New offices for Morrisons Solicitors

On Monday 4th April Morrisons Solicitors will be opening new offices in recently refurbished Connect House, Alexandra Road.

The team of experienced legal professionals is thrilled to be growing with, and supporting the vibrant Wimbledon business community, following a very busy year.

Morrisons Solicitors offer a full range of legal services for individuals, families, businesses and organisations, and look forward to continuing their strong relationships with them.

Managing Partner Paul Harvey commented,
“I am delighted to announce the expansion of our Wimbledon office with a relocation to much larger premises and the new offices on Alexandra Road are going to make for a great working environment for the team. Wimbledon is an exciting place to be at the moment and we now feel that we are even better placed to support the growth of the town. Over the last year our team has identified an increase in demand for our legal services for both businesses and individuals, so it really is a good time to be investing in the Wimbledon area.”

Morrisons Solicitors LLP boasts a 286-year history and is one of the largest firms covering Surrey and South West London with offices in Wimbledon, Redhill, Woking, Camberley and Teddington.

For more details about the move, please visit their website.

Reed Wimbledon collects hundreds of Easter Eggs for children’s charity Jigsaw4U

Following an appeal for Easter eggs launched earlier this month, Reed Wimbledon has collected over 400 Easter eggs in just a couple of weeks.

The recruitment agency, based in Wimbledon Bridge House, Hartfield Road, appealed for people to drop off chocolate eggs that could then be donated to Jigsaw4u, a charity helping children and young people through trauma, loss and bereavement. Thanks to a huge swell of generosity from Wimbledon residents, over 400 eggs were collected. Reed Wimbledon matched these donations and officially presented them to Jigsaw4U in time for Easter.

Reed Wimbledon business manager, Wendy Raffety Palhaco, is thrilled with residents’ generosity.

She said: “It has been fantastic. I can’t believe how wonderful the clients have been. We have been very blessed. There are a lot of good hearts in Wimbledon. I’m proud to be working in Wimbledon.”

New Arts Space for Wimbledon Library

Arts Council England has awarded Merton Council a £62,000 grant which will be spent on refurbishing the back of Wimbledon Library to create a flexible out-of-hours performance and exhibition space. The award of the grant follows a successful bid from the council’s libraries and heritage service.

Called the Merton Arts Space project, the council is set to create a flexible area to include movable bookcases as well as chairs and tables and sound and lighting rigs which organisations will be able to use after library opening hours to stage their own events. The space will enrich the council’s cultural offer to the people of Merton, and attract library users and residents to the library to enjoy and benefit from a broad arts programme. As well as exhibitions and performances, there will also be impromptu “scratch sessions”, which will give the audience the opportunity to see new work being developed in comedy, music and other performing arts.

The council is expecting to open the new space this summer. A programme of events is expected to be published in early June.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “Merton’s Officers worked hard to obtain this funding, which we will use to further enhance our award-winning library service. It will mean that community groups will be able to stage performances in an iconic, historic place right at the heart of Wimbledon.  Our cultural offer will become all the richer for it and I can’t wait to see the performances that arts groups will be putting on there in months to come.”

Summary Report released from Crossrail 2

Love Wimbledon has learned that Crossrail 2 has released its SUMMARY report [Crossrail 2 Consultation Report] on the recent consultation and is available to view here.

The document is 353 pages long, Wimbledon is on page 69 (on PDF reader ) or 61 (on their document). There were 2,369 respondents to Question 27 about the proposals for a Crossrail 2 station at Wimbledon.

There are no conclusions in this document but it summarises the voice of Wimbledon and the areas of concerns from the responses. Crossrail 2 will be further examining this data and releasing their findings in the summer.

We spoke with Crossrail 2 who have commented: ‘We are now continuing to analyse the ideas and comments received in the consultation at the same time as completing further design and development work. This will help us refine the scheme in response to the feedback we received. We expect to publish our response to the issues and concerns raised during the consultation in the summer, ahead of sharing proposals in further consultations which are expected later in the year’.

We would like to thank all the businesses who participated in the feedback and will continue to keep you abreast of any updates.

We want to see Wimbledon stay great for businesses before, during and after any potential development.

Love Wimbledon Annual Stakeholder Forum 2016

Wimbledon businesses, residents and representatives from the local council, press, police, community groups and business groups were all in attendance at 2016 Love Wimbledon Stakeholder Meeting held on 9 February. 2016 is a very important year for Wimbledon Town Centre and Love Wimbledon with Crossrail 2 plans coming to light and the BID’s renewal taking place this year.

BID Manager Helen Clark Bell shared an insightful analysis of Love Wimbledon’s achievements in 2015 and the positive effect this work has had for business and residents. Dramatic increases of footfall during events such as ‘Wimbledon Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Big Screen Tennis’ and over 75 days of activity on The Piazza added vibrancy of the town; Saving Wimbledon businesses £110,000 through our joint procurment scheme; Recording a record 1.7% retail vacancy rate and distributing over 2,500 Privilege Cards were among some of the key successes of the year.

Strategic Marketing Consultant Sally Warren provided an update on the progress with the Crossrail 2 proposals and discussed the possible opportunities that could be gained from Crossrail 2. In the presentation there was a great emphasis on Wimbledon ‘staying open for business’ during the works and that ‘high quality, sustainable development’ is key.

During the session, attendees voiced their praise for the work Love Wimbledon has achieved. Marcus Beale of Marcus Beale Architects commented that ‘Love Wimbledon is working professionally to make great plans happen. I walk away from this meeting feeling positive about the future for Wimbledon’.

Attendees were given the opportunity to input their ideas and requests for Wimbledon Town Centre. Hot topics included attracting independent businesses to town, the YMCA development and maintaining Wimbledon’s heritage with new building works on the horizon.

