Introduction of new parking measures to combat supporters driving to Dons’ Plough Lane stadium causing ructions in Earlsfield, Tooting and Summerstown
AFC Wimbledon’s new Plough Lane Stadium (
Image: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages)
AFC Wimbledon’s new Plough Lane stadium is at the centre of a furious row between residents who live in the surrounding areas and their local council.
The Dons made an emotional return to their spiritual home last season after building the new 9,300-capacity ground on the site of the old Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium, which sat next door to their original dwelling.
And fans of the League One club will be welcomed in proper numbers for the first time on Saturday, August 14 when newly promoted Bolton are the visitors for their first home game of the season.
However, the imminent return of supporters after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions has prompted the introduction of new parking measures in the nearby south-west London enclaves of Earlsfield, Tooting and Summerstown.
AFC Wimbledon’s Ethan Chislett battles with Dannie Bulman of Crawley Town in their sides’ FA Cup second-round clash at Plough Lane in the 2020-21 campaign
And locals are raging that the rule changes will hit them in their pockets through no fault of their own.
While AFC Wimbledon’s new stadium sits in the London Borough of Merton, it borders the London Borough of Wandsworth, in which the three neighbourhoods lie.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, the MP for Tooting, said: “Wandsworth Council are using the AFC Wimbledon development as a cash-grab opportunity to fleece local residents.
“The simple solution here is to restrict parking on match days, which is a scheme used by other councils with stadiums.
“Wandsworth should do the same. In the meantime, Wandsworth Council should suspend the changes with immediate effect.
Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan has pulled no punches in the row over parking between residents living near to AFC Wimbledon’s ground and Wandsworth Council
Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror)
“Changes to parking have been poorly communicated, rushed and residents have not been properly consulted.
“Wandsworth Council are surging ahead despite just one-in-eight residents taking part in the original consultation.”
Currently, parking restrictions in many of the surrounding streets run from 930am to 430pm Monday to Friday but, from September, they will be increased from 930am to 930pm seven days a week.
During the consultation process, many locals asked for the same Event Day Parking restrictions that are in place around Chelsea ’s Stamford Bridge, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Arsenal ’s Emirates Stadium to be introduced.
While some also asked for extended controlled parking zone hours of 930am to 930pm Monday to Friday to cover conferencing events taking place at the Dons’ stadium.
Wandsworth Council decided against implementing either of those, and chose instead to introduce a blanket seven-day-a-week controlled parking zone for 12 hours a day.
Locals living around Plough Lane had, on the whole, welcomed Wimbledon’s return after their 30-year exile as the site on which their new stadium is built was in need of serious regeneration.
And the building work — the stadium is surrounded by the SW17CH complex of new-build apartments — hasn’t caused anything like the disruption many feared it would.
However, as the Dons prepare to kick off their first full season at their new home, there is now widespread upset within the local communities over the parking issue with the councils facing a major battle to resolve it.
2021-22 EFL season: Key dates, rule changes and everything else you need to know
What Derby County’s threadbare squad looks like as Wayne Rooney bemoans transfer struggles