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AFC Wimbledon's new Plough Lane stadium delayed

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Media captionWimbledon suffer new stadium setback

AFC Wimbledon's plans to build a new stadium have suffered a setback after the Mayor of London said his office would decide whether they went ahead.

Merton council approved an application to develop the greyhound stadium site in Plough Lane last year, but neighbouring Wandsworth objected.

A new consultation will take place, with a final decision due later this year.

Labour's mayoral contender Sadiq Khan has opposed the plans.

Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson said he was "disappointed".

'Serious impact'

In December, Wandsworth Council's planning chair called on the Mayor to step in, saying the plans for a 20,000-seater stadium, leisure centre and 602 flats would have a "serious and adverse" impact in Wandsworth, especially in Earlsfield and Tooting.

Councillor Sarah McDermott cited fears that local hospital and GP services would be oversubscribed, and that the planned on-site supermarket would threaten local shops.

Image copyright Galliard Homes
Image caption Neighbouring Wandsworth objects to the scope of the plans

She also had concerns about parking and transport.

"We are certainly not opposed to the site being developed, nor to it being used for a football ground and to provide new homes," she said.

"But we are opposed to this specific application because in our view it simply does not properly address or offer any solutions to the problems it will create in the area."

Mr Khan, who holds the nearby Tooting constituency, also objected to the plans last year.

'Setback'

Mr Samuelson said the club "would immediately set about understanding the detailed reasons for the Mayor's decision".

"While this is a setback, the story is not over," he added.

"We have made a very strong case for the application and we will do so again. We remain confident that we will be successful, albeit after some delay to our aspirations."

Image caption Greyhounds race in a final at Wimbledon stadium in 1963

Wimbledon FC left its original home at Plough Lane in 1991 because legislation demanded all-seater stadiums. It shared Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park before moving to Milton Keynes.

Many fans protested against the move and decided to form AFC Wimbledon as a non-League club. It rose back to league status and currently plays at Kingsmeadow in Kingston-upon-Thames.

The forthcoming closure of the Wimbledon dog track - the last greyhound stadium with a London postcode - was recently described as a "crime against happiness" by the Racing Post.

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