The Evening Standard newspaper reports that Wimbledon is seeking to expand into the nearby golf course it owns.
An 8,000-spectator capacity Parkland show court is proposed and 38 new grass courts. This proposal will more than double the current size of the AELTC.
The ‘Parkland Court’, which would be the largest after the 15,000-capacity Centre Court and 12,000-seater Court No1, is planned in woodland on what is now the Wimbledon Park Golf Club and could open by 2030.
In plans laid out on Wimbledon’s website as part of an ongoing consultation process, 38 new grass courts with temporary seating are also proposed on the land, bringing qualifying for the tournament on-site.
The All England Club currently spans 42 acres, including car parks, but would almost treble in size if planning permission is granted to transform the 73-acre Golf Club, purchased for £63.75 million from the members, on the other side of Church Road.
Despite the increase in size, the overall capacity of the grounds would only increase from 42,000 to around 50,000 persons.
Development of the land is expected to begin this year and, once the work is completed, Church Road will be closed during the Wimbledon fortnight and the whole 115-acre site – split in two by the road – treated as a single entity.
The additional grass courts would allow qualifying on-site by 2028, rather than the current location, three miles away at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton, which is up for sale.
The planning document revealed the new court, which would be situated among ancient oak trees and have a retractable roof, would retain the ”quintessentially Wimbledon notion of ” ‘Tennis in an English Garden’ ”and promised to be a world-class building matching the beauty of it’s surroundings”.
The document adds: ”The new show court, and indeed all of the grass courts will be well integrated into the landscape, respecting topography, veteran and historic trees and important viewpoints.
Set in a clearing, surrounded by ancient oak trees, the new show court will be designed so as to be ‘at one’ with the landscape; it will feel natural and ‘of’ its context and it will be finely crafted.”
The proposals also outline plans for public use of the grounds during the 11 months of the year when the tournament is not being held.
The club has promised to create ”a striking walk around the lake perimeter” and to offer ”community access to areas of the public park”, as well as ”exploring wider use of the grass courts after The Championships”.
Wimbledon qualifying is not expected to be played on the site of the All England Club until 2029, according to a consultation exercise with local residents.
Wimbledon Park Golf Club was bought for £64 million by the AELTC back in 2018 with a view to expanding the Championships and bringing qualifying on-site as early as 2025.
Members of the golf club received £86,000 each. But that process is now expected to be delayed and is still reliant on planning permission from the local councils.
In the consultation document, residents were told: ”If we receive planning permission from the London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth, it will take at least six years to construct the new tennis courts”.
”It will take at least two years for these courts to mature enough to be suitable for use in the Championships”. That means qualifying looks set to remain at its traditional base in Roehampton for the foreseeable future.
For more information on the expansion plans please visit the link below: