Plans to bring AFC Wimbledon to Colliers Wood have been drawn up by the council alongside massive regenerations plans for the area, we can reveal.
The Wimbledon Guardian understands proposals for a football stadium on the site of the Savacentre in Merantun Way, currently home to Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer, are being worked on by planners.
In what is being called the "Merantun Way transformation and AFC Wimbledon master plan", it has also emerged insurance giant Aviva has been identified as a developer to build a mixed use development of 1,000 new homes along with the 20,000-seater stadium.
The revelation comes just days after separate plans emerged from a property developer to demolish Wimbledon greyhound stadium in Plough Lane and replace it with up to 800 flats and a cinema.
AFC Wimbledon – which later this month will celebrate their 10th anniversary after Wimbledon FC was ripped from Plough Lane and taken to Milton Keynes – have long held aspirations to move back to Merton from Kingston.
It was believed the council had paved the way for the football club to move to Plough Lane after it earmarked the greyhound stadium site for “sporting intensification”, while the Merantun Way plans were never talked about publically.
Plough Lane remains the preferred site for AFC Wimbledon’s homecoming, the council leader insisted, despite the revelation that planners had also identified Colliers Wood as a potential site.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis said the Savacentre had been discussed with AFC Wimbledon as a potential site but that it was on a shortlist of potential venues, including a ground-share with Tooting and Mitcham Football Club in Imperial Fields – an option sources have ruled out.
He said: “The dog track is preferred but if AFC Wimbledon wanted to look at Merantun Way, it is for them to have decisions with our planners about that.
"We want them back in Merton and yes, we have big ambitions for the Colliers Wood area.
"AFC Wimbledon has spotted that and the appeal of the SW19 brand it has.”
He added any development of the Plough Lane site would need to include an intensive sport offering.
Instead, the council has proposed alternative sites in which to relocate Sainsbury’s and M&S.
The plans are part of ambitious regenerations plans for the wider area, including turning Merantun Way into a “boulevard”, as described earlier this year by Councillor Andrew Judge, the council’s head of regeneration policy.
The council has been allocated cash from the Mayor of London which includes £1m for revamping Merantun Way with adding footpaths, cycle paths and better access to Merton Abbey Mills.
Other plans for Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon include:
- Building a mixed-use development. This would include 100 homes on the Priory Retail Park, in Christchurch Road;
- Relocating Merton Bus Garage to Morden Industrial Estate and redeveloping the existing site for 150 homes and either shops or offices;
- Led by Merton Priory Homes, building between 700 and 1200 new homes on the High Path estate;
- Creating a Merton Abbey Mills “creative quarter”. Under the plans for this, a Sainsbury’s supermarket and 250 new homes would be built.