Supreme Court ruling may impact Wimbledon Park

Cllr Paul Kohler consults lawyers on next steps

A recent Supreme Court decision has delayed controversial plans to build a 10 storey stadium, maintenance complex and 9km of new roads on parts of Wimbledon Park.

In R (Day) v Shropshire Council [2023] the UK’s highest court held that, in some circumstances, land remains bound by a 'public trust' even after being sold. This means it must continue to be managed on behalf of the public and their interest considered in any future planning application.

Cllr Paul Kohler, who is also an academic lawyer, said:

“When Merton Council sold Wimbledon Park golf course to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in 1993, they appear to have tried to preserve the public trust, rather than terminate it, by imposing restrictions to prevent the land being built on and ensuring Merton residents could use the golf course, even if they were not a member.”

"If that is the case, it seems likely the land is still subject to the trust; although the AELTC dispute whether the land was ever subject to such an arrangement.”

"I approached Leigh Day, the solicitors who brought the case in the Supreme Court and who also represented me, when I took Sadiq Khan to the High Court to stop him closing Wimbledon police station.”

"In their view, the new case is relevant and we are in discussions about how they might assist if a legal challenge becomes necessary".

At the time of writing, Merton Council is still considering its position.

Cllr Paul Kohler