Wimbledon residents have slammed the All England Club's plans to push for the expansion project of constructing 38 new grass courts, which they termed 'tennis Disneyland'.
Two years ago, Wimbledon submitted proposals for its project called the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project to the local council as part of its 2030 vision of transforming the site. The project aims to build 38 tennis courts and an 8,000-seater court with a retractable roof, called The Parkland Show Court, near a golf course.
Wimbledon says this will seamlessly enable the Qualifying event (currently held in Roehampton, out of the Wimbledon site) to be held on-site for the first time, and support The Championships for main draw matches, player practice, and new junior events.
In addition, it intends to increase the daily spectator count in qualifying and main draw events. Among other notable upsides include providing a 9.4-hectare public park and enhancing biodiversity. However, furious residents have opposed these plans and are planning to stage a protest against what they believe is the equivalent of creating 'a tennis Disneyland'
A joint meeting was expected to take place during the week, but Wimbledon officials declined to attend, leaving 250 angry locals vehemently criticizing their plans.
Two MPs were clearly against the expansion plans saying the project is 'too big', advising the AELTC to focus on redeveloping their Roehampton site instead of building new tennis courts which would result in an industrial-scale development.
In their defense, the Chief Executive of the All England Club spoke to the Telegraph and said the local community will benefit from having 23 acres of pristine new parkland available for use.
"Our planning application for the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project has been under consideration by the London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth for more than two years. These proposals have been rightly and properly subject to a very high level of assessment and consultation both prior to and since their submission."
"We are proud of the substantial community benefits included within the application, which include year-round permanent access to 23 acres of beautiful new parkland available for the free use of the local community."