Wimbledon Expansion Stumbles: Major Setback for Expansion Plan

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The London Borough of Wandsworth Council has rejected the proposal by the All England Lawn Tennis Club to expand the Wimbledon land area.

The All England Tennis Club’s proposed expansion plan in Wimbledon has suffered a major setback. The London Borough of Wandsworth Council has rejected the plans and refused to grant permission to triple the size of the grounds citing it would be ‘inappropriate’.

Wimbledon sought the permission to expand the land from 17 hectares to 46 hectares. Plans included 39 new grass courts and an 8,000-seater showcourt on the adjacent Wimbledon Park.

The proposal had earlier been given the green light by the London Borough of Merton last month. However, the Wandsworth’s planning committee have turned it down. The officers of the Wandsworth Council recommended the Councillors to refuse the planning permission as the expansion would result in ‘physical harm’ to Metropolitan Open land.

According to reports, the Planning committee councillors voted 7-0 to reject the proposals of the All England Club. It is said that the decision came after two and half hours of debate.

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‘Disappointed by the decision’

“Naturally, we are disappointed by the London Borough of Wandsworth’s decision,” Sally Bolton, Chief Executive of the All England Club, said in a statement as quoted by Reuters.

“Our proposals will deliver one of the greatest sporting transformations for London since 2012, alongside substantial benefits for the local community,” he added.

The proposal to expand the Wimbledon also faced protests from the local residents. Nearly 14,000 people signing a petition to stop the plans which would include the felling of 300 trees.

It has been reported that a sizeable crowd of protesters were also seen outside Wandsworth Town Hall when the decision to deny the permission was made. The decision will however now be reviewed by the Mayor of London’s office.

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