1. TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT
Plough Lane is among the most congested, heavily air polluted spots in Merton. Galliard Homes/AFC Wimbledon plans for the stadium site do nothing to improve the situation, in fact they will make it worse. Why has this issue not been addressed? Why is Merton Council ignoring the issue rather than using redevelopment of the site to make things better for users and residents of the area?
Recent poor weather has highlighted the fact that Plough Lane floods: twice in a fortnight, with the second flood coming after a concerted effort by the council to clear drains. It’s a groundwater issue, and displacing underground water facilities with the proposed development will undoubtedly make things worse. The Environment Agency has (incredibly) downgraded the fluvial flood risk, but the responsibility for groundwater issues lies with the council. They have already made it absolutely clear that they will do pretty much anything to approve the Plough Lane plans as they stand, so can we trust them on this issue?
3. STADIUM SIZE
The planning application is for a 20,000-seat stadium, which many have pooh-poohed (and not just us), saying that the team will never actually need such a large facility with the infrastructure issues it would raise. Given the club’s recent promotion to League One (well done, lads!), is that really such a remote possibility any more? This application needs revisiting with a realistic eye and thoroughly examining before it is finally approved.
4. AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Merton’s target for a development of this size is 40% affordable housing. Galliard Homes originally offered zero, raising this to a measly 9.6% by the time their planning application reached committee stage. This is far below anything that the Mayor of London has previously said is acceptable, and is far, far below the level that any councillor should be prepared to agree to. It sets a terrible precedent and does nothing to help the housing situation in Merton.
Our message to Sadiq Khan: stick to your guns and force a review of this application which needs some serious amends to make it acceptable.