Red card for Mayor over his football stadium decision

Published: Wednesday 27th July 16

The announcement that Mayor Sadiq Khan is likely to give the green light to hugely controversial plans for a 20,000 seat football stadium and more than 600 homes on the site of the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium has sparked criticism from councillors in Wandsworth.

The Mayor today (Wednesday) revealed that he was abandoning the decision of his predecessor to “call in” the football stadium planning application for further scrutiny in order to make the decision at Mayoral level.

Neighbouring Merton Council had previously announced its backing for the redevelopment plans for the dog stadium site, which lies on the borough boundary, supporting a new football stadium plus 602 homes and a large supermarket. Only ten per cent of the new homes are “affordable”.

Wandsworth councillors have always argued that the scale and nature of the application will have a significant impact on people living in Tooting and Earlsfield, as well as local businesses.

This many new homes and a large stadium is likely to create significant extra 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.

There are also concerns that pavement infrastructure around the ground is insufficient to cater for up to 20,000 football fans – especially if this number of people exit at the same time once the final whistle has blown - and that this could put pedestrian safety at risk.

Large numbers of pedestrians, potentially walking in big groups, are likely to spill out from the pavement onto road surfaces adding to congestion and traffic delays - as well as an increase in vehicle pollution.
 
There are fears too that new residential accommodation on this scale could make it much more difficult for existing residents to access local GP and hospital services, and concerns too that including a large retail space on the site could have an adverse impact on nearby shops and businesses.

Wandsworth’s leader Ravi Govindia said: “This is a very disappointing decision by the Mayor which paves the way for major upheaval and disruption in Earlsfield and Tooting.

“Building a large football stadium and many hundreds of new homes here will certainly have an impact on the area and will inevitably lead to increased pressure on local transport infrastructure and other public services.

“When Mr Khan was MP for Tooting he opposed these plans because of the impact this development would have on his constituents. Quite why he has changed his mind so dramatically in the space of just a few months is difficult to fathom.

“The very small proportion of affordable homes being built on this site also flies in the face of Mr Khan’s manifesto pledge that he wanted to see a 50 per cent level on all big housing developments. Ten per cent is a long way short of 50, and there are very few community benefits included in this application and a wholly insufficient amount of money set aside for transport upgrades.

“There is also serious concern that the extra traffic congestion and road closures that will be put in place every time a football match is played will mean additional difficulties for ambulances taking emergency patients to St George’s Hospital – a regional trauma centre that’s only a few hundreds yards away. Plough Lane is a vital transport corridor to the hospital which may be blocked or closed off on match days.

“This development is going to have a huge adverse impact on the area. It is extremely disappointing that the Mayor has abandoned the decision of his predecessor and failed to give our arguments the consideration they so obviously deserve.”

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Recent comments

The Ombudsman will be asked to look at Merton's planning process. Boris highlighted "significant issues of controversy that require full consideration in a public hearing". If Sadiq ignores this and reneges on his main election pledge of 50%Affordable Housing, he's lost ALL CREDIBILITY and the right to be Mayor of London. Please read the facts: `facts':`facts' :https://ploughlanestadium.wordpress.com/. According to the GLA Sadiq has NOT yet made up his mind yet. He will do so`after' the consultation process , which runs out on August 10th. PLEASE write to object to: . 'planningadmin@london.gov.uk' re planning report D&P/3130b/03 planning application no. 14/P4361
imogen

3 August 2016

A message to RH: You are soo wrong! I personally know of someone nearly losing his life due to the Ambulance not getting through in time in the old Dons days when Plough Lane was congested with masses of fans taking up the whole street and pavements. And as for incidents: Ripping up front garden gates, urinating in the street in front of children, kicking in the front of convenience stores in Haydons Road TWICE. I could go on. Might be no incidents for you RH but it certainly was for local residents and businesses!
Imogen

2 August 2016

Isn't there enough Skip Trucks and Grabber Lorries racing around already before we even contemplate this build...
mark

