Reach Out and Connect Webinar Recording

 

On Thursday 12th April Love Wimbledon and Merton Chamber of Commerce hosted a joint webinar with Merton Council to discuss what government support is available to businesses at this time, including grants and business rates relief.

It was a great opportunity for businesses to ask questions and gain clarification about options available to them.  We’d like to thank everyone who attended and Merton Council for highlighting what is being done to help businesses recover from the Covid-19 situation.

Love Wimbledon is:

  • Consolidating information from central government
  • Lobbying for a London waiting to be applied to the £51k rateable value threshold given the higher listings in London
  • Communicating with businesses and providing resources such as the checklist if you are closing your business, worked on with Merton Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-ordinating support for businesses that remain open, facilitating support between businesses and the local community through donations and volunteers
  • Maintaining street presence to reduce anti-social activity and keeping an eye on empty premises
  • Working with community groups to accommodate the homeless
  • Preparing for the recovery and will be a key driver in re-opening the Town Centre

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

Download a copy of the presentation here.

Be sure to check back for future webinars and get in touch if you’d like to address a specific topic or need additional advice and support for your business.  info@lovewimbledon.org

Visit our dedicated Covid-19 page for collated resources to keep businesses up-to-date with government and financial support and public health guidance.

 

 

Securing Your Property During Closure

 

A message from Love Wimbledon and Merton Chamber of Commerce.

Is your business or workplace now closed due to COVID-19?

Are all employees working from home?

See below, a 10-point checklist to help keep your property safe and secure, during these times.

Note: we also strongly suggest that you speak with your insurance company, or broker, to ensure that you are compliant with the terms of your insurance.

Where you are able to do so safely and within the current government guidelines, you should try to ensure that:

  1. The buildings are inspected internally and externally by an authorised person once a week to check the security and general condition of the premises.
  2. All waste, refuse and other disused combustible materials are cleared from the buildings and any grounds adjacent to it.
  3. All external doors are securely locked and all opening windows are closed and locked (where fitted with locking devices).
  4. All tanks and pipes are drained down, where and when you are able to do this, and all taps, stopcocks and mains supply valves turned off. If this is not possible, because you need to maintain a central heating system, a minimum temperature of 7°C should be maintained.
  5. (A). Gas supplies should be switched off, unless to maintain a central heating system.
    (B). Electricity supplies should be switched off unless to maintain a central heating system or existing intruder alarm systems, fire protection systems, CCTV, security lighting or sprinkler systems. If the building supply needs to remain on, review the need for items like wifi routers, printers, chillers, etc. to be left plugged in.
  6. All existing physical devices for securing, or preventing access to the buildings must be kept in full and effective operation at all times and to have all keys removed from the locks and kept in a secure place away from the premises.
  7. Ensure your pest control contracts are maintained, check with your contractor to ensure continuation of service.
  8. Check your alarm notification procedures and revise your keyholders list and procedures in case of a triggering of the alarm.
  9. Review and cancel all supplier contracts – milk, waste collection, any other regular deliveries.
  10. For food businesses:
    (A). Cancel all food and drink deliveries.
    (B). Ensure rubbish is removed from the kitchen, ensure food is emptied from fridges and freezers (unless power is left on for the freezer).
    (C). Any food packing materials should be protected from contamination and if dried food is being kept in the storeroom it should be kept in pest proof containers.
    (D). Ensure the structure of the building is kept in good repair and free from gaps and holes where pest could gain access into the premises.

Wimbledon Businesses Awarded Recycling Certificates

Wimbledon businesses have been awarded certificates for their amazing recycling efforts in 2019, by the award-winning, zero to landfill, recycling and waste company First Mile.

 

This is a result of a collaboration between First Mile and Love Wimbledon, which has allowed businesses in Wimbledon to make terrific savings on their waste collection and recycling schemes.

Elliott Wood Partnership and Marcus Beale Architects were awarded Gold certificates, whilst other businesses were awarded Silver, including: CarebaseWestmont Management LtdCapsticks SolicitorsLush (Wimbledon)Phokas Barbers and more.

