WIMBLEDON FACES WAIT ON ITS FUTURE
Campaigners behind the fight to save Wimbledon Stadium from demolition are facing an agonising wait as political changes have stymied their campaign to keep the short oval race track open.
Plans were approved in December 2015 for AFC Wimbledon’s new 11,000 all-seater stadium on the Plough Lane site, which would mean the end of racing at the famous track, which was opened in 1962.
Campaigners, led by Peter Gray and Michael Burnage, were part of a group that helped put the brakes on the scheme and persuaded thenmayor, Conservative Boris Johnson to call in the plans. Johnson said that his office would decide the outcome.
Since then, Labour mayor Sadiq Khan has been elected and has yet to comment on the issue. “There is a state of limbo at the moment,” said Burnage. “Mayor Khan was elected in May and there has been no indication as to what is going on. I understand that there are many priorities in London to sort out. I hope that Mayor Khan will look in to the circumstances surrounding our campaign and we will get a fair hearing.
“Our passion, commitment and high levels of organisation took our opponents by surprise.
“They underestimated our drive and abilities. This time they won’t be so quick to dismiss us as insignificant and unimportant. The problem comes for us that with higher stakes, we will need financial assistance from the promoters and the sport’s governing body to help us defend our corner on a level playing field. Are we up for taking the fight to the next level? With the correct level of support yes we are...”
Short oval racing promoter Spedeworth has organised a roster of races at the south west London venue which run through the rest of the season and through to New Year’s Day in 2017.
Spedeworth plans to make the season-opening meeting on October 2 a special celebration event to acknowledge that racing is still continuing at the venue.
Famous stadium’s future is in limbo