Wandsworth worries over stadium plans

Wandsworth councillors are sufficiently concerned about plans to demolish Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium and replace it with 602 homes and a football stadium for AFC Wimbledon that they defied advice from their planning officers and have lodged an official objection to the scheme.

The leader of Wandsworth BC Ravi Govindia has also written to the Mayor of London asking him to ‘call in’ the planning application, which is expected to go before Merton’s planning committee in April or May.

His letter echoes a plea to the Mayor of London by Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Tooting Dan Watkins, for the Plough Lane stadium plans to be decided centrally because of their cross-borough implications.

The club had originally expected the plans to be considered by Merton councillors in early spring, but the process has been delayed by a string of problems with the application, which have been highlighted by major statutory bodies. More about which agencies have objected and why

Now it looks likely that the application won’t be considered until April or even May.

So on what grounds have Wandsworth councillors objected to the 602-home, 20,000-seat stadium plans for Plough Lane?

Wandsworth not impressed with Plough Lane traffic plans

Infrastructure including traffic and transport are top of the list of concerns for the borough, which already suffers heavily congested roads (Tooting), packed overground (Earlsfield) and underground (Tooting) trains and is home to busy trauma hospital St George’s located just round the corner from Plough Lane.

The Wimbledon Guardian: Read more about Wandsworth councillors’ full list of objections and queries over the development

The effects of the development on parking in surrounding streets, the impact of road closures and the influx of large numbers of pedestrians at peak times are among other areas that councillors would like to see better addressed by the club before the application can be approved.

Meanwhile, AFC Wimbledon’s chief executive Erik Samuelson continues to give his impression of a man with his head buried in the sand, telling the local paper: “Councillor Govindia’s letter to the GLA basically says the principle is fine, they are looking for everything else to be responded to and we are in the process of doing so.”

Trouble is, Mr Samuelson, that ‘everything else’ is turning into an awful lot of things, isn’t it?

So far they include on- and off-site parking, cycle parking, flooding, lack of infrastructure, effects on traffic flow, pedestrian safety, public transport services, lack of community sports facilities, healthcare provision: all those elements you’d expect to have been covered fully in the original documents.

Can minor changes really fix all the issues with this application?