Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District gets a YES!

The Love Wimbledon BID has received a majority YES from business voters to renew the BID for another five years.

80% of businesses voted yes for the proposals, enabling another £2.5 million of investment from businesses into the town centre over the next 5 years. Love Wimbledon received a 40% increase in votes since its last ballot when it was established in 2012.

Paul Windsor, Partner of WSM and Chair of Love Wimbledon commented ‘This is an outstanding achievement. The overwhelming support of the business community means that we are able to continue our work improving the town centre, helping to develop the strong business community and promote Wimbledon as a vibrant business hub for South West London.  Wimbledon is likely to see great change in the coming years and we will work to make sure our town stays a desirable and popular location whatever Crossrail may bring.’

Helen Clark Bell, CEO of Love Wimbledon said ‘We would like to thank the hundreds of Wimbledon based businesses for their support of the town centre and the visitors, especially residents and business employees,  who enjoy this great place and make it the vibrant and interesting town centre it is.  We will continue with the projects we have started so far that has helped make Wimbledon a popular, attractive, safe, interesting and better place.

This is one of the highest turnouts for a first term renewal ballot that a Business Improvement District has achieved, which demonstrates the commitment the shops, offices, eateries, health centres and cultural destinations have to investing in the Town Centre.’

Watch the announcement of the BID Ballot result here…

Wimbledon is a Place to Do Business

Love Wimbledon will continue its programme of investment, developing four core strategies:

Engaging events and Placemaking

Ensuring Wimbledon is an attractive, interesting and safe environment. This attracts more businesses, improves footfall and helps  make Wimbledon a happier place to be.

Leading marketing and Promotion

So everyone knows what’s on and where – it highlights the great reasons you should visit Wimbledon.

Business Services and Support

We help to reduce business costs (this works especially well for our independent shops and restaurants), provide business opportunities and improve environmental credentials.

A Brighter Future for Wimbledon

Ensuring Wimbledon continues to be a popular place to shop, eat and go out, attracting new businesses and by working to manage the impact of strategic plans like Crossrail 2.

From left to right:
Danielle Sweeney, Kevin Gallagher, Paul Harvey, Keith Alexander, Helen Clark Bell, Sally Warren, Paul Windsor, Tom Ruffell, Holly Campbell

About Love Wimbledon

Love Wimbledon was established in 2012 as a Business Improvement District. In that time we have delivered over 400 events, invested over £2.5million, saved over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and lobbied to reduce the impact of Crossrail 2 on the town centre. It is funded by businesses and is a not for profit company serving and working to improve the area for businesses, visitors and residents.

All BID levy paying businesses are automatically company members and are encouraged to put themselves forward to sit on Love Wimbledon’s project steering groups and Board.

Love Wimbledon has a baseline agreement with Merton Council which ensures its improvements and services are over and above those provided by the Council.

About BIDs

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have now been operating across the UK for over a decade. A BID is a legal body formed under the Local Government Act 2004. There are over 220 BIDs across the UK and Love Wimbledon works closely with its BID neighbours in Kingston, Sutton, Croydon and across London.

Recycle office furniture with London Re-Use

Wimbledon businesses can take advantage of a range of services offered by London Re-Use, an organisation which aims to reduce landfill and pollution by recycling re-usable office items.

The UK throws away over 1.5 tonnes of bulky waste each year which is destined for landfill or incineration. The vast majority of this is furniture or white goods of which an estimated 51% is either re-usable, or would be subject to minor repairs. This waste squanders resources, pollutes the environment and costs money. But all businesses could benefit from recycling uwanted office items. London Re-Use collects items from your premises, refurbishing and recycling them, and then offering them to other businesses at a much lower price than new items would cost.

For full details of this and all their other services please visit the London Re-Use website.

Update on Works in Wimbledon Town Centre

On 14 September UK Power Networks began emergency works to repair a fault in the power cables running underneath the pavement along The Broadway in Wimbledon Town Centre, outside the entrances to Wimbledon Station, Centre Court and Tesco. This work was due to be completed within seven days but it is still ongoing as they unfortunately identified other issues as the works progressed due to the age of the cables. These cables supply electricity to residents and businesses in the town centre and further afield and we are hopeful this will resolve some of the ongoing electricity supply issues businesses have experienced in the town centre.