2 August 2016

No one is really against AFC Wimbledon having it's own grounds but the Plough Lane site is just plain wrong for a variety of reasons not least of all because of transport problems, air pollution, flood plain. However, the Mayor pledged that all developments would be made up of 35% affordable housing and if he allows this to go through he is breaking his promise to Londoners within 3 months of his tenure. He was against the plan as MP for Tooting so what's made him break his Mayoral pledge?
RH

1 August 2016

Most of you, including WBC, who oppose AFC Wimbledon return home, provide only selfish and scaremongering arguments - "unbearable congestion", "disruption of ambulance service" and so on. Wimbledon FC existed in the same area for 100 years and there was never any major incident on the match day. Yes, there will be crowd and jams for 2-3 hours on match days (about 20 times a year), but benefit will be much greater and last whole year: for business, sport, communities, it means for Wandsworth too. AFC is a unique football club. It generates interests on all continents because of its history and present success.
Zeljko Toth

1 August 2016

Worst decision for Wandsworth in decades! Well done Khan, yet another set of policies and promises reneged on. To call this a local asset is a joke, football is neither useful nor valueable. This will bring only bring heartache and pain for the residents of Earlsfield and the surrounding areas and in time will like any other decision this mayor makes, be found wanting. I will support any move to block this u-turn decision, political views aside this is a poor decision socially and economically for the area!
J SMITH

1 August 2016

I am baffled by this decision. Hopefully there is still a chance both the huge housing development and the stadium won't be going ahead! We are a young family and have been living in Earlsfield for the last 10 years. We chose this area because it is quite and safe. Why building something that will create even more congestion, issues to local residents, more difficulties to St.George's hospital operations? Surely a stadium could be built further outside London where it is easier to reach without disrupting an already congested area??
Francesca

1 August 2016

I agree with Wandsworth council.Its not a place suitable to build a stadium.not only will it stretch our doctors.but it's life threating to people what need our already over crowded hospital.please don't let this happen.its totally madness.
Rosemary

31 July 2016

I'm very,very disappointed that Mr Khan , has given the green light for this project a which is clearly going to be a total disaster! He objected initially and now he has changed his mind! I'm shocked and hopefully this project won't get off the ground.
steven johnson

31 July 2016

I am in favour of the stadium, the area needs it. Not only will it benefit the club to move back, it will also bring the area and the local small businesses back to life. The area has been neglected for too long. And needs life put back.
Christine

30 July 2016

We already suffer enough traffic congestion when Chelsea and Fulham play at home and do not need a third ground so near to them.
ian scott

30 July 2016

I am all for the Wimbledon Football Stadium. As are most of the residents and shopkeepers in the area that i have spoken to. Having lived in the area all my life ( I have now retired) whatever problems the new stadium brings, if any. They cannot be anything like they used to be and it cannot come to soon. I just wish Wandsworth council would put as much as energy into solving the problems of rat runs in the borough. We have put in numerous petitions about the problem all of which have been largely ignored, except when an election is in the offing. The something has been done, the last two attempts seem to have been just for show and in fact have made the position far worse, when it could be cured for much less than the council have spent.
Alan Gardner

30 July 2016

The residents of these new flats will have Nox pollution wafting up over them from the adjacent busy roads. Ugh.
Ah

30 July 2016

About time Wimbledon FC returned home. It should bring business and employment into Earlsfield - not that many matches a year - punters will have no further to walk for public transport than they do at other London FCs. Frequently go to Whitehart Lane for matches - the whole of the road between Spurs ground and nearly to 7 sisters underground (and in the other direction) is closed to traffic on match days when match finishes. Such a shame that Wandsworth has such a bee in its bonnet re building new homes - and yet do nothing about improving roads where the new builds are.
Liz D

30 July 2016

Why do people vote for labour candidates like Sadiq Kahn - they just say what you want to hear and then do something else when you have voted for them. He is a PR guy and that's what we all dislike in politicians isn't it ? I am also watching that mr Khan doesn't start pushing his minority religious views on Londoners, which he is doing already with tube advertising
Jo

