League Two London football club AFC Wimbledon, has been granted the right to build a new stadium on Plough Lane the site of the existing ‘Wimbledon Stadium’ greyhound track.
Following a lengthy consultation by Merton Council, ‘the Dons’ (AFC Wimbledon nickname) have been given permission to move their home ground from Kingsmeadow (Kingston upon Thames) back to Plough Lane (London Borough of Merton)
The Merton Council committee approved the decision, stating that AFC Wimbledon’s return to Plough Lane would see a “much needed regeneration of the area, with the aim of creating wider socic-economic benefits to both Merton and Wandsworth boroughs”.
A jubilant Erik Samuelson Chief Executive of AFC Wimbledon stated that the move would see the football club “return to its spiritual home”.
Nevertheless greyhound racing industry stakeholders who had fought to keep Wimbledon Stadium, as a race track stated that the decision was a major blow for the industry, as it was losing one of its major landmarks.
Wimbledon Stadium has held greyhound racing events since the 1930’s, the track has been further used to promote UK speedway and stock car racing competitions.
Representing the ‘Wimbledon Greyhound Racing Campaign’ barrister Diane Mclean stated that the decision granted to AFC Wimbledon will forwarded for a ‘stage 2’ review to the London Mayor’s office.
“Indeed, the Mayor may well ‘call in’ the application given the strong objections of Wandsworth Borough Council, which will be dramatically affected on match days with transport issues, on street parking and social behaviour. We can only hope common sense will prevail and that greyhound enthusiasts will be smiling. It’s not over yet.” Mclean said
Under threat UK greyhound racing will likely begin a renewed campaign against the closure of Wimbledon Stadium seeking further residential and new political support to keep its only London brough race track