Love Wimbledon has been lobbying both Merton Council and UK Power Networks on a regular basis to understand the extent of this work, applying pressure to ensure the work is completed as a matter of urgency, with minimal disruption to the town centre whilst also requesting that the area is cleaned and returned to its original state swiftly upon completion of the works. We have now been informed the work is due to complete on 10 October. UK Power Networks has already laid some of the area with tarmac as a temporary measure until the arrival of matching replacement paving slabs, which we understand are currently on order.

We can assure you we will be requesting regular updates from UKPN until this work is completed.

WHSmith is back in Wimbledon!

Love Wimbledon is delighted to announce the reopening of WHSmith in Wimbledon Town Centre.

The fresh, modern store in Centre Court Shopping Centre offers all the traditional favourites customers enjoy from WHSmith, such as stationery, cards, books, creative crafts and confectionery, as well as the benefits of easy access and excellent parking facilities within Centre Court.

Kevin Hall, Stores Director for High Street at WHSmith commented, “We are genuinely delighted to back in Wimbledon. We never wanted to leave in the first place and we are looking forward to a long and successful future in our new store.”

The Love Wimbledon BID Ballot has Begun!

Five years ago, the businesses of Wimbledon Town Centre voted positively to become a Business Improvement District (BID). The new BID, named ‘Love Wimbledon’, saw businesses enter a 5 year term and contribute an annual investment to improve the town centre. With the first term approaching its end, Wimbledon BID businesses have now ‘gone to ballot’ to vote to secure another five years of investment into Wimbledon Town Centre.

That renewal ballot for the second term opened on Thursday 22nd September and will close on Thursday 20th October.  Only Businesses can vote. The Love Wimbledon result will be announced on 21st October at 10am.

Securing the future with long term investment

An extra half a million pounds a year is invested by businesses into the BID. This delivers increased cleaning and security, hanging baskets, bee friendly planting, popular events (Big screen tennis/ Winter Wonderland / Autumn Arts) , Christmas lights, markets and pop ups – these are the things visitors are likely to see in Wimbledon Town Centre.  But it’s also the things that visitors probably don’t see , the work on reducing crime and improving safety, lobbying utility companies, getting dead trees replaced, pursuing the station façade clean or patrolling the streets to secure the removal of graffiti and fly tipping that make a big difference. The BID provides added cleanliness and street improvements that make Wimbledon town centre a much nicer place to visit. They are also working to minimise the impact of Crossrail 2 on the town centre.

Part of Love Wimbledon’s role is to let customers and residents know what’s happening in Wimbledon. They have  printed 1 million What’s On guides, have  6,000 followers on twitter, keep the town centre website up to date which includes a full business listing, manage very active social media and they work with local arts organisations and community groups to build longevity.

Why should the BID stay?

Love Wimbledon has provided significant positive benefits for the town over the last five years. The opportunities for the events programme, the marketing and promotion of the town centre as well as a cohesive placemaking strategy enables locals and visitors to enjoy the benefits the business community investment in a BID brings. Without a BID there is no additional investment to provide these additional initiatives and enable the links between the businesses and residents of Wimbledon.

Five Year Planning 

To get the most out of this business investment, Love Wimbledon developed a five year plan in 2012, which outlined targets and key performance indicators to enable a clear strategy.  These targets have been met; in fact Love Wimbledon has exceeded many of them.  Love Wimbledon has created its plan for the next 5 years (see here).

“Since Love Wimbledon started in 2012, we have made a significant difference to the town centre, to make it more attractive and exciting for residents to visit, increasing footfall, which encourages more shops and offices to locate here. This then provides a virtuous circle and leads to improvements for everyone. I am looking forward to securing the support of the business community for another 5 year term so we can continue to support Wimbledon town centre to be a strong town centre.”  Helen Clark Bell, Chief Executive of Love Wimbledon BID

New “Hopper” fare means cheaper travel

Travelling on a bus in London will become cheaper and more convenient for millions of passengers with the introduction of the new Hopper fare from Monday 12 September

Hopper will allow passengers to change from one bus or tram to another bus or tram for free within one hour of touching in at the start of their journey. It will be automatically given to anyone who uses pay-as-you-go with Oyster or contactless payment cards. Passengers could make extended journeys across London for just £1.50 for a standard adult fare if the second journey begins within an hour.  The new fare will mean an estimated 30m bus journeys currently costing £1.50 will now become free every year.