Love Wimbledon Board Member, Mark Walker ended that ‘it’s an exciting time for Wimbledon. Love Wimbledon will continue the great day to day work, whilst looking forward. In light of the introduction of Crossrail 2 the BID will 1. Input into the Future Wimbledon Masterplan – critical importance, it demonstrates that the town has a vision. 2. The BID will co-ordinate with other community groups, as together we are stronger. 3. The BID will be tenacious and lobby hard on behalf of the businesses of the town centre to gain the outcome from the Crossrail 2 plans.

Waterstones and WHSmith Units, Wimbledon Bridge House

It was with much sadness that Love Wimbledon learned in 2015 that Wimbledon’s large WHSmith and Waterstones stores would be closing. There is a new store expected to open in the units in 2016: Metro Bank. This new store is a retail bank which will incorporate a regional training centre.

Love Wimbledon is working with Waterstones and WHSmith to identify suitable new locations for the businesses in the town centre. As a Business Improvement District we want, like many customers and residents, to continue to see popular stores in our town centre and these would include WHSmith and Waterstones.

In autumn 2015 when Metro Bank applied for changes to the building, Love Wimbledon was at the forefront of lobbying the council to consider the impact the change of use could have on Wimbledon Town Centre. Our concerns highlighted in the comments included:

‘Opening a bank on this site will further restrict customer choice in the town centre by closing two significant anchor retailers, reducing Wimbledon’s attractiveness and retail diversity, thereby reducing footfall to the area.’

We also saw one aspect of the changes as a potentially positive addition to the town centre:

‘Love Wimbledon welcomes the redevelopment proposal for the ‘pocket park’ and public realm area, although we would recommend taking the advice of the Met Police Designing Out Crime initiative before final plans are approved for this area. We also support the introduction of an additional CCTV camera on Wimbledon Bridge.’ (This is the area between Waitrose and WHSmith)

At the moment a date for Metro Bank opening has not been set. We will keep our businesses and customers informed of any changes we know about so that you will be the first to hear where and when Waterstones and WHSmith will be back.

In the meantime the town centre has a wide variety of shops and just as a reminder:

Stationery can be bought at Rymans and Fielders.

Cards at Paperchase, Clintons, Oliver Bonas and Elys

Books can be ordered on line and collected from Doddle or get your second hand books from Copperfields.

There is the smaller WHSmiths News on the station forecourt for all the above – all right in the heart of Wimbledon Town Centre.

Love Wimbledon’s response to the Crossrail 2 consultation

Love Wimbledon’s formal response to Crossrail 2 consultation is shared below:

7th January 2016

Dear Crossrail 2

Love Wimbledon is the Business Improvement District for the town centre and we represent 430 businesses and over 15,000 employees and growing. With over 60% of Merton’s employment in Wimbledon Town Centre, it is a crucial commercial and economic centre not only for the borough but for the wider area.

Love Wimbledon BID support Crossrail 2 coming to Wimbledon but it must not be delivered at the expense of the economic wellbeing of the town. Wimbledon already has excellent transport links which provide the means of us attracting skilled employees from much of London. There is pent up demand for commercial space in Wimbledon with many existing businesses looking to expand and many others outside the area currently looking at locating here if a suitable site becomes available.

If residential growth is achieved in London, urban town centres will have an important role in providing the employment, opportunities and things to do including shopping and going out that reflects a growing city.

Wimbledon town centre must retain its vibrancy and congenial environment, and stay well and truly open and accessible during construction. Disruption must be minimised so that it continues to be a place of choice to own or run a business and it continues to remain an attractive option for employees, residents and visitors.

Please consider the following in your proposal for Wimbledon Town Centre:
Revisit Tunnelling Proposals

Currently there is only one option proposed. At the next consultation we would request the inclusion of an alternative tunnelling option to be included for non-stopping Waterloo fast trains below Wimbledon station.
In the planning process

  • Clear communication and detailed consultation with all businesses and stakeholders of the town
  • An understanding that Wimbledon is a busy and functioning town centre which is clearly reflected within the proposals
  • Awareness of the potential for blight caused by uncertainty of plans
  • Early resolution of the current overcrowding issues at Wimbledon Station
  • Provide detailed phasing plans of all work allowing for relocation of businesses within the town
  • Full impact assessments undertaken and shared (including economic, transport and environmental)

During construction

  • Minimise the impact of the construction on Wimbledon shops, businesses and cultural spots so Wimbledon remains working and is well and truly open for business
  • Be sensitive to the town centre’s functionality when planning for various stages of construction
  • Provide minimal disruption to our current transport services taking into account the impact of road, pedestrian and cycle provision as well as public transport
  • Work closely with Love Wimbledon and Wimbledon businesses to listen and respond to the business’ voice, recognising Wimbledon town centre as an invaluable Central Business Zone

Vision for the future

  • Focus on commercial space redevelopment – not housing
  • Make plans for an enhanced food / retail offer and high quality office space
  • Require all construction materials and finishes are of the highest quality and design both for public realm and new buildings
  • Make over station and line development part of your plans
  • Give our town centre a public square and improved urban spaces with strong ‘green’ features
  • Protect listed buildings and buildings of architectural significance / heritage
  • Provide sympathetic and sustainable designs with a maximum build height

Wimbledon Town Centre is the heart of SW19 with an internationally recognised name and postcode. We would urge you to ensure we retain this before and during construction and in 2030 have an internationally recognised town centre with an experience to match.

We look forward to working with you in developing the best proposals for Wimbledon.

Yours faithfully

Helen Clark Bell
BID Manager