William Eichler 23 August 2016

Council ‘badly let down’ by Khan’s football stadium plans decision

Council ‘badly let down’ by Khan’s football stadium plans decision image

The Mayor of London has been criticised for handing a council the power to determine the future of controversial Wimbledon football stadium plans.

Sadiq Khan has given Merton Council control over the planning application to build a 20,000-seater football stadium - a move criticised by Wandsworth as ‘disappointing’.

‘The impacts on our schools, healthcare and transport network will be very difficult to manage and we feel badly let down,’ Wandsworth Council planning committee chairwoman Cllr Sarah McDermott said.

The scheme had been ‘called in’ by former Mayor Boris Johnson who said City Hall, rather than Merton Council, should decide on a project which affects two boroughs.

Mayor Khan overturned his predecessor’s decision after a 14-day consultation in which the public was asked to comment on the application.

‘I have taken the time to consult local residents, businesses and other interested parties,’ he said.

‘Having weighed up all of the evidence available to me, I’m confident the stadium and the leisure facility proposed alongside it will be of great benefit to Londoners and the wider community for generations to come.

‘As such, I have decided to return the application to the local council to determine itself.’

Merton Council has welcomed the decision saying it is ‘absolutely thrilled’.

‘This is the icing on the cake in what has been a superb two weeks for British sport at the Olympics,’ council leader Stephen Alambritis said.

‘I am absolutely thrilled with the Mayor’s decision to hand the decision back to us and we look forward to the home-coming of this much-loved and well-deserving team. Merton wants to see AFC Wimbledon back on Wimbledon turf.’

Wandworth argues the site designated in the stadium plans, which is located on the boundary between them and Merton, will also see 602 homes (10% affordable) and a large supermarket built.

A spokesperson for the council raised concerns the number of new homes plus a stadium will create unreasonable pressure on the area’s transport network.

‘This is a bitter disappointment for Earlsfield and Tooting residents who will bear the brunt of this excessive development,’ Cllr McDermott said.

‘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.’

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