However supportive you are of AFC Wimbledon’s wish to set up home in the borough, you can’t fail to recognise that the club’s planning application for Plough Lane is seriously flawed.
And that’s what Wandsworth Borough Council’s formal objection to the scheme, now lodged with Merton, represents. In registering its objection to the development plans as they stand, Wandsworth Borough Council rightly identifies that AFCW and Galliard Homes have submitted a substandard proposal.
The application fails on so many grounds that it would be irresponsible to approve it in its current form.
The football club has pledged to make “minor changes” to the application, but whether these will be sufficient to pass the project on planning grounds remains to be seen.
Wandsworth’s submission covers most of the areas that we and others have identified as problematic, specifically:
- “deep concern as to the impact of the development on the local highway and transport system“
- lack of information on issues including the impact of the plans on rail services, on Riverside Road (which the club wishes to use as an access road to the stadium), on St George’s Hospital emergency services, on parking locally, on pedestrian flows around the site etc etc. The list of gaps in information provided by the applicants goes on and on…
- how the plans will affect traffic in the area
- given its proximity, Wandsworth wishes to be involved in developing the Stadium Management Plan
- flood risk issues raised by the Environment Agency need to be resolved
- issues raised by NHS England regarding provision of healthcare services for the vast new housing development need to be resolved
- and so on….
This list of problems does not, however, mean that the site should not be regenerated. On the contrary, as Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Tooting Dan Watkins points out in his own submission to Merton planners, residents welcome the transformation of the current run-down stadium area.
But, as he writes: “there are strong concerns that the current proposals from Galliard Homes don’t go nearly far enough to provide the infrastructure and facilities needed to effectively accommodate a development of this size and nature.”
In other words, Galliard Homes are trying to push through a far-too-large development on the back of the sympathies of Merton Borough Council towards allowing AFC Wimbledon to establish a base in SW19.
Think about it like this: if the application was from any organisation other than AFC Wimbledon, would it pass the planning test?