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Our Planning and Environment Committee – Review of 2022

By 5 January 2023No Comments

Last Updated on 5 January 2023

Planning and Environment

1. During 2022 we considered a total of 205 planning applications and objected or commented on 81 of them.

2. The AELTC’s planning application to both Merton and Wandsworth Councils to develop the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course for tennis purposes, including an 8,000-seater stadium, 38 other grass courts, 9 km of roads and pathways and 10 ancillary buildings, occupied us for the whole year

The original application in the summer of 2021 contained over 100 supplementary documents, some running to over 100 pages.  Another 60 documents were filed in May 2022 and yet more last autumn.  One of these is a response to questions raised by the consultancy appointed by Merton to examine the application and which detailed numerous omissions or incorrect references. 

It is wholly unclear whether the later documents expand or replace earlier ones as any changes are not tracked.  Accordingly, we wrote to both Councils in November 2022 suggesting that the AELTC should withdraw its current application, resolve all outstanding queries and submit a new coherent application (or, preferably, submit a new application that scaled back its proposals to reflect the widespread opposition to its original plans). We have sent several letters of objection: to the original plans, the revised ones and on particular aspects of the plans: we will continue to object if the need arises as this saga develops.  We continue to work with the Save Wimbledon Park Group, which includes several local Residents’ Associations on this issue.

3. The Council’s new Local Plan reached its Examination in Public by the Inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State.  Of particular concern was the designation of Wimbledon Park Golf Course as a development site (Wi3) together with the existing AELTC site.  In correspondence and before the Inspectors we stressed the differences between the two sides of Church Road and argued that because of the high levels of protection on the Golf Course site it must be excluded from Wi3.

The Inspectors’ Report is due early in the New Year.  If they propose any Main Modifications to the Plan, these will be subject to further consultation.

4. On environmental matters, we have continued to work with the Council’s Climate Action team and have met with the Cabinet Member for Local Environment, Green Spaces and Climate.  We have offered to assist the Council with a Tree Strategy and with a housing Retrofit Policy. 

5. We have taken part in consultations on the re-modelling of Centre Court shopping centre, the redevelopment of the White Hart pub on Kingston Road and a development site on Bushey Road.  We have also engaged with the Wimbledon & Putney Commons Conservators about their Masterplan for the Commons’ future.

6. We have requested the Secretary of State to call-in the decision to approve the demolition and redevelopment of St George’s House East (at the corner of St George’s Road and Wimbledon Hill Road).  We had objected to the application as we considered that it was unnecessary and detrimental to the environment to demolish a mere 30-year old building: and that the proposed new build was too high.

7. We have undertaken a survey of commercial premises in the Village that were still burning lights at midnight.

8. We have liaised with the Council on sponsoring a new tree near the newly-restored Toynbee Fountain in memory of the late Queen’s reign.

9. After many years of effort, we have succeeded in having the Sunnyside Transformer restored by its owners and its setting improved by the Council.  We are now looking at improvements and possible re-siting of the Hanbury Fountain on Parkside.