All to play for in battle for Plough Lane between AFC Wimbledon and greyhound racing, inspector rules

Greyhound racing in Wimbledon

Greyhound racing in Wimbledon

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It is all to play for between the greyhound and AFC Wimbledon bids after an inspector said the Plough Lane site would be suitable for either sport.

After months of deliberation, an independent inspector has deemed the controversial Wimbledon site suitable for both greyhound racing and football, leaving it for Merton Council’s planning committee to decide.

AFC Wimbledon has said it is delighted by the result, whereas greyhound supporters remain stoic as the hard work is not yet over for either side.

The future of the site has been mired in controversy as both AFC Wimbledon and supporters of greyhound racing, which is currently housed at the stadium, have been battling it out to make the historic venue their home in Wimbledon.

Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis said he is pleased inspector Robert Yuille has agreed with the council over the suitability of the location for ‘sporting intensification’ after months of speculation.

Coun Alambritis said: "We are pleased the inspector has gone with us for the greyhound stadium.

"It is right for sporting intensification.

"Planning permission will be given for flats, the number of them is to be decided. "It is all to play for for any sport."

Counc Alambritis emphasised the need for both sides to fully consult with residents.

Inspector Robert Yuille heard arguments from all sides about the suitability of each sport, plus ideas on retail and residential use at a hearing in late January this year, as part of a review of Merton Council Sites and Policies Local Plan.

AFC Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson said he was delighted with the inspector’s conclusion.

Mr Samuelson said: "We can now move to the next stage of the process.

"There’s still a long way to go and a lot of hard work to be done but this is a significant moment in our plans to return to Wimbledon."

Greyhound supporter Diane McLean, of the We Want Wimbledon group, said: "I am not excited by the result; it is not anything new as far as we’re concerned.

"Things are underway - if the football think they can railroad through they are mistaken.

Ms McLean said they will put in a planning application to the council in due course and it will quite rightly be scrutinised by the public and the council.

AFC Wimbledon will hold a number of public consultations this summer on dates to be announced.

In the report, the inspector said: "Time will tell whether either of these schemes is viable or suitable on this site.

"I see no compelling planning reason at this time why the Plan, which at present allows for either, should seek, in effect, to favour one rather than the other.

"I do not, therefore, consider it necessary for the Plan to specify that a greyhound stadium should be retained on the site."

Irish business man Paschal Taggart's £60m plans for the stadium feature a new world class squash club with seven courts, a four tier 4,500 capacity greyhound racing stadium, supermarket and residential apartments as well as a multi storey car park, medical centre, dance studio and gymnasium.

If AFC Wimbledon win the bid, the club would build a mixed use development featuring a 22,000 capacity stadium, starting at 12,000, 500 residential apartments, a hotel, education and retail space and an intention to replace the squash courts and gym at Christopher’s Squash Club.

The Planning Inspectorate’s report on the examination into Merton Sites and Policies Local Plan was published on Wednesday, June 4.

It will be discussed at a council meeting on Wednesday, July 9 in the Civic Offices in Morden.

Comments (9)

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11:15am Fri 6 Jun 14

tom_d says...

Does anybody have a link to the inspector's report?
Does anybody have a link to the inspector's report? tom_d
  • Score: 4

1:36pm Fri 6 Jun 14

THillyer says...

http://www.merton.go
v.uk/environment/pla
nning/planningpolicy
/ldf/merton_sites_an
d_policies_plan_insp
ector_s_report__june
14_final.pdf
http://www.merton.go v.uk/environment/pla nning/planningpolicy /ldf/merton_sites_an d_policies_plan_insp ector_s_report__june 14_final.pdf THillyer
  • Score: 6

5:27pm Fri 6 Jun 14

alroutemaster says...

Football please, at least they don't ill-treat or put down old footballers, racing, both greyhound and horse is cruel.......
Football please, at least they don't ill-treat or put down old footballers, racing, both greyhound and horse is cruel....... alroutemaster
  • Score: 13

7:51pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Zoon_Politikon says...

