AFC Wimbledon have been told they can submit a planning application for a new stadium at their spiritual home of Plough Lane.
The League Two club, formed in 2002 as a response to the original Wimbledon FC relocating to Milton Keynes, have played all their home games to date at Kingsmeadow, the home of non-league side Kingstonian, and took over the leasehold of that ground in 2003.
However, last September saw The Dons reveal plans to develop the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium into an 11,000-capacity stadium, with the option of an expansion to 20,000, and an independent report for Merton Council has now confirmed the site could be used for “sporting intensification”.
Moving to the Plough Lane facility would see the club return to the area they vacated in 1991 following the post-Hillsborough disaster publication of the Taylor Report, which recommended all top flight sides (as Wimbledon were at the time) to play in all-seater stadia.
The original Dons subsequently shared Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace for a dozen years until the controversial MK move was finalised.
Speaking to Wimbledon’s official website, chief executive Erik Samuelson said: “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.”