LATEST: Dec 12, 2014: AFC Wimbledon’s planning application for Plough Lane is made public on Merton Borough Council’s planning portal. As expected, it includes an 11,000-seat football stadium increasing to 20,000 seats, 602 homes, parking for 297 cars and 741 bicycles, a ‘small-scale convenience store’ and a revamped Christopher’s gym and squash club. Documents relating to the plans run to hundreds of pages. Comments on the plans can be submitted from December 16 until January 19, 2015.
LATEST: Nov2014: AFC Wimbledon confirms that plans for Plough Lane have been submitted to Merton Borough Council and will be made public once they have been verified by the planning department.
LATEST: Nov 6, 2014: The Dons Trust (the not-for-profit organisation that owns AFC Wimbledon) website confirms that plans for the Plough Lane Greyhound Stadium site are still being finetuned.
The football club’s original development proposals included ambitious plans for a stadium (eventually) seating 20,000 plus 600 homes with little green or open space on the site. Local worries about flooding, traffic and transport were not addressed.
Key paragraphs from the online report of The Dons Trust Board’s November meeting include:
‘As you might expect, there was lengthy discussion surrounding progress towards our planning application for a new ground in Plough Lane. The meeting was joined by Andrew Williams, the consultant who is advising us on the project. All being well, there should be plenty for members to discuss at the Trust’s AGM on Wednesday 10 December. Although it might take some time after our paperwork gets submitted before the application shows on Merton Council’s website, the club intends to make an announcement once our application has gone in.
‘The timeline for making funds available for spending on the project following a successful conclusion of the planning application was also discussed; this is to ensure that money is available to allow things to progress from eventual planning approval to the first contractor getting on site.’
LATEST: Oct 21 2014: Hume Consulting has revealed a new set of plans for Plough Lane greyhound stadium that slash the amount of housing on-site, address flooding and transport issues AND include provision for education and health services. Can AFC Wimbledon equal their bid? Read more…
LATEST: Oct 8 2014: AFC Wimbledon intend to submit a planning application for the Plough Lane greyhound stadium site ‘within the next few weeks’ with a view to be based there by the start of the 2017-18 football season. Club chief executive Erik Samuelson told the Evening Standard ‘we expect to be successful’. He added: ‘If we are successful we will be improving that particular part of the borough and will be the catalyst for development and improvement around it…
‘…A year from now there could be spades in the ground… 2017 is frightening close.’
Merton Borough Council has identified the Plough Lane greyhound stadium site as being suitable for “intensification of sporting activity with supporting enabling development”.
This means that the site, currently home to the rundown greyhound stadium which has been in situ since 1928, will be used for sporting activities in conjunction with other revenue-generating developments such as housing. Planners may also insist educational or medical facilities must be provided on the site.
There are currently two possible sporting developments interested in the site. Others may come forward. Remember, Merton planners are under no obligation to approve the plans which have been submitted by AFC Wimbledon along with Galliard Homes. They can ask for them to be amended, or turn them down, at which point other developers may be encouraged to throw their hat into the ring.
So what are the two options that have gone public with their intentions so far?
Option 1: A new 3,000-seater greyhound stadium to replace the existing scruffy facility
Option 2: A football stadium for AFC Wimbledon, aiming to provide up to 20,000 seats
Now that AFC Wimbledon has submitted its plans to Merton Borough Council, the greyhound refurbishment proposals are effectively irrelevant. Greyhound supremo Paschal Taggart has said he will only submit his development plans should the football scheme be turned down. Even then, there is no guarantee his scheme would be approved. By commenting on the AFC Wimbledon plans, you are NOT thereby giving your tacit approval for a greyhound stadium revamp. What DOES matter is ensuring that the AFC Wimbledon plans are given proper scrutiny to ensure they are appropriate for this location.
Inform yourself of detail contained within the planning application, pass on your comments to the council and let your local councillors know your views.