Wimbledon gained approval early Friday morning for a massive expansion of the All England Club ground, with angry local neighbors set to appeal the decision by Merton council.
The grand plans would allow the club to spill over into a nearby park and golf courses, a plan which has caused no little protest from homeowners in the toney south London enclave.
At a council meeting which lasted for four hours into the wee hours, Local politicians rubber-stamped the club’s expansion despite more than 2,000 letters of objection.
Plans call for an additional 38 other grass courts – plus an 8,000-seat showcourt. The layout would allow the Grand Slam to stage its qualifying on the grounds instead of relying on what are considered dodgy grass courts at Roehampton a few kilometres away.
The Save Wimbledon Park residents group said that plans would breach planning permissions already in place regarding the South London green space.
Wimbledon club boss Sally Bolton called the expansion “one of the biggest sporting transformations for London since the 2012 Olympics.”
The new plan nearly trebles the size of the All England Club footprint and wipes out a popular local golf course which is used for VIP parking during the July tennis fortnight.
The extra elbow room the new plan is expected to bring will allow for more corporate hospitality – a consistent money-spinner for the club where tradition rules.
The park in question was designed by famed landscape architect Capability Brown in 1768 and is under heritage protection. Should it go ahead, the expansion project will not be completed before the next decade.