The Combined Associates Greyhound Racing Organisation
PLEASE READ: Imminent threat of closure of London’s last remaining greyhound racing track – A Statement by the FBGOA
This statement may be used as a basis for any communication to Local Councillors, M.P.’s etc. (see a list of names below) supporting the retention of greyhound racing and other activities carried on at Wimbledon Stadium.
Wimbledon Stadium is the only remaining greyhound racing venue within London’s postal code zone, all the rest have gone to developers, the last being the iconic Walthamstow. Wimbledon is the home of the Greyhound Derby and presently races on a regular basis.
The owners GRA Acquisitions, a subsidiary of either Risk Capital (a Venture Capital Company) and/or Galliard Homes has submitted a scheme to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with a small football stadium and hundreds of “dwellings” without a greyhound racing venue. It is assumed that the accommodation will consist of flats built and managed by Galliard. This scheme would be a disaster for greyhound racing, not only for London but it would have repercussions elsewhere in the U.K.
The small stadium scheme with dwellings, submitted by the owners is a 10 year project (as yet unfunded and estimated to cost up to £20m.) to bring Wimbledon AFC back to the borough is unrealistic for the following reasons:
- the current owners are already in significant debt and the proposals for housing do not comply with the Council’s plans for the site;
- the area has a high water table due to underground streams and is susceptible to flooding, is adjacent to a substantial electricity sub-station and a waste disposal site;
- the site is located in Plough Lane where there is already a busy commercial and retail park, hundreds of dwellings would not compliment the area nor sit well with the surrounding environment for numerous reasons;
- AFC Wimbledon is at present languishing close to the relegation zone of Div. 2 of the football league and is in danger of dropping out of league football. It could not realistically expect to raise the millions required to maintain a presence there from its present position;
- Having failed to finance a football stadium with other parts of the scheme underway the developers would have virtually achieved their objectives through default;
- The cost of abandoning greyhound racing will be in jobs, the loss of a leisure facility, the homing and relocation of the dogs with nowhere else to race in London which would cost in excess of £200k and as a whole, a very sad testament for London without a greyhound stadium.
An alternative scheme has been submitted to re-develop the stadium for greyhound racing and other leisure activities including stock car racing, from a respected businessman who has delivered iconic stadiums in Ireland and elsewhere, it offers maximum use of the stadium upwards of three nights per week, 52 weeks in the year plus other sports at other times. This plan also includes community usage.
If luxury homes are built on the site they are unlikely to sell easily and may be bought by corporations for limited usage such as “hospitality” for clients during Wimbledon Tennis fortnight. Funding for minor football would never materialise and a stadium might never be built so developers could justifiably put almost anything in its place.
Neither AFC Wimbledon nor the present owner’s plan should be granted planning permission at the expense of the opportunity to build “The Ascot of Greyhound Racing” within a London postal code zone. The football club has previously been offered alternative sites which have not been accepted and more local people go greyhound racing than attend AFC Wimbledon matches.
Here is list of people who you can write to.
You can contact these people via their associated council (where available a link has been provided to their website).
We encourage you to use the draft statement above as a starting point, but feel free to add your own personal thoughts. You can write to as many people as you like.
You can also give your letters to your trainers who will bring them to the track, or hand them in at the track to any WGOA committee member. We will arrange delivery (to save on postage).
- Councilors for Wimbledon Park ward
- Oonagh Moulton, (CON)
- Jamie Howard, (CON)
- Linda Taylor (CON)
- Leader of Merton Council: Stephen Alambritis (LAB)
- Councilors for Tooting ward
- Sheila Boswell (LAB)
- James Daley (LAB)
- Benjamin Johnson (LAB)
House of Commons
- Stephen Hammond MP – Wimbledon
- Siobhain McDonagh MP – Mitcham
- London Assembly member – Richard Tracey
All Party Parliamentary Greyhound Group
- Andrew Rosindell MP – House of Commons
- Lord Bilston – House of Lords
- Lord Lipsey – House of Lords
- Hugh Robertson (Minister for Sport) – House of Commons
This is just an initial list – further names may be added later.