Last Updated on 19 April 2023
When the AELTC purchased the freehold of Wimbledon Park Golf Course from Merton Council in 1993 they entered into Covenants not to develop the land for anything other than “leisure or recreation purposes or as an open space”.
But these Covenants also provided that when golf ceased to be played and the lease held by the golf club ended, a publicly accessible lakeside walk would be established.
Golf ceased to be played at 31 December 2022. So why is the former golf course padlocked and why is the AELTC not constructing the lakeside walk?
The answer is that the AELTC are relying on a legal technicality. They now hold both the freehold and the leasehold interest in the former golf course land, but as the lease still subsists they argue that they are not required to establish the lakeside walk yet. But this is a matter entirely in their control – they have the ability to merge the leasehold and freehold interests and trigger the requirement to construct the lakeside walk.
Instead, their planning application to develop the former golf course includes a proposal to build a boardwalk mainly inside the lake edge. This ignores the requirement in the Covenants to build a walk around the lake.