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.

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 Celebrates a second Murray victory

Over 1,500 fans and locals packed into Wimbledon Town Centre to enjoy the Wimbledon final on Love Wimbledon’s Big Screen on The Piazza. 

Love Wimbledon’s popular Big Screen in Wimbledon Town Centre was once again the choice for hundreds as the place to watch the Wimbledon finals. The jubilant crowd celebrated Andy Murray’s win on The Piazza, with a tremendous cheer erupting on his winning point. Many people unable to get tickets for the actual event relaxed on deck chairs soaking up the Wimbledon tennis atmosphere and where better to do it than – in Wimbledon!

Helen Clark Bell, Chief Executive commented ‘We had hundreds of people sharing the finals’ atmosphere in the heart of Wimbledon Town Centre – the audience were amazing. Surrounding businesses really got involved too such as Morrisons supermarket giving out free pizzas and strawberries, Patisserie Valerie giving out smoothies and Wahaca giving out mini quesadillas and nachos. It was a wonderful occasion’.

Love Wimbledon first introduced the Big Screen to The Piazza in 2013. It brings the excitement of The Championships to town and is an opportunity for people who live, shop or work in Wimbledon to enjoy the tennis. The Big Screen was up everyday during the two weeks as well as a tennis simulator, where fans competed to hit the fastest serve.

Wimbledon Town Centre really got into the swing of tennis this year with shops going tennis ball mad with themed window decorations, Morrisons re-branding themselves as Murrisons, All Bar One becoming All Bar Wimble-One and artist Henry Day’s ‘Rebound Symmetry’ flying over The Piazza. Live music, street food and alfresco seating were enjoyed at Love Wimbledon’s pop-up in St Mark’s Place and vibrant hanging baskets and lamppost banners welcomed tennis goers to Wimbledon Town.

Big Screen Tennis    Big Screen Tennis Big Screen Tennis

“Veloteers” needed for RideLondon

On Sunday 31 July the fourth Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 starts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, then follows a 100-mile route on closed roads through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside.

The organisers are appealing for pedestrain crossing point volunteers. These volunteer stewards – ‘Veloteers’ – will be required in Wimbledon to act as a first line of contact to the vast number of spectators expected to watch the event, providing specific information on safety, as well as more generalised information, such as event timings, local facilities, toilets, food outlets, trains, trams and buses etc.

Based along the route for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and Classic events, they will support the public by enabling pedestrians to cross the route safely at designated points. This is a great opportunity to gain hands-on event experience, as part of a fun, enthusiastic team. Veloteers will be required to attend a one hour briefing session before the event and to be available to volunteer for one of the following shifts on the day of the event:

  • 8.30am – 1.30pm
  • 12.30pm – 6.30pm
  • 8.30am – 6.30pm

Veloteers will also be provided with lunch and a goody bag, including a t-shirt, water bottle, hat and pin badge.

If you are interested in being involved in this spectacular event and want a front row view of the action, then please email Sarah at the Merton Voluntary Service Council by Friday 8th July 2016.

Please also be advised that there will be road closures in and around Wimbledon during this event. The closures will affect public transport and businesses whose staff will be travelling in to work in Wimbledon town centre on Sunday 31 July. Commuters are advised to check whether their bus routes are affected. Trains, trams and tubes will operate as normal.

For more details about this event, including road closures please visit Prudential RideLondon.

‘Rebound Symmetry’ tennis ball installation

Artist Henry Day, a recent graduate from Wimbledon College of Arts has designed the tennis-based installation hanging above The Piazza, named ‘Rebound Symmetry’ to celebrate the town centre’s relationship with Wimbledon Tennis. 

This specially commissioned sculpture has been created out of Slazenger tennis balls and mirrored ‘tennis courts’, developing geometric forms reducing it to a minimal pattern. Kindly sponsored by Slazenger and supported by The All England Lawn Tennis Club, the sculpture will hang over The Piazza for the entire tennis fortnight.

This installation is a shape called an icosahedron, one of the five ‘platonic solids’. The only 5 shapes that can physically exist with perfect symmetry – all edges, faces and angles are identical.  The tennis ball is made from two flat pieces of fabric covering a rubber ball, these pieces of fabric are the only shape that can physically wrap tightly around a sphere – in mathematical terms known as the ‘hyperbolic paraboloid’, a curve within a curve that can also be found in the shape of Pringles crisps! There are 350 tennis balls in the sculpture, weighing a total of 20kg, all manipulated by hand.

When asked about creating the installation, Henry commented “I remember last year, around the time of my degree show, seeing numerous large tennis balls hung up and integrated around town for Wimbledon tennis. I had just finished using thousands of dice to make my final sculpture for my degree, I remember thinking to myself ‘I wonder what I could do with a load of tennis balls?’. It was a very strange and exciting coincidence to have been approached by Love Wimbledon for this project.”

