Skip to main content
GreenwatchNewsPlanning and Environment

Our Planning and Environment Committee – Review of 2023

By 12 January 2024May 10th, 2024No Comments

Last Updated on 10 May 2024

Planning and Environment

REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2023

Planning Application Statistics

In 2023, we considered 173 planning applications in detail (2022: 205).  We objected to, or commented on, 101 (58%) of these (2022: 81 or 40%)

This is the smallest total of applications considered in the last seven years but is the highest percentage of objections (2022 was the lowest & it’s normally around 50%).  But:

a) there were fewer applications overall

b) there were very few large applications, &

c) there were far more tree applications than usual.

Planning and other Policy Issues 

Yet again, the major planning application of the year continued to be the AELTC’s plan to develop Wimbledon Park Golf Course for tennis use by building an 8,000-seater stadium plus 38 other grass courts, many ancillary buildings and 9km of roads and paths.  We have continued to work with other local groups, both in Wimbledon Village and in Southfields, to co-ordinate our opposition to the plans.

The AELTC’s original applications in 2021 to Merton and Wandsworth Councils included over 100 supplementary documents, with another 80 filed later.  They eventually came to the two Planning Committees last autumn, Merton’s voting 6-4 to approve and Wandsworth’s voting 7-0 to refuse. The applications have now moved up to the GLA for their consideration, expected in January.

The Council’s new Local Plan had reached the stage of Examination in Public in the autumn of 2022 and the Inspectors appointed to consider it indicated that they would issue their report early in 2023. We are still waiting.

During 2023 we were unable to meet with Council officers to discuss matters of mutual interest but will be resuming our meetings in 2024. We did invite one of the Council Tree Officers to a meeting, but as the request was refused we have corresponded instead.  We have supported the Wimbledon & Putney Commons Conservators’ Masterplan.

Environmental Issues 

We have continued to work with and have regular meetings with the Council’s Climate Action Team. Among other work, we are supporting their work developing a Retrofit Tool and Guidance and have provided a Case Study on Solar Panels. We have also provided the Council with a copy of our Heat Pump Guide to the Planning and offered to assist with Part 2 of the Council’s Tree Strategy.

A Pin Oak to commemorate the life and reign of the late Queen was planted next to the newly-restored Toynbee Fountain. We are now looking at improvements to Hanbury Fountain currently on Parkside and are working with the Heritage of London Trust who have offered funding.

We were pleased to see that the newly-restored Sunnyside Transformer has been removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.  We have championed its restoration for many years and are grateful to UK Power Networks, who own the structure, for funding its removal, restoration and replacement and to Merton Council for improving its street setting.

The Heritage at Risk Register has several other entries in Wimbledon including some Conservation Areas that are listed as being at risk but with no specific reasons stated.  Accordingly, we have asked Merton’s Cabinet Member for the Environment to explain the steps the Council is taking to remove such entries from the Register.