Wimbledon chiefs have outlined plans for a new 8,000-seat show court as part of the expansion of the famous London tennis facility.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) wants to build the arena on land it purchased from Wimbledon Park Golf Club in 2018 for £65m.
An artist’s impression of the new ‘Parkland’ court – revealed as the second part of a consultation with local residents that began last month – shows that it will be set in a clearing within a group of ancient oak trees on the far side of Church Road. The arena will have a retractable roof and be the third largest court at the complex after Centre Court and Court One.
The AELTC hopes it will be ready for play by 2030.
The purchase of the golf club land has tripled the land available to the AELTC to 115 acres. This land will feature some 39 grass courts, almost doubling the club’s overall capacity, and mean the qualifying tournament can take place at Wimbledon. The new grass courts other than the ‘Parkland’ will not have permanent seats.
The AELTC said its aim is “to create an unparalleled, beautiful setting – Tennis in an English garden – that pays tribute to the heritage of the landscape”.
“The new show court, and indeed all of the grass courts, will be well integrated into the landscape, respecting topography, veteran and historic trees and important viewpoints,” the club said.
“Set in a clearing, surrounded by ancient oak trees, the new show court will be designed so as to be ‘at one’ with the landscape; it will feel natural and ‘of’ its context and it will be finely crafted.
“The sketches and illustrations here show a very early concept for the new show court, but importantly illustrate the size and location it is likely to be.”
The club said it is not seeking to significantly increase ground capacity, only considering an increase from 42,000 to 50,000 per day, and circa 10,000 in total over the course of the prior qualifying event.
With regard to the 11 months of the year when the tournament is out of season, the AELTC has promised to create “a striking walk around the lake perimeter” and to offer “community access to areas of the public park”.
They also say that they are “exploring [the possibility of] wider use of the grass courts after The Championships”.
Wimbledon chiefs said the plans are based on its two major priorities of maintaining The Championships as the premier tennis tournament in the world and delivering a positive impact for its communities, particularly the local community.
The AELTC announced in March that the planning consultation is expected to conclude in June, with a planning application to be submitted in July. Subject to planning, the project would then begin in 2022 with the various aspects of the plan being delivered in sequence.