Plan Wimbledon Consultation

Aerial photograph of Wimbledon Town Centre

A consultation is due to start on April 12th for residents and businesses to decide on the designation of a Neighbourhood Forum for Wimbledon. This would lead the way to consultation and subsequent development of a Neighbourhood Plan that would then be put to a referendum.

Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development and impact on planning applications in their areas through the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans (often referred to simply as Neighbourhood Plans), Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders. Only one organisation or body can be designated as a neighbourhood forum for each neighbourhood area.

The group called PlanWimbledon are proposing a large area for the Neighbourhood Plan of which Wimbledon Town Centre, as the main central business district, would be a small but very significant part. What has been highlighted through this, is the opportunity this presents to Wimbledon Town Centre to consider developing a business-led Neighbourhood Forum and so as a result we will be proposing this within our objectives for our third term and are therefore unable to support Plan Wimbledon Forum.

Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme

Businesses that employ EU, EEA or Swiss Citizens should encourage their employees to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before 30th June 2021 to continue working and living in the UK.

This toolkit contains key information to provide employees about the EU Settlement Scheme, including eligibility and support.

Employees who would like advice about their EUSS application can contact:

  • Citizens Advice Merton and Lambeth provide specialist advice to people who work in Merton. To access the support email eusettlement@caml.org.uk or telephone 07796 931 724
  • Polish Family Association offer digital assistance and general advice. To book an appointment call them on 07917401064, or email info@polishfamily.org.uk.

Find additional information about the EU Settlement Scheme through Gov.uk or Merton Council and Brexit advice for businesses here.

Darwin & Wallace Wins Publican Award

Inside 601 Queen's Rd bar

Darwin & Wallace, a collection of unique neighbourhood bars, including 601 Queen’s Rd in Wimbledon Town Centre, has won a Publican Award for best drinks offer.

In a recent virtual ceremony, the Publican Awards honoured pub companies across the UK that have continued to excel despite a difficult year and in the face of utter chaos. The hospitality sector has been among the hardest hit by the Coronavirus outbreak which has been devastating for many businesses.

In their 30th year, the Publican Awards are the stand-out event for pub companies throughout the country. With the awards seen as ‘the ones to win’, and attracting hundreds of entries each year, these are the industry awards for the leading pub companies.

For more information about Darwin & Wallace and 601 Queen’s Rd click here.

Brexit Support Fund for SME’s

The government has announced a £20 million Brexit Support Fund to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU. The SME Brexit Support Fund offers businesses up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice, if your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover.

This has been set up to support businesses prepare for the new import controls coming into force from April and July.

The grant can be used to help you get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements. This includes:

  • how to complete customs declarations
  • how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  • specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin

Find out more here.

Applications for these grants are not open yet but check back to this page, for details of when to submit your application.

Business Coaching Sessions for Climate Change

As part of Climate Coaching Action Day on 4th March 2021, businesses can benefit from 1:1 online coaching sessions on taking a more purposeful approach to working and living sustainably.

Sessions will be an hour long and are led by Katie Driver, a Certified Business Coach and experienced trainer, from Thinking Alliance. They are limited to five businesses, offered on a first come first served basis.

The Thinking Alliance offers coaching, training and consultancy which enables people and organisations to think better and be better. Their clients include private individuals and emerging and middle leaders in organisations large and small, in business and the public sector. The Thinking Alliance helps people reclaim the thinking time so often neglected in our fast-paced world. Without this, it is easy to lose our connection with what is important to us as individuals and with the people and environment around us. Our actions literally become thoughtless, our working relationships and resilience suffer and we fail to make progress on the things that matter.

Sessions are pro-bono, though businesses can donate to Sustainable Merton, Merton’s leading environmental charity, who work to clean up Merton’s air, tackle food poverty and reduce consumption of energy and resources across the borough.

Contact ellie@sustainablemerton.org to book your place.

 

Love Wimbledon’s Response to the Local Plan

 

Wimbledon Local Plan

We are overall supportive of the essence of the plan and we stress that there must be a key focus on Wimbledon’s economy, jobs, development investment and growth to go hand in hand with improving the Wimbledon experience for all visitors whether local or international. The town centre must embrace an environmental strategy and play an integral role in helping to progress the careers of young people in the borough. These strands will support each other to maintain and improve Wimbledon’s vibrant economy and provide a bright future for the town and the borough.

Wimbledon is the economic heart of this borough and it needs to strive for growth to continue to provide that vitality, improving prospects for many. Working locally is likely to increase over the coming years, let us be in the position that people choose to have their business in Wimbledon, be proud of it and aid their success.

In the proposals we particularly support:  

1. Focus on quality design and placemaking  

The strategies to develop good quality and sustainable placemaking, active frontages of buildings, focus on public space, the pedestrian experience and exemplary design of buildings which will help create a better town centre.

