Racing legend Charlie Lister slams plans to build housing on Wimbledon dog track in Plough Lane
Record-breaking dog trainer Charlie Lister has branded proposal to knock down Wimbledon dog track "disgusting".
The 72-year-old, from Nottingham, is the first trainer to win the Greyhound Derby six times and was awarded an OBE earlier this month for his services to greyhound racing.
Last week, Irish businessman Paschal Taggart revealed plans to revamp the Plough Lane stadium, which is home to the Derby, the world's leading greyhound race that has been in Wimbledon since 1985.
But the company which owns the site, earmarked by Merton Council for "sporting intensificiation", is partly owned by Galliard Homes.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Galliard had commissioned proposals to tear down the track and build 798 apartments as well as a multi-screen cinema.
That would leave London without a dog track and Lister, going for a seventh title at this year's derby which enters the semi-final stage on Saturday, said he was appalled.
He said: "I think it is disgusting that it has been kept quiet that a building company owned it.
"At the end of the day it looks as if they always intended building on that site.
"They haven't been good for greyhound racing at all that company and they have run the Wimbledon track down to the ground, it is a tip.
"It proves they haven't looked after it and that there was no interest in keeping it going.
"The track has been going for years and there are people there that have been there for years - Phil Rees and his son work there and his father was there before him and his father before him.
"It would be a big loss if Wimbledon goes.
"Where else would the dogs and trainers and fans around there go?
"There's only Romford and Brighton and Crayford around that area now.
"If they close Wimbledon then dog racing in London is finished, which is incredible."