Transport for London is also working towards delivering unlimited bus and tram transfers within one hour from 2018. In addition, from 2018 customers who travel on a tube or train between their two or more bus or tram journeys will also be eligible for the Hopper fare.

Helping Wimbledon businesses keep lean and green

Love Wimbledon works hard to help businesses save money and operate with environmental responsibility. Over 25% of BID businesses have taken up recycling services and utility contracts with providers we have sourced. Through these partnerships BID businesses have saved:

over £100,000 on bills since we initiated our Meercat procurement scheme

over £135,000 on recycling and waste collection since we launched our First Mile service

Amost 700,000kg of waste has been recycled and businesses have saved over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of over 7,000 trees!

Love Wimbledon will continue to help businesses save money and keep Wimbledon clean and green. Find out more about these and other business services we offer here.

Polka Theatre plans major redevelopment of premises

Polka Theatre has exciting plans for the first major improvement to the building since 1979.

Earlier this year Arts Council England approved the first stage of Polka Theatre’s application for a grant of £2.5m towards the proposed £5.1m cost of redeveloping the premises. This is the first major investment in the building since it opened its doors on The Broadway, Wimbledon in 1979, pioneering the idea of a theatre dedicated to children – a stimulating, fully integrated venue, including performance spaces, indoor and outdoor interactive play areas, family-friendly café and activities. Since opening, Polka has attracted over 3.4m children, teachers, parents and carers from across London and the South East and its productions are staged nationally and internationally.

The planned redevelopment will be instrumental in helping Polka redefine and improve its visitor experience and provide an environment in which artistic excellence can flourish. Key features will include the creation of a National Centre for Early Years Theatre including a new auditorium for the under 6s and a multipurpose rehearsal space, as well as a new Creative Learning Studio. The plans also support Polka’s desire to increase its sustainability and financial resilience.

Polka Theatre invites any interested parties to come along to one of their drop-in sessions to learn more about this redevelopment and how it will benefit future generations of children and families.

Thursday 15 September, 6pm-9pm: drop-in anytime
Saturday 17 September, 1pm-5pm: drop-in and a panel discussion at 3pm

Venue: Holy Trinity Church, 234 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1SB (next-door to Polka Theatre)

If you would like to support the redevelopment by making a donation, then please click here or contact the Development Team directly on 020 8545 8368 or via email.

Wimbledon Town Centre shop vacancy rates remain low

Over the last year the shop vacancy rate in Wimbledon has fallen dramatically from 7% in April 2015 to just 4.6% a year later, and has been consistently lower than many other areas of London and compared to the UK as a whole. Over the last quarter in particular the vacancy rate has remained low while both the London and national rates have seen marked increases to 9.1% and 10.1% respectively.

Love Wimbledon strives to make Wimbledon Town Centre an attractive, safe, well presented and represented location of choice for business as well as visitors and residents. Our focus is on promoting the town centre and supporting local businesses and we aim to ensure the businesses, attractions and facilities of Wimbledon Town Centre are connected, clearly presented and represented with a strong collective voice, and to provide services to support existing businesses and attract new ones.

BID businesses offer workplace support for young people

Two Wimbledon BID businesses have joined forces to help young people with learning disabilities on their way to volunteering or paid employment. Wimbledon based retail technology specialist, Retail IT provides equipment, training and ongoing support to Merton Connected’s charity retail initiative Fayre & Square. The community shop is based on the Upper Level of Centre Court Shopping Centre and offers support and retail training placements to volunteers with learning disabilities.

Fayre and Square was born from the idea of supporting young people into employment. It provides supported retail skills for young adults and a platform for local independent artisans to showcase their hand made products to the public. Dozens of young volunteers have completed placements at Fayre and Square, with the majority progressing on to further training or volunteering and several moving on from the project into paid employment.