Plans to demolish Wimbledon greyhound stadium and replace it with housing and a multiplex cinema could spell the end of 80 years of dog racing at the historic site.
It also raises the prospect of AFC Wimbledon moving back to site, in Plough Lane, just metres from the former home of Wimbledon FC until 1991.
The proposal, which has not yet been submitted to Merton Council, would signal the end of the UK's oldest greyhound track, which hosts the biggest dog race in the country, the Derby.
Galliard Homes – which co-owns the site with GRA Limited and investment company Risk Capital management – has appointed an architect to draw up plans to build 798 apartments on the site, as well as a multi-screen cinema.
It opens the possibility of AFC Wimbledon returning to its former home, because Merton Council has stated any redevelopment of the site should have an “intensification of sporting activity”.
The leader of the council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, has made no secret of his desire for Wimbledon’s football team to come to its original home in Plough Lane.
He said: “The council done everything it can to bring the club back to Merton.
"We have specifically made the plough lane site an area for sports intensification. Any development would have to go along with that.”
He added he was happy to set up a pre meeting between developers and the council.
Galliard Homes has appointed Battersea-based BUJ Architects to draw a plan which includes:
- 798 apartments (55 per cent one-bedroom, 35 per cent two-bedroom, 10 per cent three bedroom);
- 35 per cent affordable housing in the north-west corner of the site;
- a two-floor commercial building encased in a metal shell. The building houses five cinema screens, a restaurant and a bar;
- A multi-storey car park in the north-east corner and a basement car park with 775 parking spaces for commercial and residential use.
Greyhound racing enthusiasts are understood to be launching a campaign to save the dog stadium – which has hosted the Derby at the site since 1985 and dog racing for more than 80 years.
A source close to AFC Wimbledon said they were unaware of the development but would be interested in the site.
They said: “If the scheme was viable then I am sure the club would be interested in looking at it.”
Galliard Homes and the GRA refused to comment on the plans.
It is understood that Morrisons also bid for the site, along with four others owned by the GRA.
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