AFC Wimbledon have exchanged contracts with Chelsea for the sale of Kingsmeadow stadium to the Premier League giants, leaving Kingstonian without a home.

The deal confirms that non-league Kingstonian, who have shared the stadium with the Dons since 2003, will have to find a new ground by the start of the 2017 season.

But it will only go through if AFC secure a move to Plough Lane in Merton, with the Dons’ planning application to build a 20,000 seater stadium having been called in by former London Mayor Boris Johnson in March.

Erik Samuelson, chief executive of AFC Wimbledon, said: “This is a major milestone for us. The proceeds of this deal are an essential part of the financing of the new stadium.

“The vision of a return to Merton, with all the community benefits it also brings, is now becoming very real.”

Read more: AFC Wimbledon agree deal to sell Kingsmeadow stadium to Chelsea

Read more: Sadiq Khan may give AFC Wimbledon's controversial Plough Lane plan green light as Mayor despite previous objections

This website first reported in December 2014 that the Dons were in talks to sell the lease to Kingsmeadow, with Chelsea expected to use the stadium as the home of its women’s side and academy.

Surrey Comet:

Sale confirmed: Kingsmeadow stadium

Malcolm Winwright, joint chairman of Kingstonian, said: “We continue to enjoy a full and open relationship with Erik and his board, together with David Growns and other members of the Dons Trust Board, who continue to assist us on a number of fronts.”

Kingstonian has been working alongside real estate developer Affinity Global to build a new stadium on Chessington Golf Centre, though plans are still at an early stage.

Questions have been raised as to where Ks will play in the meantime, with a ground share the most likely solution.

Kingstonian fan and Kingston councillor Jon Tolley said: “I don’t think anyone’s clear about the immediate future and that’s the problem.

“If the board and decision makers are confident this Chessington site is going to happen then they shouldn’t ground share with anyone other than Corinthian Casuals because they need to build a fan base there.

“I would still like to see every possible option, until I hear that I think, 'Why are you voluntarily walking away from Kingston [town centre]'?”

AFC Wimbledon bought Kingsmeadow from former Ks chairman Rajesh Khosla for a reported £2.5m in 2003, with Kingstonian allowed to use the ground as tenants in exchange.

The freehold for the site is held by Kingston Council.

As part of the deal with Chelsea, AFC Wimbledon has pledged to make a “substantial donation” to Ks, to help the club “secure their future at another ground in or around Kingston”.

Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis said: “The council has been working with Kingstonian to help to secure a sustainable future in this borough and the substantial contribution from Wimbledon will be of significant help in doing so.”

AFC Wimbledon must now wait for a decision from new London Mayor Sadiq Khan on whether or not planning permission will be granted for the move to Plough Lane.

The plans, which also included the building of 602 flats, were met with unanimous approval from Merton Council in December last year, but were called in for review by Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson had expressed concern over transport links, flood risks and affordable housing.