Khan backtracks on Wimbledon stadium
13 April 2016, Blog
Labour’s mayoral candidate was forced to walk a political tightrope this week when questioned on his position over controversial plans to redevelop AFC Wimbledon’s stadium. The plans would provide a 20,000-seat stadium, as well as 602 flats, a crèche, parking, shops and a squash and fitness centre.
In his capacity as MP for Tooting, Khan had previously criticised the football club’s proposals to expand their greyhound stadium. Indeed, Khan had gone as far as to write to Merton’s Development Committee, urging members to reject the application. It would appear that Sadiq’s words fell on deaf ears, and the committee unanimously opted to approve the scheme. In spite of this, Boris chose to flex his mayoral muscles and call in the scheme for review. This means that his successor will be left with the unenviable task of ruling on what is fast becoming a political hot potato.
If the polls are to be believed, Khan now finds himself in the position of ‘Mayor-in-waiting’. As a result of his apparent advantage, he’s chosen to take an altogether less partisan approach to the plans. When interviewed by the Wandsworth Guardian, Khan stated that “If I were Mayor I would have to be very careful not to open myself up to challenge by giving a view as a potential Mayor that would jeopardise me looking at the scheme as a whole.” Expanding on this point, Khan explained “The job of the Mayor is to represent all 32 boroughs and so what I shouldn’t do is prejudice that decision by giving a view as a potential Mayor.”