Let us hope football wins. Greyhounds getting smashed up in the name of entertainment has no place in 21st century Britain.
Let us hope football wins. Greyhounds getting smashed up in the name of entertainment has no place in 21st century Britain. Zoon_Politikon
  • Score: 12

8:34pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Greyhound Mike says...

Greyhound trainers are often being caught at Wimbledon for doping their dogs just to fix races, where as football offers a future to local children and a sport Wimbledon can be proud of http://www.cagednw.c
o.uk/we-want-wimbled
on-closed.html
Greyhound trainers are often being caught at Wimbledon for doping their dogs just to fix races, where as football offers a future to local children and a sport Wimbledon can be proud of http://www.cagednw.c o.uk/we-want-wimbled on-closed.html Greyhound Mike
  • Score: 10

8:34pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Greyhound Mike says...

Greyhound trainers are often being caught at Wimbledon for doping their dogs just to fix races, where as football offers a future to local children and a sport Wimbledon can be proud of http://www.cagednw.c
o.uk/we-want-wimbled
on-closed.html
Greyhound trainers are often being caught at Wimbledon for doping their dogs just to fix races, where as football offers a future to local children and a sport Wimbledon can be proud of http://www.cagednw.c o.uk/we-want-wimbled on-closed.html Greyhound Mike
  • Score: 6

7:00am Sat 7 Jun 14

Flora065 says...

I'd convert into becoming a football supporter just to make sure greyhound racing will not continue at this stadium. people bet on these poor animals' lives for their own entertainment which to me is immoral. save greyhounds lives and stop this exploitative so called 'sport'.
I'd convert into becoming a football supporter just to make sure greyhound racing will not continue at this stadium. people bet on these poor animals' lives for their own entertainment which to me is immoral. save greyhounds lives and stop this exploitative so called 'sport'. Flora065
  • Score: 11

3:35pm Sat 7 Jun 14

Pianomaestro says...

"AFC Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson said he was delighted with the inspector’s conclusion.

Mr Samuelson said: "We can now move to the next stage of the process.

"There’s still a long way to go and a lot of hard work to be done but this is a significant moment in our plans to return to Wimbledon.""

AFC Wimbledon have never played in Wimbledon so cannot really "return". They were formed after the original Wimbledon team left the borough. The only connection is the name. If there is a will to have a team with connections to the area play at this ground then surely the team which has become MK Dons should be invited back.

What exactly does "sport intensification" mean anyway? The opportunity to play sport with the resulting lifestyle benefits or the opportunity just to be a passive spectator and allow contribute to corporate coffers?
"AFC Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson said he was delighted with the inspector’s conclusion. Mr Samuelson said: "We can now move to the next stage of the process. "There’s still a long way to go and a lot of hard work to be done but this is a significant moment in our plans to return to Wimbledon."" AFC Wimbledon have never played in Wimbledon so cannot really "return". They were formed after the original Wimbledon team left the borough. The only connection is the name. If there is a will to have a team with connections to the area play at this ground then surely the team which has become MK Dons should be invited back. What exactly does "sport intensification" mean anyway? The opportunity to play sport with the resulting lifestyle benefits or the opportunity just to be a passive spectator and allow contribute to corporate coffers? Pianomaestro
  • Score: -22

2:59pm Sun 8 Jun 14

Westbank says...

Afc Wimbledon represent the borough of Wimbledon,moving Mk dons to New Plough Lane might upset their supporters.I don't think many will travel the 70 miles for a home game.Dont forget the frenzy for football in Milton Keynes,1/4 million residents and average home gates of 9000.Go franchise soccer.
Afc Wimbledon represent the borough of Wimbledon,moving Mk dons to New Plough Lane might upset their supporters.I don't think many will travel the 70 miles for a home game.Dont forget the frenzy for football in Milton Keynes,1/4 million residents and average home gates of 9000.Go franchise soccer. Westbank
  • Score: 9

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