The construction of AFC Wimbledon’s new £16m stadium has edged closer after communities secretary Sajid Javid decided not to call in the club’s planning application.
The football club, which was formed in 2002 after Wimbledon FC relocated to Milton Keynes, had submitted plans to build on the site of the Wimbledon’s Greyhound Stadium in 2014.
Development plans include a new 11,000-seater stadium and 602 flats to be developed by Galliard Homes.
The proposals were submitted to Merton Council in November 2014 and approved in December 2015.
The project hit a snag in March, however, when former London mayor Boris Johnson called for the plans to be reviewed.
London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan handed back planning powers to Merton Council when he was elected in May.
Neighbouring Wandsworth Council then appealed the decision and urged Mr Javid to halt the development.
However, he has now rejected the appeal, saying he was “content that [the club’s plans] should be determined by the local planning authority”.
This has now paved the way for construction to start on the new stadium, which will be close to Wimbledon FC’s old Plough Lane ground that was vacated in 1991.
AFC Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson said: “Now, at long last, we can start planning with confidence to give AFC Wimbledon a secure future at the heart of the community the club represents, as well as building many much-needed homes and providing a major boost to the economy of the area.”
Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis said: “This is fantastic news for the club and for Merton. We have always supported the return of AFC Wimbledon to home turf and now they and their legions of dedicated fans can look forward to the reality.
“We will also benefit from new homes and business opportunities for the area, which is very exciting too.”