30 July 2016

Mr Kahn is a weak politician and this will be highlighted over the next few years. It's only that the other mayor candidates were so incredibly weak that he got in. How are thousands of football fans going to get to this stadium when there is no train/tube station near - we will have thousands of football fans walking the streets and the bus network will not cope. even worse the fans will all drive, I would if I had to go there. also, where are the food shops for all these flats ? I guess they will have to use Ocado! Merton council don't care as they will take all the council tax/profits whilst its on their boundary having no negative effect on their borough.
Simon

30 July 2016

I cannot even describe how disappointed I am at reading this! I regularly travel through Wimbledon/Plough Lane and it is always heavily congested; how will this area cope with so much more traffic? Will new schools be built? Is Mayor Khan receiving some kind of sweetener which could have led to him changing his mind so drastically? I certainly will not vote for him again and he has let us local residents down badly on this issue. Another lying, conniving politician has conned us yet again into believing they are working with us for the greater good when nothing could be further from the truth.
Lu Lewis

30 July 2016

A completely biased one sided article not representative of 1000s of wandsworth residents including myself. Mr khan has guts to make this bold move and is already proving what a great mayor he will be (and I'm a conservative saying this!). Wimbledon unsurprisingly belongs in Wimbledon and already is an asset to the community with terrific community schemes. Gates are currently just 4,000. I live in Wandsworth and fully back this fantastic story of a club finally being given their true home back in plough lane. Lets make sure this community club is seen as the local asset it will be.
Matthew Bean

30 July 2016

I object to footballs stadium
Narendra Bhagalia

30 July 2016

The road network around the stadium is already a bottleneck, adding a football match with 20k fans will create gridlock for miles around. Regenerate the area but don't destroy it.
will

30 July 2016

Complete propaganda by WBC, not "latest news" as listed at the top. The North Korean government would have been proud of this article. Where's the journalism".
Charles Runcie

29 July 2016

What else did anyone expect from Mr Khan? He rotates with every change of direction of his political wind. Such slippery behaviour is his trademark and anyone who voted for him or expected any sort of decency from him can feel only disgust and shame now. Be prepared for several more years of incompetence, gesture politics and behind the scenes deals with with his supporters.
T C Edwards

29 July 2016

Sadiq Khan your a joke I will never vote for you ever again You lied affordable housing that's a joke I have been a life long labour supporter never again you are a absolute joke and untrustworthy you bring all the labour government down with you , stop and look at the repercussions this site can not just be built on Wimbledon should never of left there original site it's there own fault get over it , St Georgie's and the local people should be given the final say what happens. I sat in traffic there a month ago for over 3 hours where it had flooded and a car broke down I am sure everyone remembers that morning not long ago so even more traffic and are you going widen the roads !!
Kelly sanders

29 July 2016

I've lived on Plough lane for 25yrs, my concerns are more valid than others. The area needs regeneration, it is what it is, industrial along side residential. I'm not against redevelopment, be it footie or dogs. But councillors, we all know the area floods, is congested to extreme, ask any ambulance driver, traffic is a life threatening issue on Plough lane, any road works cause gridlock, so closures on match day? Make redevelopment count, for ALL, improve the roads, transport, & amenities, not just for footie, or righting Merton councils wrongs with Wimbledon 30yrs ago. Stand up, be brave and do the right thing, FOR ALL, Develop sympathetically Let us all benifit Mr Khan 50% affordable housing? You & Labour have lost my vote. Gutted,shame
Simon

29 July 2016

Am surprised at this reaction: AFC Wimbledon is a beacon of community spirit. It is a club entirely owned and run by its fans, and shows our area's children how sport can be a successful grassroots enterprise. We should be backing this.
Zoe

