New redevelopment plans for Wimbledon All England Club revealed

First published in Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter - Wimbledon

Plans for a multi-million pound redevelopment of the home of the Wimbledon tennis championships have been revealed in the latest stage of the consultation.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) is gathering opinions on the proposals as part of the Master Plan which will change the face of the ground for the 27,000 spectators and hundreds of other visitors who pass through the gates all year round.

A new fixed and retractable roof for court number one is the priority, according to a club spokesman, but the Master Plan for the iconic facility will see dozens of changes if plans get the go-ahead by Merton Council.

As part of the ambitious proposal, Somerset Road is set to be reopened at the end of this month and a tunnel linking the main ground to some indoor courts will be open, a number of the courts will be repositioned.

There will be planting and landscaping, and a remodelling of competitors’ facilities, as well as a major new entrance plaza to create a new approach from the north side.

Court number 12 will be repositioned with permanent stands and views to Centre Court. The new roof will not mean play can be extended beyond 11pm however.

This summer there will be 17 of the 19 courts in use but work cannot begin on the main proposal until the plans are approved by the council planning committee and a further consultation is held.

An application will be submitted to the council in due course.

Johnny Perkins, head of corporate communications at AELTC said: "We have to move with the times as far as our place on the international sporting world stage is concerned.

"It is where one of the top sporting events is held and we have to keep investing to stay on top of the competition.

"We will take people’s views into account and look at how we can change plans.

"We have already had a lot of interesting comments."

The publication of the Wimbledon Master Plan is the first step in a consultation process which will continue over the coming months with meetings, presentations.

It comes after a public exhibition held at Centre Court Shopping Centre on Thursday, April 3.

Once the public consultation has ended, the club will be assessing feedback. It will then submit a planning application to Merton Council.

Figures for how much it will cost have not been made available although it is expected to be a few million pounds.

It will be funded by AELTC.

It is expected work will be completed by 2019.

The championships will be held from Monday, June 23 to Sunday, July 6.




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