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Wimbledon: Deputy mayor of London to decide on expansion at planning hearing

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Jules Pipe, the deputy mayor of London, will decide the outcome of plans to expand the All England Club.

A spokesperson for the mayor of London said that a “full planning hearing will be held in due course”.

The All England Club’s plans include 39 new tennis courts and an 8,000-seater stadium on Wimbledon Park.

The proposal was referred to the Greater London Authority (GLA) after Wandsworth Council rejected planning permission in November.

The neighbouring Merton Council approved of the plans, but it required the approval of both boroughs to go ahead as the park – which is protected as Metropolitan Open Land – is shared between them.

The spokesperson added Pipe “becomes the local planning authority for the purposes of determining the application”, and this is a “major planning application of London-wide significance”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan excused himself from the decision-making process because he publicly expressed his support for the plans in 2021.

Both local MPs – Labour’s Fleur Anderson and Conservative Stephen Hammond – are opposed to the proposals.

“The plans as they currently stand are bad for public access to green space, Londoners’ lungs and our environment,” said Anderson in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

“The GLA is a world-leading local authority when it comes to putting Londoners’ health and our environment first.”

Hammond added: “It is correct that this application has London-wide implications and needs further scrutiny.”

There has also been strong local opposition, with a petition gaining more than 16,000 signatures.

The extra courts would allow Wimbledon qualifying to take place on site – in line with the other three Grand Slams – and the All England Club has also promised to create a new 23-acre public park in the spirit of the original design of landscape architect Capability Brown.

At least seven of the grass courts would be made available to the local community for the summer weeks which follow the Wimbledon tournament.

All England Club chair Debbie Jevans said it welcomed the news that the Mayor of London’s office will determine the planning application.

“Our proposals will deliver one of the greatest sporting transformations for London since the 2012 Olympics,” she added.

“We are committed to delivering significant social, economic and environmental improvements, creating hundreds of jobs and generating millions of pounds in economic benefits for our neighbours in Merton and Wandsworth, and more broadly across London.

“Protecting the future of the championships, as well as significantly increasing publicly accessible green space, is a win-win for Londoners and will demonstrate beyond doubt that London is the sporting capital of the world.”

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