new display court

CGI image of the proposed new display court (Allies & Morrison/AELTC)

“We continue our commitment to delivering significant social and environmental improvements, as well as creating hundreds of jobs and generating millions of pounds of economic benefits.”

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The news was met with ridicule by the Save Wimbledon Park group, with chairman Ian Simpson saying in a statement: “The minor adjustments proposed by the AELTC are very disappointing and change nothing. The area will remain exactly as we said it was three years ago – a huge tennis industrial complex.”

“These small adjustments are an insult to the community of which AELTC claims to be a part.”

Wimbledon organizers had initially hoped the project, which would enable qualifying to be held on site rather than in nearby Roehampton, would be completed by 2030, but a lengthy administrative process means it will now be postponed.

The club statement concluded: “We look forward to confirming the date of the public hearing on our applications in the coming months.”