“One of the most interesting aspects about using mirrors is that they cannot be shown in sketches, the full effect of the reflecting illusions only becomes apparent upon completion.”

Henry has exhibited numerous sculptures around Wimbledon since graduating Wimbledon College of Art last July, and has also been shortlisted for three competitions. His first large scale commission was the result of winning of a competition, producing two kinetic sculptures – currently on display nearby at the Nelson Health Centre. Henry is currently working on new sculptures of his own, as well as working in workshops that fabricate bespoke designs, which get sent all over the world. He hopes to use this experience to realise more ambitious projects of his own in the future.

Visit The Piazza to see the installation for yourself and read more about how it was made on the information boards. See more of Henry’s work at henryday.net




The Wimbledon Way

Whether it is basement Turkish baths, the home of an immaculately dressed ghost, two fat ladies or the place Henry VIII nearly died, discover Wimbledon’s landmarks as a new footpath is unveiled this week.

Produced in collaboration between Merton Council, Love Wimbledon and Merton Chamber of Commerce, the 2.012 km long Wimbledon Way route will be marked out with circular discs sunk into the pavement.

W Way plaque

Launching this week, the route will wind its way from the renowned Polka Theatre on The Broadway, past Wimbledon Station, up Wimbledon Hill Road and into Wimbledon Village.

There the Wimbledon Way splits in two. The left branch goes towards Wimbledon Common and the right-hand branch will lead to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, where the Championships will begin next week.

There are 27 points of interest, marked by the pavement plaques set into the ground.

Among the highlights are the original site of the All England Croquet Club (the Lawn Tennis element was added later), the birthplace of fictional Tomb Raider character Lara Croft, a haunted Victorian mansion and spectacular viewpoints over London.

The project, which began in 2012, was funded by Merton Council and a £45,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The council collaborated with Merton Chamber of Commerce and Love Wimbledon.

Merton Council Leader Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “The Wimbledon Way project is an exciting initiative and the council is encouraging as many people as possible to walk to this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championships using the new route.

“The Wimbledon Way will offer residents and visitors alike a healthy and pleasurable stroll through Merton, taking in the many landmarks that make our borough so special. I’m very proud that the council have stepped in to complete the design, manufacture and installation of the Wimbledon Way discs on behalf of Merton Chamber of Commerce.

“Merton Chamber of Commerce and Love Wimbledon have worked hard to ensure visitors get a chance to see our great local shops and businesses along the way.”

Diana Sterck, Chief Executive of Merton Chamber of Commerce, the organisation which initiated The Wimbledon Way as a legacy project for Wimbledon as a result of the 2012 Olympics, said: “Wimbledon as a whole is a wonderful asset and we want people to spend time with us, visit our businesses and appreciate all of the area’s rich heritage and culture. I always say to visitors to walk the Wimbledon Way as the healthy alternative to using transport.”

Helen Clark Bell, Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District Manager added: “The markers demonstrate the integral relationship of the tennis to the town. Using the Love Wimbledon map or the Wimbledon Way website you can clearly see the fascinating buildings and intriguing narrative from the Turkish baths to the Gold Post-box Olympic legacy. There is a secret history waiting to be discovered along this route whilst residents shop and enjoy Wimbledon.”

An interactive map can be found on the Wimbledon Way website, which allows walkers to add their own memories, stories and photographs to the online route.

WH Smith returns to Wimbledon

Love Wimbledon is delighted that after working with WH Smith since they closed their shop on Wimbledon Bridge, they have announced a return to Wimbledon Town Centre.

WH Smith has revealed they will be opening a store in Centre Court Shopping, late Summer. The unit will shortly be undergoing a major refurbishment to create a new fresh, modern store which will offer all the traditional customer favourites including stationery, cards, books, creative crafts and confectionery. The perfect location in Centre Court brings the added benefit to customers of easy access and excellent parking.

Helen Clark Bell, Business Improvement District Manager at Love Wimbledon, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted WHSmith has come back to Wimbledon. We have received a lot of queries from people asking when they would return, and we’re very pleased they have found a new home at Centre Court.”

Kevin Hall, Stores Director, WHSmith, added: “We’re thrilled to be re-opening a new store in Wimbledon. As one of the biggest supporters of the UK high street it was really important for us to find another suitable premises locally. We would like to thank all of our former customers for their support and look forward to welcoming them back to our new store in Centre Court later this summer.”

A spokesperson for Centre Court Shopping Centre, commented: “It’s great to see that Centre Court Shopping Centre continues to attract great brands such as WHSmith.”

Love Wimbledon also helped Waterstones find new premises in Wimbledon Town Centre earlier in the month. Both Waterstones’ and WH Smith’s new premises will be the latest concept stores from the retailers providing ample choice and a great shopping experience.