Wimbledon expansion set to be delayed until end of the decade
Wimbledon’s colossal expansion is set to be delayed as plans reveal it could take EIGHT YEARS for new tennis courts to be built after All England Club shelled out £65m to buy golf course so it could TRIPLE in size
- The expansion of Wimbledon is set to be delayed until the end of the decade
- All England Club want to bring the qualifying events onto an expanded site
- Preliminary matches take place at Bank of England ground in Roehampton
- But new plans reveal it could take eight years for courts to be built and be ready
- The All England Club spent £65m to buy Wimbledon Park Golf Club for space
The biggest expansion in Wimbledon’s history is not expected to be complete until the back end of this decade, taking longer than originally expected.
A consultation exercise with local residents has revealed that the ambition to bring the Championships qualifying event onto an expanded site may not be realised for another eight years.
The All England Club’s purchase of neighbouring Wimbledon Park golf course was designed to bring The Championships in line with the other three Grand Slams, in having the preliminary event within the grounds the week before the big fortnight.
The expansion of Wimbledon is not expected to be complete until the back end of this decade
The expansion, which would see the tennis event triple in size, could take eight years
It had been suggested this might come to pass around 2025, but that date now appears to have been pushed back.
The document states that if the relevant planning permission is granted ‘it will take at least six years to construct the new tennis courts within the AELTC landholding. It will take at least two years for the courts to be mature enough to be suitable to be used for The Championships.’
So it appears that for most of the 2020s the qualifying will remain two miles away at what is currently the Bank of England sports ground at Roehampton.
Novak Djokovic kisses the Wimbledon trophy following his win over Kevin Anderson in 2018
All England Club bought neighbouring Wimbledon Park golf course with the aim of bringing preliminary matches into the same site
All England Chief Executive Sally Bolton used the initial consultation exercise to promise that a collaborative approach will be taken with the community over the development at SW19, in order to maintain and enhance Wimbledon as ‘one of the most beautiful sporting venues in the world.’
Members of Wimbledon Park Golf Club voted to accept a £65million bid from the tennis establishment for its 73 acre site in 2018.
In the process the 750 golfers – who include the likes of TV presenters Ant and Dec -gained a windfall of nearly £86,000 each for allowing the iconic tennis event to nearly triple in size.
The purchase was designed to lead to the addition of new stadia and an increase of the current capacity of 40,000 and a reconfiguration of the traditional queuing arrangements.
Popular ITV presenters Ant and Dec (left-right) earned almost £86,000 each after the All England Club purchased Wimbledon Park Golf Club
The long-term desire is to build more courts due to the lack of large arenas beyond Centre Court (pictured) and Court One
The long-term desire was always to build more courts due to the lack of large arenas after the Centre Court and Court One.
The shortage sees Number Two as the third biggest with just 4,000 seats. Spectator demand often exceeds supply of seat availability on the outside courts, notably when British players are in action in the first week.
Planning for this year’s event continues on the basis of different scenarios, which will depend on the course of the pandemic over the next two months, and how government policies develop.
Ticket allocations have yet to be decided, with the hope that if the current encouraging trends with Covid continue there may be the chance to allow more spectators in for this summer’s event, which begins on June 28.
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