A shop next to AFC Wimbledon’s Plough Lane stadium has stood empty for nearly two years.

This is despite developers approaching 16 supermarkets including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

Aldi rejected the offer as there is a Lidl over the road, while Sainsbury’s said the turnover would be too low.

Tesco said it already had a store close by in Garrett Lane and Waitrose said it wasn’t thinking about opening new shops at the moment, according to council documents.

Iceland and Farmfoods both said a lack of parking right next to the shop ruled it out.

The development includes more than 630 new flats as well as a modern new football ground.

The project was approved by Merton Council in 2017 and AFC Wimbledon played its first game at the new Plough Lane at the end of 2020.

Developers Merton Catalyst are now asking for permission to widen the search something to fill the ground floor of one of the blocks of flats known as Stadia Three. 

It sits next to a gym set to be opened by Hybrid Fitness later this year.

The developer has had no luck finding a food or convenience shop to take on the 1,000sqm space.

A planning application to allow it to be used by a wider range of businesses, including cafes, nurseries or health services.

A letter from the developer said work to find a tenant for the shop space started in 2017.

It said: “Although there have been enquiries in response to marketing of the retail unit, there has been little positive interest from the supermarket sector.

"The lack of car parking directly accessible to the unit and the presence of supermarket competition have been cited in several instances as reasons for this.”

It adds: “The response to the marketing campaign has been mixed. It has clearly been successful in respect of the adjoining squash/leisure facility which is now being let to Hybrid Fitness.

“However, in relation to the subject retail unit, no proceedable interest has been forthcoming.

"Approaches made to supermarket/convenience retailers have confirmed that there is no interest in operating from this location.”

Wimbledon FC, as the club was previously known, left Plough Lane in 1991, first sharing Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace FC, before moving to Milton Keynes where they were renamed Milton Keynes Dons. 

AFC Wimbledon was formed in 2002 by dedicated Wimbledon fans who were not happy about the move to Milton Keynes.