The criteria for certification was based on company’s Recycling Rates, the number of First Mile streams adopted, the kg’s recycled and the kg of CO2 offset.

 

 

Through First Mile, we offer businesses benefits such as FREE annual allocation of mixed or cardboard recycling, reduced rates for all subsequent recycling and waste collections, food recycling – provision of a FREE starter pack to include caddies and a set of bags, daily waste and recycling collections, FREE quarterly Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling and more.

Did your business receive a Silver certificate, and would you like to Go For Gold? By simply introducing one more recycling service, such as food waste, you can increase your overall recycling rate, reduce the number of general waste sacks you order, save money and help the planet. Click here for more information on understanding Your First Mile certificate.

Display your certificate proudly on the wall of your business for all to see and tag @lovewimbledon on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, so we can help you sing about your green efforts!

If you’d like to find out more about how Love Wimbledon can support your business to be more green and improve your climate change efforts, contact info@lovewimbledon.org.

Masterplan Consultation Forum

Wimbledon Masterplan Consultation

On Wednesday 26 February we hosted the Masterplan Forum with Merton Council for businesses, landlords and agents outlining the final proposals for Merton Council’s vision for Wimbledon Town Centre. Over 70 people attended, giving the opportunity for businesses, property owners and other key stakeholders to ask questions about the proposals.

CEO Helen Clark Bell urged business owners, agents and landlords to ‘do something different and think creatively’ and work with Love Wimbledon BID to deliver the aspirations to improve the Wimbledon experience, with more things to do or see whether cultural or fun whilst making it a greener, healthier and more playful environment.  Paul McGarry, Head of Future Merton, discussed the longer term vision and some of the shorter term plans for Wimbledon Town Centre including a new public space outside New Wimbledon Theatre and improving St Mark’s Place.

 

The area covered by the masterplan stretches across the whole Love Wimbledon BID area and the full masterplan document is available on their website.

 

SEE THE FLYTHROUGH VIDEO HERE

READ THE FULL MASTERPLAN HERE 

 

Love Wimbledon will be releasing our response early next week.

 

The session provoked healthy discussions about independent businesses, landlord philanthropy and working to improve Wimbledon as a destination.

Martin Whelton, Merton Council cabinet member for regeneration, housing & transport, highlighted that the Council’s aspiration was to make Merton and Wimbledon ‘A great place to live, work and learn.’

 

Helen Clark Bell commented ‘Wimbledon is a town for all and does have an exciting future. To achieve this it requires a strong synergy between the users and owners of Wimbledon.’

 

Paul McGarry agreed, asking businesses and landlords to ‘Be brave, be creative’.

 

In the next five years new development/refurbishment is expected to be happening at:

  • The east end of The Broadway. This includes the YMCA, The Polka Theatre and Temple Place, creating a greener welcome to Wimbledon
  • Hartfield Road area (the Morrisons Car Park)
  • New Wimbledon Theatre with new public space
  • Francis Grove/St Georges Road area, where one office refurbishment has just completed and another two are likely to commence as well as some new development of tired office space
  • Around the old Bank Buildings on Wimbledon Hill, where conservation, placemaking and redevelopment come together

 

Paul McGarry commented ‘Independent retail and culture is the future of the High Street.’

 

What came out strongly is Wimbledon needs more and better commercial space, and stakeholders should consider how it supports startups and independents whether retail, food or office based in the future. What was clear from the conversation was Wimbledon is changing, ‘the car will no longer be king’ and Wimbledon is becoming a cultural centre, an aspiration supported by many.

 

Future Wimbledon

 

About the Consultation  

The consultation closes on 6th March so please do respond as this is an important, once in a lifetime document and could impact you.

There are FIVE emerging priorities on the masterplan: 

  • Design Quality
  • Public Realm
  • Urban Greening and Sustainability
  • Future of the High Street
  • The Station and Railway

We need to work together to deliver strong aspirations for Wimbledon in 2030 and beyond.

