Plans to expand the site of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships have taken a vital step forward after members of a nearby golf course agreed to hold a vote on whether to sell off their land to the championships.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club — which manages the Wimbledon site — had offered £65 million ($85 million) to buy out the lease of the Wimbledon Park Golf Club across the street from the site.
Members of the golf club have now agreed to change their constitution, allowing for a further vote in December in favour of or against the proposal to sell the course to the AELTC from 2021.
The proposal would allow Wimbledon to triple the size of its grounds, adding 73 acres to the 42 currently used to host the Grand Slam event each July.
The area could be used to host Wimbledon qualifying, which currently takes place at the Bank of England sports club in Roehampton, two miles away from the site of the main tournament.
Wimbledon already owns the golf club land but control of it does not revert back to the AELTC until 2041.
The AELTC has been worried Wimbledon is falling behind the other Grand Slam events – the Australian Open, US Open and French Open – all of which have made significant progress in expanding and improving their grounds.
All three of the other Grand Slams also hold their qualifying events on-site.
Members of the Wimbledon Park Golf Club have been offered £85,000 each as a settlement. The joining fee for the club is around £3000 while fees each year cost £1425.
75% of the 750 members of the club had to vote in favour for the constitutional change to take effect.