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AELTC Planning Application – Representations to the GLA

By 11 June 2024June 18th, 2024No Comments

Last Updated on 18 June 2024

The AELTC’s application to develop the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course is now being decided by the GLA.  The Wimbledon Society has been working with other local groups as “Save Wimbledon Park” (SWP), which has now sent a series of objections to the GLA.   SWP has had the benefit of expert advice and contributions, all pro bono, from senior architects, planners, tennis stadia designers, heritage consultants, environmentalists and lawyers.   This powerful combined effort has produced a significant number of planning policy reasons why this application should be refused, including:
1. The latest changes filed by the AELTC in May 2024, principally extending the permissive park by a very small amount and with no environmental improvements,  add nothing to improve this proposal.  The claim of public access to the former golf course is illusory.
2. The need for this development has not been established, and there are no “Very Special Circumstances” justifying this harm to Metropolitan Open Land (MOL).
3. The proposal is inappropriate and gross over-development.  It will make public safety in and outside the grounds much worse.  It fails to pass the test required for development in MOL and fails to satisfy the requirement to maintain the openness of the land, instead creating a manufactured and artificial landscape.
4. Proposed benefits do not outweigh the harm to MOL or to the heritage asset, or the loss of open space.  It fails to quantify the full impact of such extensive development on the Grade II* Wimbledon Park Registered Park: and it fails to comply with appropriate local, regional and national planning policy, regulations, and good practice.
5. The developers’ claimed 23% Biodiversity Net Gain is, in fact, a 36% Biodiversity Net Loss.  The Urban Greening Factor would decline from 0.99 to between 0.82 and 0.70, so failing to meet the London Plan Guidance.
6. The site is a remnant ancient Parkland, specially protected in national planning policy as an Irreplaceable Habitat. The proposals would cause significant harm to biodiversity, and planning policy requires the refusal of permission.
7. The Public Trust status of the land, and of the Covenants given by the developer should be given weight sufficient to stop this development.
 Additionally the Belvedere Estate Residents’ Association has submitted their objections focusing on environmental concerns.
Wimbledon Society has subsequently sent a letter to the GLA highlighting the suggested reviews into Environmental and Heritage issues mentioned in the SWP documents which we think the GLA should undertake.
This application has been opposed by the local London Assembly member Leonie Cooper, the local MPs Stephen Hammond and Fleur Anderson, many Councillors at both Merton and Wandsworth, all local civic societies and all neighbouring Residents’ Associations, as well as national bodies such as the London branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Friends of the Earth.  They have urged the AELTC to think again and to respond to their concerns.