2. Growth in business and culture 

It is important Wimbledon retains its status as a major centre and with a flexible strategy of innovation in workspaces, whether retail or office-based, this will allow the town centre to evolve to future changing times and challenges. Part of Wimbledon’s strength is its cultural offer which should remain part of the growth strategy. We support a focus on better quality and affordable workspace to support jobs, particularly for younger people and start-up businesses. Can developers be encouraged to provide a proportion of affordable workspace for a fixed period in new developments?

3. Focus on climate action 

This is an opportunity for all new developments to be some of the greenest of any London suburb; it is an opportunity to improve health and wellbeing whilst attracting more businesses. We would support the use of stronger language to deliver and provide, driving a higher expectation of action.  Suggest reference is made to the LETI standards for buildings.

4. Improving digital inclusion

To attract different businesses, Wimbledon Town Centre needs a comprehensive provision of super-fast fibre broadband to every commercial property.  We fully support objectives to deliver this.

5. Improving the station 

Even if Crossrail 2 doesn’t happen, the station is the gateway into Wimbledon and needs to reflect that, it needs improved access, better layout and a full refurbishment and rethink to its connectivity with the town centre. We need a station that is fitting for the international reputation of Wimbledon.

In addition: 

We would like to see the integration of a property owner’s charter into the Local Plan for Wimbledon Town Centre, which demands a relationship between the community and the owner contributing to the improved look and feel of empty properties including shops, managing construction hoardings, assisting with placemaking and attracting businesses into the town.

We see more of a focus needs to be placed on:

  • Arts, events and community facilities for the area / region, so appropriately sized, engaging and support the future as opposed to conference facilities
  • Additional weight improving the environmental credentials of the town centre: more vision, the greenest town centre in south west London or London, something we can all work to. Greening strategy needs to be proactive rather than responsive
  • Increased detail on how to tackle the issue of poor air quality, through traffic and noise
  • Improving cycling routes through the town centre and building linkages with Plough Lane
  • Provision of both retail and workplace space that is affordable and promotes new business
  • Developing a strategy for home workers and facilities for co-working environments
  • Giving creative solutions and strategies for improving the negative impact of delivery motorbikes on the town centre
  • Smaller high-quality boutique hotels – the hotel provision has increased significantly in recent years and the number of beds is now much higher

Wimbledon is in a strong position to become a superhub and attract a wide range of businesses. Our workplace portfolio needs flexibility, focus on health and wellbeing (eg terraces / roof gardens / opening windows), good quality public spaces; on buildings, next to buildings and in front of buildings. We would like the change to be from a car-focused town centre to a people-focused town centre, a place where people want to work, visit and enjoy, which will attract the new generation of emerging businesses. Wimbledon can retain its charm whilst developing growth and becoming a more attractive place for all types of office and high street businesses.

All future developments must be designed intelligently and sustainably to encompass the changes in the new emerging High Street and workplaces we are likely to see. Wimbledon requires commerce as part of its future economic and physical success, which will then positively contribute to the Wimbledon Town Centre becoming increasingly attractive for business, visitors, employees and residents further enhancing our 15-minute city attributes.

Read details about Future Wimbledon here and the Local Plan here.

Rapid Tests Available For Wimbledon Businesses and Employees

Testing for front-line workers

Testing for ALL front-line workers, volunteers and carers who have NO symptoms, is now available via Merton Council.

The council is encouraging these groups to get a lateral flow test (a rapid test) twice a week. They have plenty of capacity, so if you must leave home to go to work and regularly mix with other people, then this testing is for you.

Book a rapid (lateral flow) test for coronavirus here.

This is open to all front-line workers, including but not limited to: health and social care workers, carers, emergency services staff, volunteers, essential shop workers, those who work in the court system, taxi drivers, lorry drivers, food production workers, maintenance workers, hospital cleaners, frontline public sector workers, delivery drivers, tradesman and anyone whose work means they have to mix with others.

As many as 1 in 3 people could be carrying the virus without showing any symptoms, so regular testing means you can continue your job safely and avoid passing the virus onto those you work with.

You must book a test in advance as the council cannot accommodate walk-ins.

Please remember that if you do have symptoms, even mild, you should self-isolate immediately and book free test by calling 119 or via nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Testing for businesses with 50+ employees

Business with over 50 employees can now order Coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests for their employees, who are unable to work from home. These asymptomatic tests are not to be used if you or your employees have symptoms – anyone with symptoms should order an individual test and stay at home. Tests will be delivered directly to the business’ premises.

Businesses must register before 31st March.

If your business has fewer than 50 employees, the employee should use the post code checker to find the nearest community testing centre.
Find out more here.

Nationwide ‘An Hour To Skill’ Campaign

‘An Hour to Skill’ is a new campaign from the Government to inspire the nation to spend one hour a week learning online with The Skills Toolkit.

