This is the latest in a series of articles on the joint Galliard/AFC Wimbledon planning application for the new stadium.
Here we outline the background to our studies of parking and transport arrangements, how they have been satisfied, and how we propose to work with the local community and with the two local boroughs to develop a strategy to reduce parking pressures on match days.
How will the club manage parking in the area?
Whilst assessments carried out do indicate that there should be sufficient on-street parking to meet the increased demand on match days in the area immediately adjacent to the stadium, it is recognised that pressures will increase. The club will therefore work closely with the local community and with the two local boroughs, the London Boroughs of Merton (LBM) and Wandsworth (LBW), to develop a strategy to reduce these pressures. It is likely that this will include:
- identifying opportunities to provide more off-street parking – a number of potential opportunities have been identified which the club will be discussing with landowners.
- introducing, if necessary, additional parking controls to protect local residential areas. Most of the area is covered by some form of controlled parking zone (CPZ), although in many cases the hours in which the zones operate do not include all the times that football matches might be played.
There is no proposed parking for supporters on the site of the new stadium.
We have worked extensively with Transport for London (TfL) and with LBM and LBW over the last two years to devise these proposals. Our surveys of traffic movements were undertaken before the school holidays in July 2012 and have fed into the transport assessment. We are in the process of supplying additional information and detail requested by TfL, LBM and LBW to resolve any outstanding concerns.
How will people travel to the Stadium?
As part of the planning application, a detailed transport assessment has been submitted which considers the likely impact of fans attending games on Saturday afternoons and on midweek evenings. These studies have taken into account the addresses of our existing supporters and surveys of supporters undertaken at home fixtures at Kingsmeadow.
Based on these studies, we anticipate the following breakdown of mode of travel for a capacity crowd at the 11,000-capacity stadium:
The methodology of the transport assessment has been discussed in detail and agreed by TfL, LBM and LBW.
If the capacity of the stadium were to increase to 20,000 in the future, it is anticipated that a higher proportion of the crowd would travel by public transport. There would be some increase in numbers travelling by car, depending upon parking controls in place at the time. Based on current conditions, we would expect that up to 2,200 people might seek to drive to the stadium if there were a 20,000-capacity event.
Is there enough parking to meet the expected demand?
As part of the assessments, we have carried out very extensive parking surveys within a radius of 2 kilometres from the stadium. The specification of these surveys was agreed with TfL, LBM and LBW.
The surveys have shown that there would be enough free spaces overall to accommodate football supporters who choose to arrive by car. The surveys also suggest that currently there is a greater availability of parking after kick off times than in the period before the start of matches.
The surveys showed that:
Within the overall area surveyed, there are a total of 16,982 parking spaces. Within Zone 4 (closest to the site) there are 3,508 spaces.
- Of these spaces, 6,120 would be available to supporters at the time of arrival on a Saturday, i.e. unoccupied and uncontrolled; there would be 5,544 on a weekday. Within Zone 4 the numbers are 1,711 on a Saturday and 1,750 on a weekday.
- The surveys and subsequent analysis suggest that there should be sufficient on-street spaces available within the wider area to cater for the likely maximum demand, even if the capacity of the stadium were to be increased to 20,000.
- The surveys also showed that currently, after match day kick off time there is an increase in the availability of parking spaces. This suggests that even if available parking was heavily used by football supporters before the start of the match, sufficient spaces should be freed up to allow residents returning home during the match to find a space. This applied on both Saturdays and weekdays and to Zone 4, as well as the wider area.
Are there good local transport connections to the stadium?
The site is located approximately 1.5 km north-east of Wimbledon station (National Rail, London Underground and Tramlink) and Wimbledon town centre. Other Underground stations are located nearby, including Wimbledon Park (750 m west of the site) and Tooting Broadway (1 km east of the site).
Haydons Road is the closest National Rail station, approximately 700 m south of the site. In addition, Earlsfield station is located 1.4 km to the north of the site. Local buses 77, 44 and 270 stop close to the site.
The existing operating capacity of the bus network in close proximity to the site has been highlighted in the transport assessment, and it is proposed that a financial contribution be made to increase the frequency of buses along the Garratt Lane corridor at peak operating hours.
It is considered that the National Rail network has sufficient capacity to accommodate people travelling to and from football matches since the supporters will be distributed between a number of stations rather than all arriving at a single station, which is the case with most other stadiums. This has been recognised by TfL to be a strength of the Plough Lane proposals. Where necessary, crowd control measures will be put in place – for example, this might be required at Haydons Road station.
The capacity at the Wimbledon Tennis Championship venue is 38,500, and during the annual Championships each summer the public transport system appears to cope with the spectator numbers, albeit with some mitigation measures. However, the Tennis Championship will not coincide with proposed football use at the site, since it is held during the summer when football is not played; this is of course not the case with the current use of the site as a greyhound stadium.
Will there be parking on site for away teams’ supporter coaches?
There will be no parking on site for coaches, only an agreed off-site drop-off point. However, we will be happy to agree, as part of the planning application, appropriate conditions for the parking of coaches. We will be happy to agree to a stipulation that coaches cannot be parked on local residential roads. As a result we are about to commence discussions with local businesses that have land available for coach parking on match days.
How will crowds coming to and from the stadium be managed?
These issues would be managed through a Stadium Management Plan. It is recognised that the management of crowds arriving at and departing from the Stadium will depend upon the size of the event, will change over time, and will depend upon the success of the Club and changing external conditions. This will be managed by agreeing a flexible management strategy with TfL, LBM, LBW and the Police. A series of different plans will be in place.
A Stadium Management Plan Strategy has been drawn up. It has identified the various plans that will be required, what issues these will need to address and who will be responsible for approving them. The detailed plans will need to be submitted and agreed with the relevant authorities before the first occupation of the Stadium. They will cover a range of issues including:
- crowd control outside the Stadium and at stations and on routes between the Stadium and stations;
- parking controls, including potential changes to CPZ arrangements and one-off controls for large events;
- coach parking arrangements;
- possible need for road closures.
These plans and controls will be subject to frequent review, and any changes will need to be agreed by the relevant authorities. A comprehensive review would be required before any decision is made to increase the stadium capacity from 11,000.