Wimbledon expansion plans boosted by golf club vote
Plans for the expansion of the grounds of the All England Club (AELTC), the home of the famous Wimbledon tennis championships, have taken a step forward after a local golf club agreed to consider an offer for its site.
The AELTC is prepared to pay £63.75 million ($84.3 million) to take over the adjacent Wimbledon Park Golf Club, and on Wednesday the members voted in favour of a change to the articles of association that will enable all members to share the proceeds from a deal.
The AELTC already owns the site of the 73-acre course, but the golf club has a lease through to 2041, which will be terminated if, as expected, the members vote to move out in December.
If the deal goes through, the AELTC can begin work on redevelopment as early as 2021, while the golf club members, which number around 800, will receive £85,000 each.
An expansion of the tennis club's 42-acre site would provide more space for courts so the Wimbledon qualifying competition can be held at the main venue rather than at nearby Roehampton.
It would also provide extra space for queuing spectators and a second big screen viewing area.
A 75-per-cent majority was required to change the golf club’s rules stipulating that only members of at least 10 years’ standing would benefit financially from a deal with the AELTC, and this was duly achieved as the vote went 524-70 (88 per cent to 12 per cent) in favour.
The members rejected a previous offer of £25 million for the site back in 2015.
In a statement, Philip Brook, the chairman of the AELTC, said: "We are encouraged that the members of Wimbledon Park Golf Club have taken a decision which enables them to consider the AELTC's offer for the early release of the land at a vote later this year.