29 July 2016

This area needs total redevelopment. Very good that Wimbledon Football Club are returning to their original roots. Great alternative for the locals who may not be able to afford Chelsea FC. As a resident of Wandsworth ,living in Tooting ,the current area is a complete tip and for the redevelopment to go ahead is great news . Believe the disruption will be fairly minimal and am sure the access to St George`s ,for the ambulances will be all sorted on match days. Current average attendances for Wimbledon are approx. 4,000. It will only have a positive impact on local businesses.
George Pavli

29 July 2016

Sadiq Khan is clearly a turncoat who does not have London residents' interests at heart. This is a callous disregard of his duty and pledge to agree affordable housing. St George's Hospital access and patients' lives will be compromised for his short term glory. It is both arrogant and ignorant on his part to neglect the Borough's findings.
Suzy Clode

29 July 2016

This site needs to be redeveloped that's a given However have you seen the amount of traffic all ready at full capacity school runs take almost an hour and a half to get from tooting to Wimbledon we don't need added cars That's without the flooding local businesses do not get insurance because of flooding so will the new houses Also very few affordable houses pricing out the workers once again And on match days the road will be closed off So please Wandsworth council make sure if this goes through its done in the right way not at the cost of the local community
Zoe

29 July 2016

This is a disgraceful response to a well thought out plan to regenerate a run down area and enable AFC Wimbledon to return to their roots in Merton. I speak as a Wandsworth resident and Conservative voter in local elections when I tell you to stop this biased narration and let Merton follow its democratic decision to let the Dons come home.
Garry Patten

29 July 2016

I have trouble having any sympathy for wbc for all the reasons already stated re new housing, but what I find really find disappointing is the lack of positive reporting on the community work that the football club already does in Wandsworth which will only increase when the club moves into the area. AFC Wimbledon will bring nothing but a positive, community enhancing experience to a tired, dilapidated site and environment
David LC

29 July 2016

Many of the comments posted here condemn Wandsworth Council's hypocrisy. How about that of the London mayor, who has changed his mind (as I knew he would) since he was MP for Tooting, which is why I didn't vote for him. Also, some commentators remember the football stadium from 20 or 30 years ago. There was a lot less traffic then and Plough Lane was nowhere near so congested as it is now. It is true that this road is an important through route for vehicles as well as having to now accommodate extra vehicles visiting the many sites on this road - two car dealers, other car facilities, Wickes store and a new LIDL, amongst others. I expect conditions to get worse on this road while construction is underway and when it becomes functional.
GEORGE LOBLEY

29 July 2016

Tooting and Earlsfield does not have the right transport links to support this stadium. The area is very densely populated and Crossrail needed badly. The impact for the hospital should not be underestimated let alone the increase to already very busy roads. Upper Tooting Rd for example already tails back at even later hours. Other roads too. The community in general will suffer rather than benefit from this in current circs. The Mayor's local knowledge should support this view, as indeed was the case when he was Tooting's MP.. Wandsworth Council holds the right position on this... Develop the area, but not a mass capacity football stadium....
Karen Wallace

29 July 2016

Could Wandsworth Council please tell me the percentage of affordable homes have been required for planning permission for each of the developments in recent years on the Upper Richmond Road
Stephen Aldred

29 July 2016

Please please Wandsworth, oppose this scheme. We already have horrendous congestion.
Elaine Awad

29 July 2016

Wandsworth are getting ever more ridiculous by the day. Their hypocrisy is shameless and they have no clue about transport. They wanted more car parking for the stadium but then complain it will bring traffic! They didn't even ask for cycle parking. Merton is building new routes with proper cycle tracks (whilst WW oppose cycle tracks) and many would cycle to/from the new stadium if the councils upgraded the Wandle Trail and built better links (such as by upgrading the awful Burntwood lane cycle lanes to a two-way cycle track and ripping out the 'traffic calming' crud). Wandsworth have appalling record on affordable housing (as it doesn't bring them enough Tory voters) & have no right to criticise other councils that do much better.
Simon Shields

29 July 2016

Wandsworth! Please take the time to respond to the latest consultation. It's important that the mayor makes this determination, not Merton.
Helen

