Wandsworth call on Sadiq over stadium

Wandsworth Council has formally called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to determine the controversial Wimbledon Stadium planning application himself and not hand the decision back to Merton Council.

In response to his consultation asking for views on how he should proceed, the council has written to the Mayor urging him to make an “impartial” decision on the scheme rather than allowing it to be decided by Merton.

Wandsworth argues that because the development lies on the borough boundary and will have a significant impact on both areas, the application needs independent scrutiny.

Merton firmly backs the scheme, which would see a new football stadium, 602 homes and a large supermarket built on the site of Wimbledon Greyhound stadium.

Wandsworth has expressed concerns, arguing that the scale and nature of the development would have a significant impact on people living in Tooting and Earlsfield and also on local businesses.

Previous Mayor Boris Johnson had called the plans in.

In her letter formally objecting to the Mayor handing the decision back to Merton, Wandsworth’s planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott states: “It is Wandsworth Borough Council’s opinion, and indeed your report similarly states, that there has been no change in circumstances other than the election of you as the new Mayor.

“It continues to be Wandsworth Borough Council’s opinion that a number of issues, particularly the impact of the development on public transport infrastructure are unresolved.

“Given the scale of the development and the direct and significant impact on the residents of Wandsworth, I remain of the firm view that this matter requires an additional degree of scrutiny and assessment by an impartial organisation. I would therefore request that you maintain the previous Mayor’s decision to call-in this application. Then a balanced decision on the application can be made which reflects and mitigates the strategic impacts on both boroughs and gives a higher degree of public confidence in the planning process.”

Cllr McDermott added: “The fundamental problem with this development is that Merton gets all the gain while Wandsworth gets all the pain.

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

“Merton has already stated very publicly that it wants the football club to return, but that cannot be at the expense of residents and businesses in Wandsworth, and nor can this be at any cost.

“There are very valid and sincerely held concerns about this application and these need to be examined dispassionately, objectively and impartially.

“Merton have demonstrated that they cannot do this. It is therefore the job of the Mayor to do so.”

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