A new 8,000-seat show court will be part of Wimbledon’s expansion into neighbouring parkland. The second consultation document on plans for the All England Club’s use of the 73-acre site sets out a broad picture of how it will look.
The new show court, which will have a retractable roof and be set within a ring of ancient oak trees, will be the only major structure and is expected to be ready to host matches in 2030. It will be the third-biggest court at Wimbledon after Centre Court and Court One, and will bring the tournament into line with the other grand slam tournaments, which all have a bigger third arena.
In 2018 Wimbledon’s £65m bid to acquire the land from Wimbledon Park Golf Club was accepted, and the club anticipates submitting a planning application in July with work beginning in January 2022 if the process goes smoothly.
There will be 39 new courts but, other than the show court, the remainder will only have temporary seating with Wimbledon’s priority being a sensitive development of the park which was landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century. Central to the plans is a restoration of areas of the land in keeping with Brown’s vision. The serpentine lake will be restored and a further 1,000 trees planted, including historic species.
Capacity will be increased from 42,000 to 50,000 spectators per day, which should make the grounds significantly less crowded, while Church Road – which bisects the two halves of the site – will be closed during the Championships, partly for security reasons.
A chief motivation for acquiring the parkland was to enable qualifying for the tournament to be held on site. It is played at nearby Roehampton but the plan is for it to be moved by 2028.
A new energy centre located in the park, meanwhile, will play a key role in Wimbledon’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2030.