AFC Wimbledon have taken a big step closer to their proposed relocation to Plough Lane after exchanging contracts for the sale of Kingsmeadow stadium to Chelsea.
The newly-promoted League One side intend to use the money received for Kingsmeadow, reported to be £2million, to help fund a new stadium at the site in south-west London where Wimbledon played up until 1991.
The sale of Kingsmeadow is subject to planning permission for an 11,000-seat stadium at Plough Lane being approved by new London mayor Sadiq Khan. The plans have been approved by Merton Council.
“This is a major milestone for us,” Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson told the club’s official website.
“The proceeds of this deal are an essential part of the financing of the new stadium. The vision of a return to Merton, with all the community benefits it also brings, is now becoming very real.”
Chelsea plan to use 4,800-capacity Kingsmeadow for their academy sides and ladies’ team matches.
AFC Wimbledon, who were formed in 2002 after Wimbledon relocated to Milton Keynes and were rebranded MK Dons, currently share Kingsmeadow with Kingstonian FC and will make “a substantial donation” to the Isthmian League Premier Division club to enable them to move to a new ground.
“This is more positive news for all concerned in the process of AFC Wimbledon returning to Merton,” said Kingstonian joint chairman Malcolm Winwright.
“We continue to enjoy a full and open relationship with Erik and his board, together with David Growns and other members of the Dons Trust Board, who continue to assist us on a number of fronts.”