These high-quality, online courses aim to further develop your team’s skills, helping to boost productivity and help individuals to get ahead in their current role or gain a promotion – from how to communicate effectively at work or build a professional online presence, to practical maths and boosting digital skills.

Encourage your team to take ‘An Hour to Skill’ by starting a free online course via The Skills Toolkit.

The Government was supported by some of the country’s leading educational experts and employers to make up this collection of high-quality resources to suit a range of interests and skill levels. All courses are flexible and online, ranging from a few weeks to a few hours, so learners can top up their skills at a time and place that suits them.

The Skills Toolkit offers a large range of courses from leading providers including Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Google, Microsoft and LinkedIn Learning, Lloyds Bank, The Open University and more.

For more details, click here.

Love Wimbledon receives BID industry standards kitemark

Love Wimbledon was recently awarded a kitemark, a newly developed standard by The BID Foundation, to represent the achievement of high standards of quality and governance.

The BID Foundation, a group of 89 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) that lead the evolution of the industry, has launched new guidance to help demonstrate and raise standards of governance and transparency in the sector.

Members who demonstrate adoption of these industry standards are awarded a kitemark, which can be displayed to levy payers and other stakeholders. Seven BIDs, including Love Wimbledon, have received this accreditation thus far, with nine others working actively towards it.

The set of 11 industry standards has been developed in consultation with BIDs, levy payer groups and policy makers, based on recommendations of recent research into the BID sector and its development in the UK, published last year by the Institute of Place Management. Helping to inform levy payers and other stakeholders, the standards cover key aspects of a BID’s structure and operations including its business plan, governance and reporting, directors, personal interests, and detail on ballot results.

The Industry Standards are awarded following an independent review process conducted by the Institute of Place Management, the professional body for place managers and leaders, based at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Bill Addy, Chair of The BID Foundation Council and Chief Executive of the Liverpool BID Company, said:

“This is a crucial piece of work to support BIDs. The Industry Standards further demonstrate the professionalism of BIDs that adopt them, and of the wider sector, which has stepped forward in 2020 to provide support to thousands of local businesses. The BID Foundation commissioned the ‘State-of-the-Art’ report in 2019 which identified the need for standards, and to continue to drive high performance. On behalf of The BID Foundation and its Members, we welcome their introduction”.

For more details on the launch of these standards, click here.

 

Trailblazing Shopping Experience Comes To Wimbledon

                                                                                     Founders Josh and Alicia (image taken pre-Covid)


A new store joined Centre Court Shopping Centre at the end of last year, bringing with it a trailblazing new movement which could change the future of retail in Wimbledon.

Previously located in Merton Abbey Mills in South Wimbledon, Zéro has now landed in the heart of Wimbledon Town Centre, joining several other independent businesses in Centre Court Shopping Centre and well-received by the local community.

Zéro is Wimbledon’s first zero-waste shop, where all products are sold in bulk or without disposable packaging and, where possible, come from organic or fair-trade farming and from local producers. Customers bring their own containers and fill them to the level desired – offering a simple alternative to excessive single-use packaging consumption.

One of the owners, Alicia, commented on their choice of relocation, stating that the unit in Centre Court not only offered a bigger space in a more central location, but also enabled the business to retain some of its customers due to its proximity to Merton Abbey Mills, whilst also reaching out to many more.

“We would like to think that our shop will inspire people and even other businesses to make a difference. Our shop is not only a place where people can find eco-friendly products, it is also an area where new ideas and conversations about sustainability can germinate.”

– Alicia, owner of Zéro

The inspiration for the store was developed from the continental European model of zero-waste grocery shopping, where the culture remains of going to specialised shops for individual items. Such an exciting and pioneering innovation to the face of retail in Wimbledon, can contribute to significant changes in the future of the zero-waste movement in our local area and lead to a shift in thinking from consumers towards greener, more sustainable shopping practices.

“We believe that the idea of zero-waste living must become more mainstream and having a shop in a major shopping centre in a place like Wimbledon will hopefully help achieve this.”

– Alicia, owner of Zéro

Centre Court Shopping Centre has seen in a surge in many small/independent businesses joining their premises over the last few months, and Love Wimbledon has been supporting and facilitating these introductions, to help diversify and retain the culture of our local town.

The manager of Centre Court, Simon Plumb commented:

“We’re so pleased to be able to welcome a store like Zero to the shopping centre especially in a year where we have all realised the importance of supporting small, independent businesses. We are continuing to work with our partners in the community to have conversations with local enterprises and to find new innovative concepts that can be brought to life in the Centre.”

We hope that the introduction of Zéro stimulates further investment into the sustainable future of Wimbledon, encourages more environmental innovation, and that many other businesses consider how to introduce greener practices into their services/products.

Click here to read our full interview with Zéro.