Wimbledon get ground go-ahead

  • Last Updated: June 6 2014, 17:16 BST

AFC Wimbledon has received the green light to proceed with a planning application for a new stadium at Plough Lane.

Kingsmeadow: The current home of AFC Wimbledon

A potential return to the club's spiritual home is a major step closer after an independent inspector's report for Merton Council confirmed that the Plough Lane site could be used for "sporting intensification".

Dons chief executive Erik Samuelson told the club's official website: "We are delighted with the inspector's conclusions. We can now move to the next stage of the process.

"There is still a long way to go and a lot of hard work to be done, but this is a significant moment in our plans to return to Wimbledon."

Last September, AFC Wimbledon submitted plans to redevelop the Greyhound Stadium at Plough Lane, proposing an 11,000-capacity ground which could later be expanded to 20,000. The construction of 600 homes was also part of their redevelopment plans.

Merton Council received other proposals on the future of the site, including a suggestion for a new greyhound stadium.

The Sky Bet League Two club will now refine their plans for a public consultation and subsequently submit a planning application.

AFC Wimbledon see a move to Plough Lane, and Merton, as a return to the club's rightful home.

The original Wimbledon FC were forced to leave Plough Lane in 1991 following the publication of the Taylor Report which, in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, recommended that all Premier League clubs should play in all-seater stadia.

The club played at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park until 2003, when they moved to Milton Keynes, having been given permission to relocate by an independent commission a year earlier.

AFC Wimbledon formed in 2002 in response to the relocation and have since played all their home games at Kingsmeadow.