Friday, December 14, 2018

All England Club pays golf members over £80,000 each to demolish site and expand Wimbledon tennis footprint
a view of a city: Wimbledon will soon be bigger than ever - Getty Images Contributor© Getty Images Wimbledon 
 
The footprint of the Wimbledon tennis championships will soon be transformed. After a vote in London on Thursday night, the All England Club won control of 72 acres of land on the far side of Church Road, and immediately promised to bring the qualifying tournament on site for the first time.
The members of Wimbledon Park Golf Club had expected to keep putting and chipping on that land until 2041, when their lease was due to revert to the All England Club.
 But a huge incentive payment of more than £80,000 to each member – worth an eye-watering total of £65million – has persuaded those members to sacrifice two decades of golf. Now, development will begin at the start of 2022 instead.
At a vote on Thursday night, the 758 members of the golf club approved the deal by a margin of just over the required 75 per cent.
The result was a significant victory for All England Club chairman Philip Brook, who has been pursuing this outcome for the best part of the last decade.

Brook, who has announced his intention to step down next year, will leave with the expansion of the site and the construction of the No 1 Court roof as his two main legacies.
 Speaking in September, Brook said: “This isn’t about building new big stadia, it’s about a wonderful opportunity. There might be a second Henman Hill, all sorts of things. We think with the arrival experience, we could do a much better job with the queue if we had the land year round.”
The intention is to build about 25 new grass courts on what used to be the golf course, thereby freeing up the existing practice area – known as Aorangi Park – for other uses and so easing the crush around the cramped, 42-acre old site

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