Wimbledon dog track supports plan to turn stadium into football ground

Wimbledon dog track supports plan to turn stadium into football ground

Wimbledon dog track supports plan to turn stadium into football ground

Wimbledon dog track supports plan to turn stadium into football ground

First published in Sport by , Chief Reporter

The owners of London’s last remaining dog track have submitted a proposal to turn their stadium into a football ground which could be AFC Wimbledon’s new home.

Merton Council has today received a proposal from the Greyhound Racing Authority (GRA), who own Plough Lane greyhound stadium, which details plans for a 10 to 15,000 seat football stadium.

It also includes leisure facilities, between 450 and 500 homes, and a "substantial" retail store.

It is the first time that the GRA have said they would support a proposal to lose dog racing at the stadium in favour of a football stadium. 

In a letter to the council outlining their position, Duncan Parr, director of Savills writing on behalf of the GRA, said that they had submitted their proposal following discussions with the Council and the football club.

It said: "The provision of a football stadium for AFC Wimbledon will represent a return of the club to their historic home after over 20 years.

"The social benefits to the local community for generations to come should not be underestimated."

The proposal would also seek to cater for the wider community with coaching courses offered to young people, a retail store and new homes.

In August the Wimbledon Guardian revealed AFC Wimbledon’s own proposals for the site which included building a stadium big enough to hold 12,000 fans, increasing to 22,000.

The project, which the club has said could take 10 years to complete, would cost somewhere in the region of £100m to build on the five-hectare site.

Should a football stadium be built on the site, AFC Wimbledon could return to Merton after its predecessor, Wimbledon FC, left Plough Lane to ground-share with Crystal Palace in 1991.

A rival proposal to a football stadium has also been submitted by Irish businessman Paschal Taggart who wants to build a new £30m four-tier dog racing stadium with a capacity for 6,000 spectators.

The three visions for the site are in response to Merton Council's ‘call for sites’ - which requested those interested in developing a land site in the borough to set out their ideas in writing to the council.

While no planning applications have been submitted, the council will consider the proposals put forward by the GRA, AFC Wimbledon and Mr Taggart.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of the council, said: "We have tagged the greyhound stadium as a site for sports intensification.

"It could be a football stadium or another bigger and better greyhound stadium, but the sporting intensification part is what is important.

"I wouldn’t rule out a sporting activity such as rugby or two sports sharing together.

"Hopefully the jockeying for position by a number of developers who want to do something with the site will include a football stadium.

"That doesn’t exclude greyhound racing but it’s looking good for AFC Wimbledon."

What happens next?

  • Dec 13 - Feb 12, 2013: There will be a public consultation on the 'Call for Sites' submissions;
  • The council's Future Merton team will begin "deliverability testing" to evaluate the viability of the various proposals;
  • Spring 2013: Results of consultation to be published for public examination;
  • Summer 2013: An independent examination of the proposed sites;
  • Autumn 2013: A Merton Council cabinet meeting to discuss the council's conclusions and recommendations for Plough Lane and other sites across the borough.
  • November 2013 (to be confirmed): A full council meeting at Merton Civic Centre where all councillors can have their say on the proposals to be adopted into the council's official planning policy (the Core Strategy);
  • ? Developers must submit formal applications to the council's planning committee, made of a cross-party selection of elected councillors who must look at the application in a quasi-judicial capacity.

Comments (5)

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12:43pm Wed 3 Oct 12

Jay2010 says...

Not a Wimbledon fan, but I think that any true fan of the sport should agree that this is an excellent step in the right direction for a club that have gone through the hardest of times. What happened to Wimbledon could happen to any of our clubs, the fans never gave up and got them back to where they are today. Even their most bitter of rivals must admire that.
Not a Wimbledon fan, but I think that any true fan of the sport should agree that this is an excellent step in the right direction for a club that have gone through the hardest of times. What happened to Wimbledon could happen to any of our clubs, the fans never gave up and got them back to where they are today. Even their most bitter of rivals must admire that. Jay2010
  • Score: 0

7:10pm Fri 5 Oct 12

wiggle96 says...

I cannot see how a football club that only gets about 3500 watch them could have the money to buy the land. What about the dog racing and Stock Car racing fans who do not want to see the last stadium in London for both sports die. If these Wimbledon Fans want football in their town why did they not make an effort to keep the old Wimbledon FC and not let them go and start up another one.
I cannot see how a football club that only gets about 3500 watch them could have the money to buy the land. What about the dog racing and Stock Car racing fans who do not want to see the last stadium in London for both sports die. If these Wimbledon Fans want football in their town why did they not make an effort to keep the old Wimbledon FC and not let them go and start up another one. wiggle96
  • Score: -2

11:12pm Sat 6 Oct 12

Joe 90 says...

This is great news - the Dons deserve a home in Wimbledon and this plan, although still very tentative, is a great step forward.
This is great news - the Dons deserve a home in Wimbledon and this plan, although still very tentative, is a great step forward. Joe 90
  • Score: 0

9:25pm Sun 7 Oct 12

geoff s says...

This is all so wrong.I used to support the Dons at Plough Lane and Selhurst Park for decades until moving away,and what happened to us was disgusting,but this is just doing the same to stockcar and greyhound fans.Can AFC fans really accept this,in their heart of hearts,as anything else than kicking out other sport fans to achieve their dream of moving back into the borough of Merton,who wanted nothing to do with us when we first needed help and then ended up having to move to Selhurst park and the disaster that followed.Please dont get me wrong,I want AFC to thrive and prosper,just not at the expense of other sport fans,whether that sport is liked or not by football fans.Wimbledon stadium has a great history and is the last stadium for stockcars and greyhounds in the captal and long may it continue
This is all so wrong.I used to support the Dons at Plough Lane and Selhurst Park for decades until moving away,and what happened to us was disgusting,but this is just doing the same to stockcar and greyhound fans.Can AFC fans really accept this,in their heart of hearts,as anything else than kicking out other sport fans to achieve their dream of moving back into the borough of Merton,who wanted nothing to do with us when we first needed help and then ended up having to move to Selhurst park and the disaster that followed.Please dont get me wrong,I want AFC to thrive and prosper,just not at the expense of other sport fans,whether that sport is liked or not by football fans.Wimbledon stadium has a great history and is the last stadium for stockcars and greyhounds in the captal and long may it continue geoff s
  • Score: 0

8:12pm Mon 8 Oct 12

wiggle96 says...

You should think yourselves lucky your team is only a few miles from its home ,. The next nearest Stock Car tracks are about 50 miles away , most of them not near public transport . I like football ,been to lots of stadium over the years but I also follow Stock cars and have been going to Plough Lane stadium since 1965 . i travel to other tracks as well but with the price of fuel lately its getting very costly to go so Wimbledon is a cheaper option. I know many people who cannot get to other tracks so loosing the last track in London would spell disaster for them.
Far the size of crowd that AFC attract they could find somewhere smaller to build on .
You should think yourselves lucky your team is only a few miles from its home ,. The next nearest Stock Car tracks are about 50 miles away , most of them not near public transport . I like football ,been to lots of stadium over the years but I also follow Stock cars and have been going to Plough Lane stadium since 1965 . i travel to other tracks as well but with the price of fuel lately its getting very costly to go so Wimbledon is a cheaper option. I know many people who cannot get to other tracks so loosing the last track in London would spell disaster for them. Far the size of crowd that AFC attract they could find somewhere smaller to build on . wiggle96
  • Score: 0

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