A new football stadium for Plough Lane will be the end of greyhound racing in the UK according to a businessman Paschal Taggart, but the sport will fight the plans.

Wimbledon Stadium in Plough Lane is the home of the greyhound Derby, which attracts thousands of racing fans every year, but plans are already afoot to move the famous event to Manchester – this summer could be the final one in Wimbledon.

Wimbledon Times:

Diane McLean with her greyhound at City Hall in a show of passion for the sport

Speedway and stock car racing would also be likely to come to an end in the area if AFC Wimbledon move in and demolish the 8,000 seater stadium which has been home to greyhound racing since 1928.

It is the last race track of its kind in London. Stock car racing fixtures are held there every Sunday between October and March, pictured below.

Wimbledon Times:

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), the governing body for licensed greyhound racing, said it would appeal against planning approval by Merton Council for the 20,000 seat football stadium, which will begin as 11,000 seats - as well as 601 new homes, a fitness club, parking, a café and a crèche.

A GBGB spokesman said: “We are not certain plans will go ahead.

“If it is approved, there will be appeals.

“It’s not over yet.”

Between 1,000 and 1,500 people a week go to greyhound racing fixtures at Wimbledon Stadium, with 500 to 1,000 on Fridays, according to the GBGB.

Businessman Paschal Taggart, who put together a multi-million pound plan to re-develop Plough Lane which he said would make it the Ascot of greyhound racing, said: “It is a dark, dismal day for greyhound racing.

Wimbledon Times:

Businessman Paschal Taggart, pictured at a Wimbledon Park Residents' Association meeting 

“We had a good craic and I did my best – there is still a chance the Mayor of London will review it.”

He said a football stadium on the site would be 'a disaster' for the greyhound racing industry.

He said: “It will go downhill from here.

“I don’t think it will ever recover from it.”

Mr Taggart’s plan was never submitted to Merton Council to rival AFC Wimbledon’s stadium bid.

A number of months ago he vowed to swim the channel if the Dons’ plans were approved tonight.

He joked: “I am going to apply for a 100 metre pool in my back garden so I can train.

“I am going to practice two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.

“I just need a Labour council to approve it.

“Then in a year’s time I will be ready to swim the channel.”

Diane McLean, of the We Want Wimbledon group which supports greyhound racing, said: “It will go through, definitely.

“It won’t be game over on Thursday, that’s not to say the Mayor won’t think it’s a suitable development.

“Hopefully common sense will prevail.

“Unfortunately developers have bought greyhound sites purely because they are valuable land and they get closed. There were 33 across the capital now we’re down to one.

“It is down the greed of the property developers.”

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, said: “The council has ear-marked this site for sporting intensification and this has been agreed by the Mayor of London.

"The site is owned by the Greyhound Racing Association and Galliard Homes and they have submitted a planning application which includes a stadium for AFC Wimbledon.

"The council’s independent planning committee will look at the application in the context of the need to retain this site for sporting intensification, taking planning requirements into account.”

Follow our live blog tonight for the build-up, the result and the reaction.