AFC Wimbledon look set for a return to Plough Lane for the first time since 1991 after the signing of Section 106 agreement.
Representatives from AFC Wimbledon, Merton Council and GRA Acquisitions have signed the Section 106 agreement that clears the way for a new stadium for AFC Wimbledon near the site of their old stadium.
Following the signing, Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis handed the official decision notice to AFC Wimbledon’s Chief Executive Erik Samuelson, ensuring that work can now start on the new AFC Wimbledon stadium in Plough Lane.
The new development will bring to the borough an 11,000 to 20,000-seater football stadium, 602 new homes, retail space and a squash and fitness club.
Signing the Section 106 agreement, AFC Wimbledon and GRA Acquisitions Limited are committing to not only bringing a major new development and the associated economic benefits to this area of south west London.
They will also pump over £1.5million into local health provision and improvements to the local bus, road and cycle network. The development will bring construction jobs to the area as well as longer-term employment once the stadium, shops and fitness club are up and running.
AFC Wimbledon Chief Executive Erik Samuelson said on the club’s official website: “Everyone in football knows the story of how AFC Wimbledon came into being. A group of fans started with nothing; no ground, no team, no manager, no players and no kit. Now, fifteen years later, we’ve taken a giant step towards going home to Merton, in a new stadium and as a Football League club.
“This is a momentous day for us. Everybody who has helped the club to reach this point must be very proud. On a personal note I want to say a particular thank you to Andrew Williams, our project manager, and partner Daniel Norris of law firm Hogan Lovells, who did all the hard work in the background. I and the Club are massively indebted to them.”
Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “After a long journey, this is a proud moment and a historic moment for Merton. Our experienced planning officers have spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure this exciting development will benefit both the greatly loved club AFC Wimbledon, as well as Merton and the many families and fans who live here.
“It has been a pleasure working with the club since we granted the planning permission in 2015. I look forward to seeing the stadium and housing become a reality over the coming months and can’t wait to see the first game. Welcome home AFC Wimbledon.”
Reacting to the news, the Dons Trust Board said it was delighted with the announcement with Chairman Matthew Breach commenting: “This is another major milestone towards the rightful return of Wimbledon’s football club to Wimbledon and represents the result of years of hard work to finalise a complex deal.
“On behalf of all our members and Wimbledon fans everywhere, the Dons Trust Board would like to express our thanks to all of the many people who have helped the club get this far on the journey. There are too many who have helped to name them all, but in particular the support of Merton Council, the tireless efforts of Erik Samuelson and the tremendous efforts of the Bring The Dons Home campaign team have been pivotal.”
Image: PA Images (current home The Cherry Red Records Stadium in Kingston-upon-Thames)