Plans panned by residents’ groups

The Wimbledon Park Residents Association has been a major driver in efforts to ensure the development plans put forward for Plough Lane are being thoroughly tested rather than simply waved through (as we suspect certain Merton borough councillors had originally hoped).

But the WPRA is not Wimbledon’s only neighbourhood association to raise objections to the plans as submitted.

The following associations have also lodged their opposition to the scheme as it stands: The Wimbledon Society, Wimbledon East Hillside Residents Association, Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association.

That’s a fair old number of residents who, while not opposed in principle to AFC Wimbledon’s return to the borough, believe that the current application for 602 homes on a flood plain plus a 20,000-seat stadium is unacceptable.

Wimbledon East Hillside Residents’ Association (WEHRA) represents households to the north of  Wimbledon Station, including roads such as Gap Road, Leopold Road and Alexandra Road that lead to the stadium in Plough Lane. They conclude that the AFCW/Galliard Homes application as it stands is “seriously flawed”. Read their submission in full here

Their issues with it include:

  • conversion of light industrial land to residential will set a bad precedent for other similar sites and lead to unmanageable impacts on infrastructure
  • lack of green space in the housing development
  • insufficient measures to manage floodwater
  • misleading and inaccurate transport proposals
  • unacceptable extra pressures on parking in the vicinity of the development
  • lack of capacity on existing road network to cope with extra traffic
  • lack of public consultation on the future of the site.

The WEHRA says in its submission to Merton planners: “Local people were told at a Wimbledon Community Forum last year that the Stadium will be built on Plough Lane and it will be for football. Local homeowners and stakeholders have not taken part in an exploration of the many possibilities for the whole of Future Plough Lane; instead we have a fait accompli that may or may not be the best choice for this site… we have little confidence in this application with its long list of flaws.”

And so to The Wimbledon Society. More criticisms. Their submission on these plans is a pretty thorough analysis of the issues raised by the AFC Wimbledon application, and worth a read in full on that basis.

They summarise their comments under three headings: flooding issues, transport/parking and design.

FLOODING This is how the Wimbledon Society summarises the plans as they stand: “Marooning people in the high flats until flood water subsides, with a malfunctioning sewerage disposal system that has presumably been surcharged, and with their low level car parking full of floodwater, is a most unattractive proposition and emphasises the point… that the provision of housing on this site should not be accepted.”

TRANSPORT: Pedestrian ‘crush’ space at the stadium entrance is inadequate; pavements leading to local stations are not suitable for largescale crowds (have you ever tried walking down Summerstown, for example?); local stations have very limited capacity.

PARKING: Provision is poor for both residents and visitors and will lead to detriment for people living nearby.

DESIGN: The scale and height of proposed housing blocks is overbearing, being too large and high for the locality, as well as exceeding levels recommended in the London Plan, as highlighted by the GLA. Play facilities are limited, as highlighted by Sport England and the GLA, There are access issues, as highlighted by the GLA. The number of smaller households is contrary to policy for a site of this kind. Etc etc: the list goes on…

The Wimbledon Society concludes: “The Society has argued in the past that this is a site that should continue to provide a significant amount of leisure activity, but this scheme is not as it stands the way forward.”

Similar views come from the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association, who say “Everyone with a heart would wish to see AFC Wimbledon (the Wimbledon Dons) return to the borough from Kingsmeadow, Kingston. Obviously this has to be funded – but surely there is another way!”

They highlight traffic problems, flood risk and complain that housing density is “too many, too high and out of keeping with the surrounding area, and without the necessary infrastructure to support it”. Read their submission in full here

Is Merton Council ‘missing a trick’ with the Plough Lane development?