Wimbledon | Moving forward
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The site for the Wimbledon Championships is a step closer to more than doubling in size following the decision by the golf club just across the road, voting through a change in its constitution which could benefit all the club members rather than a select few.
We are not planning to build hotels, multi-storey car parks, a helipad, a shopping centre. Philip Brook
Wimbledon Park Golf Club holds a lease to use those grounds until 2041 but the AELTC, who actually own the land, have proposed bringing that date forward by offering £65 million to buy out the lease.
Until last Tuesday, that money would have been shared by those members with at least 10 years membership. That clause in the constitution has now been erased and all members would benefit from the buy-out to the tune of a possible £85,000.
This offer will now be put to the vote of the membership in December and if accepted will allow the AELTC to expand and bring the Qualifying competition into Wimbledon itself rather than be played some two miles away at Roehampton.
“The whole experience of being at Wimbledon we think could be transformed,” All England Club chairman Philip Brook said recently. “Most of the people who play qualifying lose and don’t ever make it inside of the gates of SW19, and we think that’s a shame, and we’re the only grand slam where that is the case. Bringing that event on-site would be fantastic.”
He added: “And this isn’t about building new big stadia, it’s about a wonderful opportunity…tennis in an English garden.
“We are not planning to build hotels, multi-storey car parks, a helipad, a shopping centre.”
Should the golfers accept the offer, then part of the land will become available to the AELTC at the end of 2021, and other parts available at a year’s notice.
The heritage of the land means it comes with numerous constraints, including some 40 trees which could never be moved, Brook said, adding that the club had already done initial work with external consultants who are familiar with Capability Brown, who landscaped the site, work.