New plans for Plough Lane?

Greyhound supremo Paschal Taggart seems to have taken heart from the Mayor of London’s decision to ‘call in’ AFC Wimbledon and Galliard Homes’ scheme to develop the Plough Lane stadium site – by putting together a new set of plans for the site himself.

The Wimbledon Guardian reports that Taggart is entering into talks with Merton Borough Council about a smaller scheme with a higher percentage of affordable housing than the paltry 9.6% offered by Galliard Homes against the council’s target of 40% affordable.

The new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was elected on a platform of affordable housing: he has said he wants developers to make 50% of new homes ‘affordable’. It remains to be seen how inclined he will be to approve the AFCW/Galliards plan with its mere nod towards housing that would be within the financial grasp of key workers such as the staff of nearby St George’s Hospital in his former Tooting constituency.

What is most mysterious about the whole Plough Lane development saga so far is that Merton’s Labour-ruled council appeared so eager to roll over and gratefully accept Galliards’ offer of less than a quarter of the amount of affordable housing clearly detailed in the council’s own policy.

By agreeing to fund AFC Wimbledon’s oversized (by its own account: since putting in its application for a 20,000-seat stadium, the club has already said it will initially build a facility with fewer than 10,000 seats) Plough Lane stadium ambitions to the tune of some £14million, one can only guess that the billionaire property company simply can’t pull back its profit margins any further to meet its borough obligations on affordable housing.

We’ve said it before, but will say it again: imagine if this planning application had been submitted by anyone other than AFCW. Would Merton Borough Council SERIOUSLY allow them to get away without meeting or least coming a lot closer to the affordable housing element that is their target?

Over to you, Mr Mayor.

Anyone wanting to put their views on the future of Plough Lane to Mayor Sadiq Khan before he makes a decision on the development can email him :