Wimbledon Society Warns of Lorry Traffic Due to AELTC Plan

Says there could be 20,000 heavy goods vehicle movements in the area

CGI of the Parklands Show Court, part of the All England Tennis Club plan. Picture: AELTC

Wimbledon residents fear lorries will cause traffic chaos in their neighbourhood as its famous tennis club plans to expand. A group of residents have outlined their concerns in a letter to the council’s planning department.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has submitted plans to expand into the neighbouring Wimbledon Park Golf Club in plans that would span 67 hectares between Wimbledon and Wandsworth. Earlier this year it uploaded a series of new documents to the plans.

The Wimbledon Society fears there will be a “substantial increase” in construction traffic. This is in part down more than 54,000 cubic metres of soil which has to be removed from the site.

In a letter, the Wimbledon Society said, “We believe the environmental impact of the soil movements and substantial increase in construction traffic has been dramatically underestimated by the planning documents.

“This serious underestimate casts doubt on the proposed timetable as well as its environmental figures and calculations in this complex application. Without further clarity, the application should be rejected or withdrawn and further amended.”

AELTC estimates there would be just over 4,700 lorry movements for the project. But The Wimbledon Society thinks it could be more like 20,000.

It claims a “bulking factor” of 25 per cent has not been considered by the AELTC, this is where the volume of soil increases when it is excavated compared to when it is packed in the ground. It also claims construction traffic in the plan is show, as arrivals only, and said it should factor in lorries leaving the site too.

It created an equation which included the volume of earth being moved, the bulking factor, the journey each way and the size of the lorry. The society used this calculation to reach its claimed 20,000 figure.

It added, “Such excessive numbers of heavily laden lorries on neighbouring narrow streets are likely to cause major damage to roads and potentially to properties in the near vicinity through vibration. Is the AELTC willing to commit to Merton to make good any damage to roads and to indemnify local residents for damage to their homes caused by this intensive construction programme?”

Bird's eye view of how the Wimbledon Tennis Club could look by 2028
Bird's eye view of how the Wimbledon Tennis Club could look by 2028. Picture: AELTC

The club bought the leasehold of the golf course back in 2018, it already owned the freehold. It is set to take over the northern part of the course in 2022 and the rest of it in the following year.

If approved, the plans, submitted to both Merton and Wandsworth councils, in 2021, could increase the daily capacity of the annual tennis tournament from 42,000 to 50,000 a day. The plans include creating route around Wimbledon Park Lake and a pedestrian link between Wimbledon Park station to Wimbledon Village.

A spokesperson for the club said the AELTC is still reviewing the contents of the letter from The Wimbledon Society. They said, “The AELTC Wimbledon Park Project proposals were designed with two core objectives in mind: to maintain The Championships at the pinnacle of tennis and to provide substantial public benefit to our local community.

“Therefore, central to our proposals is the creation of a new 9.4-hectare park that will open to the public previously private land, as well as a new boardwalk around Wimbledon Park lake. We believe these benefits, alongside others such as an increase in biodiversity of the site and the planting of 1,500 trees, will provide a lasting legacy for our community to enjoy for years to come.”

Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter

August 1, 2022