Tennis fans could be watching Wimbledon matches from a new 8,000-seater show court by the end of the decade, if the All England Club’s expansion goes to plan.
A second consultation on the expansion programme has been launched, with a planning application due to be submitted this summer and work beginning early next year. The move follows the All England Club’s acquisition of a 73-acre site from Wimbledon Park Golf Club, across Church Road from the existing ground.
While the plans will increase capacity at the ground from 42,000 to 50,000, the aim is to make it feel significantly less crowded. With a retractable roof, and set within a ring of ancient oaks, the new show court will be Wimbledon’s third largest, after Centre Court and Court Number One. The addition will bring Wimbledon in line with the other grand slam tournament sites, which all have three large courts.
An additional 39 new courts with temporary seating will also be created. The changes mean that, from 2028, qualifier matches for the tournament will be held on site, rather than in nearby Roehampton, as currently happens. A new energy centre will be built too, as part of the club’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The acquired site is within Wimbledon Park, a stunning area of parkland first laid out by Capability Brown in the 18th century. The All England Club has stressed that its priority is the sensitive development of land within the park, in keeping with Brown’s original vision. The plans therefore include restoration of the lake and planting 1,000 trees, including historic species. For security reasons, Church Road, which runs between the two sites, would be closed during the championships.
Read more about this story in The Guardian.