The Planning application for the Greyhound stadium by Galliard/AFC was considered and approved by the Merton Planning Applications Committee on 10/12/15.
- The Application was subsequently submitted to the London Mayor by Merton Council.
- The application was ‘called’ in by then Mayor Boris Johnson
- Election of the new London Mayor took place
- We responded to subsequent consultation by Sadiq Khan (new Mayor)
- Khan subsequently returned the application to Merton Council
The following is an extract from the Chairman’s report in last newsletter which comments in more detail.
Summer /Autumn 2016 newsletter
Greyhound Stadium development – application called in by the Mayor (Boris Johnson).
Almost as we go to press, Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor, has decided to send the Application back to Merton Council. This is extremely disappointing given the major concerns we and many others have about the application.
In his announcement, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m confident the stadium and the leisure facility proposed alongside it will be of great benefit to Londoners and the wider community for generations to come. As such, I have decided to return the application to the local council to determine itself.”
This statement confines itself to the issue of the Stadium and leisure facility. No mention of 602 flats. Also, wisely, it does not mention any benefit to the local community.
Sadiq Khan made ‘affordable housing’ a key platform of his campaign to be elected Mayor, aiming for 50%. (He is now talking about a non-negotiable 35%.) The affordable housing content of the application from AFC/Galliard homes, passed by Merton Council, was only 9.6%. The stated policy of Merton Council is to aim for 40% affordable housing.
In the interim, Paschal Taggart, who represents serious Greyhound Racing interests and has long expressed the wish to build a new state of the art Greyhound Stadium at Plough Lane, has approached Merton Council for pre-application discussions with a plan for a new Greyhound Stadium which features a 40% affordable housing content. These plans are based largely on those he put forward for the Planning Inspector’s hearing in January 2014.
More recently, Cllr Alambritis, Leader of the Council, was reported to have had a private visit with Sadiq Khan. As we all know, this application has been highly politicised by the Council which had passed a motion, some time ago, to support the return of AFC Wimbledon. This was amply demonstrated by Cllr Alambritis’s public remonstration of our own Ward Cllr Oonagh Moulton and Leader of the Opposition (see the Wimbledon Guardian report of 15th December 2015) for having the temerity to oppose the application (he accused her of breaking the all party consensus) at the Planning Committee meeting on the 10th December. Cllr Moulton expressed concerns, as most residents have, about flood risks on the proposed site, parking and traffic disruption and an already existing lack of space in both local schools and doctors’ surgeries. Clearly, Cllr Alambritis considers personal crusades and political decisions to be more important than proper planning considerations and the concerns of local residents. “I appreciate it’s on her ward and she wants to stand with residents but it’s a few residents versus the many”.
This final decision by Mayor Khan reflects very badly on his campaign promises for 50% affordable housing and also on his stated objection to the application while he was MP for Tooting. His decision has been severely criticised by Wandsworth Council, whose local residents will be equally, if not more, affected by the proposed development. As I write this report, Wandsworth Council is considering appealing to the Secretary of State. We will also consider doing the same. end