What to do next?

If you’re unhappy about Merton’s decision to give planning approval for AFC Wimbledon’s 20,000-seat stadium with enabling development of 602 homes, you have a number of options for voicing your views.

  1. If you are a stock racing enthusiast, upset at losing your base in Plough Lane when the greyhound stadium is bulldozed,  there’s a petition you can sign. More than 2,000 people signed within a day of it being launched. Add your name here:  https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-mayor-of-london-save-wimbledon-stadium-stock-car-racing-in-london
  2. If you’re worried about the volte face over flood categorisation by the Environment Agency (a revised report from the EA was apparently available to planners and applicants as long ago as June, although its existence was not announced nor was it issued for public scrutiny), you could write to the Environment Agency stating your concerns. Email address is enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk  Case no is 151215/ER08 ‘floodplain categorisation of Plough Lane site’. You might want to ask whether climate change and recent flooding in Cumbria are going to lead to another recategorisation of floodplains across the country. You might want to know why the revised Plough Lane report was kept under wraps.
  3. Let your local councillors know if you are unhappy with the way the case was dealt with by the Merton Planning department. We felt the officer introducing the application at Thursday’s hearing effectively promoted it on behalf of the applicants rather than presenting it in a neutral manner. If this is how officers behaved behind the scenes while the development was being evaluated, we worry that insufficient scrutiny was applied.
  4. If you feel that procedures were improperly followed, complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. You might feel that predetermination was an issue, that certain decisions were made behind closed doors, that the council behaved improperly (eg ‘letter-gate‘), perhaps that councillors with links to AFC Wimbledon failed to declare an interest before the application was heard, or that including an extra letter purporting to be from the Wimbledon Park Residents Association in the final officers’ report was a deliberate act (as believed by one influential AFCW supporters’ blog) etc etc. You can find out how to go about approaching the Local Government Ombudsman here.
  5. The size and nature of the Plough Lane development means it has to  be ratified by the Mayor’s office before approval is 100% decided. Share your views with your Greater London Authority representative. For Merton and Wandsworth, this is Richard Tracey: richard.tracey@london.gov.uk

Anyone got more ideas or information: please get in touch! Twitter @SW19Stadium