For those interested in following Wimbledon’s expansion plans, the AELTC has made it second consultation on its proposals for The AELTC Wimbledon Park Project available online.
The new show court, and indeed all of the grass courts, will be well integrated into the landscape, respecting topography, veteran and historic trees and important viewpoints. Set in a clearing, surrounded by ancient oak trees, the new show court will be designed so as to be ‘at one’ with the landscape; it will feel natural and ‘of’ its context and it will be finely crafted. AELTC Statement
The Club’s first consultation, which outlined the research on the heritage of the parkland, along with its ecology and biodiversity, is also available.
The consultations take the form of a ‘virtual exhibition room’ in which the project is fully explained via videos, information wall displays, and consultation boards, while there is also a questionnaire at the end through which feedback can be given.
The focus of the consultation is to share the Club’s outline thinking and emerging themes for the proposed use of the landscape for The Championships, including the Qualifying event, and year-round activities, with thinking based on its two priorities:
- to maintain The Championships as the premier tennis tournament in the world; and
- to deliver a positive impact for the Club communities, in particular the local community
The third and final consultation, which will take place in June, will provide details of the final proposal.
Amongst the detail of the AELTC’s plan is to restore the remnants of Capability Brown and the English Landscape Movement of the 18th Century’s open parkland by restoring the serpentine lake, changing the treescape to emphasise the Brownian isolated trees and clumps, and re-establishing species that he would have used.
The project builds on the heritage of the park whilst sensitively integrating a world class lawn tennis venue.
To do this, the current AELTC grounds will be carefully reunited with the park, knitting together the English Gardens with the English Parkland.
The since demolished manor house to the south is replaced by Centre Court as the focal point of the estate, gardens, and parkland, linking to the lake.
39 new courts will be laid in the parkland adjacent to Church Road, located sensitively within the landscape to maintain the natural undulating contours of the land and to protect the roots of the trees across the site.
All these courts will have a Championships standard grass surface with temporary seating, and while one will be a new show court with permanent seating within the parkland, none of the courts will be floodlit.
The Parkland Court would become the third largest on the site, behind the 15,000-capacity Centre Court and 12,000-seat Court No 1.
AELTC said: “Our architecture is not a fixed style or a singular architect’s vision but based on the quintessentially Wimbledon notion of ‘Tennis in an English Garden’. Landscape and buildings work together, so that what you touch and feel gives a sense of the place and quality.
“The proposed new Parkland show court will sit within a loose ring of ancient trees, with an 8,000-seat capacity and a moving roof.
“It will be a world class building matching the beauty of its surroundings and paying tribute to the site’s rich history.
“The new show court has an important role to play in both the facilitating of the qualifying tournament and the Championships beyond the court and seating stand.
“It will provide the base for qualifying and junior players while also supporting year-round operations and generate enhanced community benefits and opportunities.
“Whilst we explored options for locating the new show court on the main grounds, the proximity of neighbouring properties and crowd movement led to embracing the attraction of a Parkland show court which could offer an unparalleled setting for a beautiful building and opportunity for community benefit.
“The new show court, and indeed all of the grass courts, will be well integrated into the landscape, respecting topography, veteran and historic trees and important viewpoints.
“Set in a clearing, surrounded by ancient oak trees, the new show court will be designed so as to be ‘at one’ with the landscape; it will feel natural and ‘of’ its context and it will be finely crafted.”
The grass court season runs from May until September each year in the UK and in order to protect the courts for The Championships, they have limited use before the last week in June, the week of the Qualifying event, but afterwards they can be used for tournaments and wider tennis use.
Out of season there will be no fences or nets, etc. on the courts, although there will be low level electric fences to stop foxes and other animals damaging the surfaces to maintain the openness of the site for much of the year.
Estate fencing needed to maintain outer boundaries will be sensitively done and in keeping with what is already in place on Church Road.
The wider landscape will be restored to a parkland character and reference the original Brown design to convey a sense of space with sinuous flowing landform, large swathes of meadow and long views, with trees framing views, softening edges and acting as focal points.
A small number of modest single-storey structures to support maintenance of the land will be built, discreetly integrated into the landscape to minimise visual impact.
Church Road will be closed to enable the two halves of the site to become one for the Championships period which, from a safety and security perspective, has been highly recommended by the Metropolitan Police Service.
The Club appreciates there is concern about lack of access for local residents and the temporary road closure in 2021 will enable to put in place the correct reactive measures to ensure it is adapting to needs as much as possible.
By expanding the site, the AELTC says the Championships fortnight will be enhanced by providing more viewing opportunities within a safe and secure environment, adding that it is not seeking to significantly increase ground capacity, only considering an increase from 42,000 to 50,000 per day, with circa 10,000 in total over the course of the prior qualifying event.
Currently in the middle of its pre-planning consultation process, the AELTC will be submitting a planning application for the Wimbledon Park Project in July.
Subject to approvals, construction works intend to start in January 2022 on the north part of the site, while construction on the south part of the site will commence in January 2023 at the earliest.
The Club estimates the qualifying tournament can be held on site for the first time in 2028, with the new show court estimated to be completed in 2030.
To view the Virtual Consultation, click HERE.