Multi-million pound plan for Wimbledon Park upgrade
A new hockey pitch, protection for trees and redesigned pathways could change the face of Wimbledon Park if an ambitious multi-million pound redevelopment plan goes ahead.
A three stage plan for work in and around Wimbledon Park has been drawn up by the Friends of Wimbledon Park that could see the creation of a hockey pitch within an upgraded athletics stadium, including better stands and internal facilities, and major work on the adjacent lake.
To preserve the quiet family orientated nature of the open space the group also wish to secure Green Flag status, plant more trees and secure a protection order on existing ones within the 60 hectare site.
Nick Steiner, chairman of the Friends of Wimbledon Park said: "We are looking at this as a priority for this year.
"The tree preservation orders will help to keep an overall view because we can ask how the plan will effect the trees.
"It won't be easy because we are talking about a lot of money, owners and park users with their own interests. Everyone will have their own priorities.
"Funding will be a huge debate."
Dr Steiner believed the work could cost anywhere between £4m and £12m and he will be applying for funding from English Heritage, a fund from the Mayor of London and National Lottery.
The parkland and lake is owned by Merton Council, the sports club by the Wimbledon Club, and the private golf course in the western part of the park is owned by All England Lawn Tennis Club.
The sports track is leased by Athletics Club Hercules.
Clare Wood, director of the Wimbledon Club, explained the club, which supports top level hockey and cricket teams, would be working with the Friends and Council to bring the plans forward.
The hockey teams, play at facilites in Raynes Park.
She said: "The number one priority is the sporting facilities.
"We are looking at an astroturf pitch and lighting surrounded by the track that would allow the athletics club to still use the site.
"It would be a huge move for us in bringing the hockey teams to be right by the club house."
A survey found residents favour a 20 mile per hour speed limit, changes to the pavements and the redesigning of pathways into the park.
No planning application has been submitted but it is understood Wimbledon Club is working with an architect on designs and a meeting is due on February 11 with the council to discuss plans.
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