29 July 2016

That's a very one sided argument psoted against the stadium. They held two open forums for concerns to be noted on the request of Mr Khan and address many concerns and took into account many issues. The stadium will be an 11,000 initially and any further development depend on the club progression. People forget there was a 16000 capacity stadium there in the 80's too as well as the dog track. There are 2-4 match days a month with probable 2 hr disruptions either side. People can walk to multiple stations around the area, including Wimbledon, tooting bec, tooting overground as well as earlsfield. This is scaremongering of a campaign that received overwhelming support in its public forums.
Alex Bush

29 July 2016

This seems like a very welcome development and the extra housing is sorely needed. Most of the council objections could probably be addressed in discussions with the mayor.
Eoghan Cunningham

29 July 2016

Best thing to happen in SW London for decades!!!!!!!!
Brian Gibbs

29 July 2016

I remember going to see Wimbledon FC play on that exact same location back in the days when they were in the former Division 1, hosting the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United. There were never any major traffic or congestion problems back then. The area has become a dump and what a positive move for a brand new sporting stadium with a club with a hugely positive track record for supporting local communities through sport. Wandsworth are OK'ing thousands of flats along the river with no community amenity or benefit but objective to this. What an absolute disgrace Wandsworth Council.
Cameron Saunders

29 July 2016

So where were all these concerns when the Springfield development was passed? That development also allows car parking spaces for its residents, so that will impact roads on a DAILY basis, not just once or twice a week. How about the new supermarket opening in Plough Lane and the increased traffic that will generate? Where was Wandsworth Council then? Nimbyism at its best. Also, when we see your developments providing 50% affordable housing you can then have the right to criticise others for not doing so.
RW

29 July 2016

It will cause traffic pollution blocked roads train overcrowding . Who is going to clean up the litter left behind,please wandsworth say no no no to this insane idea.ps please send copy of this to the london mayor who seems to have forgotten all his previous ideals shame on you.
michael berry

28 July 2016

Ram Brewery site also has 10% affordable promised (but not yet delivered) so what's the BIG ISSUE for WBC to write -“The very small proportion of affordable homes being built on this site also flies in the face of Mr Khan’s manifesto pledge that he wanted to see a 50 per cent level on all big housing developments. Ten per cent is a long way short of 50."
Celia Blair

28 July 2016

I have lived in Wandsworth since 1977 when I arrived there were two stadia, the old Wimbledon football ground and the Wimbledon dog track; the latter also had stock car racing events. Surely the issues of traffic and crowds were a bigger problem then, a new single stadium must be an improvement. It seems to me the redevelopment will turn a dilapidated venue into an attraction that may well breathe new life into the Summerstown area and benefit local businesses. Wandsworth's irresponsible development at Nine Elms and the Ram Brewery are a disgrace and very unlikely to benefit local people. It seems to me Wandsworth are often objecting to Merton and Lambeth’s proposals in an effort to divert attention from their own inadequacies.
Patrick

27 July 2016

WBC happily allowed Ram Brewery site development to proceed with a very low % of affordable homes and limited new infrastructure to support it; they have allowed the heralded Earlsfield /Brocklebank redevelopment to drag on and a vacant plot in Earlsfield Road to remain stagnant for 20+ years. Rehearsing the same old arguments is NOT what the London Mayor is asking for. Sadiq Khan has called for any new information which challenges Merton's decision.
Celia Blair

27 July 2016

This is a dishonest article. The plans are for an 11,000 capacity stadium with 'potential' (ie may never happen) for 20,000 and yet there's Wandsworth Council Leader scaremongering about 20,000. No wonder politicians can't be trusted
Joe

27 July 2016

It is a bit ironic that Wandsworth Councillors are complaining about lack of parking when they are giving permission for blocks of flats in my area with less than a third of the flats having parking spaces - this on the grounds that Wandsworth is, apparently, encouraging people not to use cars! One rule for them and another for us?
Jane

27 July 2016