AFC Wimbledon has moved a step closer to returning to its spiritual home in Merton after submitting a planning application for a new community stadium at Plough Lane.
The application to Merton Council seeks permission for a stadium that would fulfil AFC Wimbledon’s aim to grow as a club and bring substantial benefits to the local community.
Detailed plans will not be available until the council has completed its verification process, checking that the application complies with the requirements for an application of this nature and complexity. It could take a few weeks for the process to be completed, at which point the plans will be made available for public scrutiny.
AFC Wimbledon Chief Executive, Erik Samuelson, said:
This is the culmination of 18 months intensive work for the club, Galliard Homes, and our team of specialist advisers. It is an extremely comprehensive proposal covering every aspect of the development and associated issues. We ask everyone to be patient for a little longer before the details can be shared in a few weeks’ time.
In partnership with Galliard Homes, the planning application seeks permission to build 600 residential units, along with retail and commercial space and a leisure club. The master plan seeks to revitalise this part of Merton as it will bring economic benefits, including more jobs to the area, and add community facilities for local residents to utilise.
The Club is seeking to build a stadium with an initial capacity of 11,000 with permission to extend this to 20,000. This would enable Wimbledon to cater for growing support as promotion up the Football League is earned.
During the summer, the Club and Galliard Homes carried out an extensive public consultation, which helped to shape the final plans and Erik thanked all those people who participated:
The detailed feedback from the consultation is contained in the planning application and will be available when the plans are verified by the council. Until then, I will just say that we’ve been hugely encouraged by the fantastic levels of support our plans have attracted, and on behalf of AFC Wimbledon and Galliard Homes, I thank everyone who took part.
According to the Business Case set out by the the Club in 2013, funding for the stadium will come from receipts from the sale of naming rights to the new stadium, a Community Share issue, and a contribution from enabling development.
- Visibility from Plough Lane, which reinforces its involvement in the local community
- Capacity of about 20,000
- The spectators will be arranged in a bowl configuration which brings them as close to the playing surface as possible without compromising sightlines or run-off requirements
- The pitch and stadium facilities meet all football and rugby playing requirements in terms of size, run-offs, etc. to allow competitive matches up to international level to be hosted
- Sightlines from all areas meet or exceed the recommendations for viewing quality
- Provision for disabled visitors allows access to all parts of the stadium
- The hospitality provision comprises 1,200 seats adjacent to boxes/suites running along the West and South stands. In addition, there is a multi-functional space in the South West corner of the stadium footplate which provides a matchday bar for approximately 1,000 and which can be adapted for a range of non-matchday uses. The boxes/suites will also be used for non-matchday activities
- Accommodation for matchday activities (changing rooms, police control room, etc.) as well as for day-to-day management of the Club
- Parking has been kept to a minimum to encourage use of public transport. Space is provided for matchday broadcasting vehicles – this space can be used by visitors on non-matchdays.
The stadium will be constructed in a phased manner to allow the Club to maintain a balance between success on the pitch and the growing fanbase that will follow. At all times the objective is to maintain an environment which has a vibrant matchday atmosphere as well as an appeal for non-matchday use because of the quality and arrangement of its facilities. The initial construction will comprise the following:
- A capacity of 11,000 in four stands, using the space nearest the pitch. The design of the seating bowl will allow it to be completed in phases from this point and will take advantage of the availability of temporary structures which can now provide a high-quality solution to infill expansion space as necessary
- The north-east corner construction will be demountable to allow access to the pitch area for the purpose of increasing capacity through the phasing
- Hospitality space will be created to its full capacity. However, the top tier of the boxes/suites will be fitted out only when the demand dictates
- The pitch will meet UEFA standards
- Hospitality provision will allow access to all areas in all phases
- Viewing standards will not be compromised in any phase
- Accommodation for matchdays and non-matchdays as set out above