‘Bitter disappointment’ at Mayor’s Wimbledon Stadium u-turn

The London Mayor Sadiq Khan has handed responsibility for determining the controversial Wimbledon Stadium planning application back to Merton Council, while praising the scheme’s “great benefits”.

Merton is now set to give final approval to the development which Wandsworth councillors argue will put a major strain on congested local roads, as well as health, school and transport services.

The scheme had been ‘called in’ by former Mayor Boris Johnson who said City Hall, rather than Merton Council, should make an impartial decision on a project of such strategic significance which affects two boroughs.

The site is located on the boundary between Wandsworth and Merton and would see a new 20,000 seat football stadium, 602 homes (10 per cent affordable) and a large supermarket built.

Cllr Sarah McDermott, Wandsworth Council planning committee chairman, said:

“This is a bitter disappointment for Earlsfield and Tooting residents who will bear the brunt of this excessive development. The Mayor openly opposed this scheme when he was MP for Tooting so it’s hard to understand why he’s now cheering for its “great benefits”.  Nothing has changed and it certainly doesn’t meet his mayoral planning policies on air quality or affordable housing.

“The impacts on our schools, healthcare and transport network will be very difficult to manage and we feel badly let down.”

Wandsworth has raised concerns that the number of new homes plus a stadium will create unreasonable pressure on the area’s transport network, with increased traffic congestion and more passengers accessing local rail services, especially at the already busy and crowded Earlsfield Station.

Critics also say the proposals do not provide enough parking spaces for such a large scale development, especially when this would also need to include coaches for the away team and their fans.