Businessman Paschal Taggart unveils plan to turn Wimbledon stadium into 'Royal Ascot' of dog racing
A multi-million pound plan to transform Wimbledon greyhound stadium into "the Royal Ascot" of dog racing was unveiled last night.
Irish business man Paschal Taggart has revealed a new £60m plan to redevelop Wimbledon Greyhound stadium at Plough Lane at a meeting for councillors.
Mr Taggart had previously put forward proposals for a £30m four-tier stadium suitable for 6,000 spectators, but has since revised his plans taking into consideration the council's requirement for "sporting intensification" of the area and Christopher’s Squash Club, located on the site for the last 40 years.
The ambitious plans feature a new world class squash club with seven courts, a four tier 4,500 capacity greyhound racing stadium, supermarket and residential apartments as well as a multi storey car park, medical centre, dance studio and gymnasium.
Mr Taggart said: "The council clearly want enhanced sporting facilities so over the last few months we have been actively looking at that.
"We have come up with what we think is a superb plan."
Already credited with revolutionising the Irish greyhound racing industry, Mr Taggart is looking to repeat his success in the UK.
He added: "I’m not going to make any money from this.
"I will end up with a bill for the greyhound track but my objective is to maintain greyhound racing.
"We have done it in Ireland where we have improved facilities and it works like a dream.
"This is going to be the Royal Ascot of greyhound racing.
"It's like a mini Olympic village and I think it’s fantastic.
"If there is a better plan out there, then good luck to them."
The track has been home to greyhound racing since 1928 and has hosted the derby since 1985.
The current dog track is co-owned by Galliard Homes and GRA Limited who have previously drawn up plans for a 15,000 football stadium and residential apartments and have said they would welcome the return of AFC Wimbledon to the borough.
AFC Wimbledon have also put forward their own revised plans for a mixed use development featuring a 22,000 capacity stadium, starting at 12,000, 500 residential apartments, a hotel, education and retail space and an intention to replace the squash courts and gym at Christopher’s Squash Club.
Formal planning applications for the site have not yet been accepted with the council expected to have made a decision on which proposal will progress by the end of this year.
For more on this story see the Wimbledon Guardian next week.