Love Your Local Businesses

 

Current road closures on Merton Road towards South Wimbledon, expected to last until April 2020, have affected many of our independent shops, cafes and restaurants located in this area.

Love Wimbledon is urging other businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre to think of and make a special effort to encourage their staff to take a few extra steps, travel further along The Broadway and support our range of fantastic local and independent stores during this time.

Ideas for how you can support these businesses:

Aside from the effects of these lengthy roadworks, there are a number of reasons why you as a business and consumer, should opt to shop local. As well as the huge cost to the environment when choosing to shop online, when you shop local your money stays local. In other words, your money goes into the pockets of your neighbours in the community and helps to strengthen the local economy.

Without the presence of these types of stores on our high streets, which often add a sense of character and diversity through their unique and artisan offering, there is the ever-growing fear that all UK high streets will eventually look and feel the same. With an increasing number of consumers choosing to shop online, small and independent businesses like these are becoming the real driving factor for footfall across UK retail destinations and providing a point of difference for our towns.

Wimbledon is home to a number of other small and independent businesses which you can also show your love to, including Fayre & SquareFieldersAubergine Art galleryHealth ZonePhokas Barbers and Gina Conway’s Aveda salon. Don’t forget, the Love Wimbledon monthly markets return in March, with a great range of local vendors offering up handcrafted gifts and flavourful international street food.

So show your community spirit by supporting your fellow business community and urging your employees to do the same! #LoveLocal

Wimbledon Footfall Outperforms Trend

The end of 2019 proved a difficult time for retail. Despite the holiday season typically being a strong time for retailers and shopping centres, with dedicated discount days such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day sales, there was a 2.5% drop in footfall in December across UK retail destinations. Further figures from Springboard, the leading provider of data and intelligence on customer activity in town centres, also showed high streets to have suffered the most with a 3.5% decrease in footfall.

Yet, this was not the case in Wimbledon Town Centre, where footfall was up by 0.8%.

This is a comforting figure, given the continuous challenges facing UK high streets, due to the rise in popularity of online shopping.

According to Springboard, there has been an evident shift in consumer behaviour, with more emphasis being placed on experience-based spending compared to goods-based transactions. This suggests an increased presence of Wimbledon as a destination for leisure in London – rather than just being the household name for the tennis.

Wimbledon continued to maintain a sense of variety across the high street in 2019, with independent retailers, such as Elys, demonstrating a clear understanding and willingness to adapt to changing consumer needs through enhancing consumer experiences, i.e. with their Winter Shopping Event. 2019 also saw the number of restaurants in Wimbledon grow, with the addition of artisan Lebanese grill Kababji, authentic Korean restaurant Yori and healthy eating, fast-food chain Leon, adding to the existing medley of cuisines being offered in the town. Wimbledon Town Centre is now home to a wide range of restaurants, cafés and market vendors serving up food from all over the world – Japan, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, and more. The inclusivity of the town can be felt surely through the diversity of food available here. In addition to this, the strong night-time economy in the town, through a great mix of pubs, bars and clubs has helped to keep consumers returning to Wimbledon for great social experiences.

In bucking the trend, the town centre also has the benefit of offering exceptional transport links (train, tram and tube) and is reported as the 21st busiest station in the country. Wimbledon is an attractive town for commercial offices, currently accommodating over 30 national and international Headquarter offices and cumulatively has over 15,000 employees working in the town. These employees in turn support the local retailers and hospitality, contributing significantly to the vibrancy of the town. As Wimbledon gradually upgrades the quality of it’s office accommodation, the need to maintain a strong offering to office employees is growing and it is clear that local businesses are responding.

With a significant increase in art and cultural events in Wimbledon in the past year, and a plethora of performances owing to the glittering reputation of our theatre venues, 2019 proved to be a year where community spirit could be felt by those who work in the town, visitors passing by and the residents who live here. The introduction of the UK’s first rainbow crossing created by Merton Council, a new street art feature with a powerful environmental message and popular events such as Winter Wonderland, demonstrated the town’s ability to innovate, inspire and influence.

During a challenging and vital time for retail and the high street, it is encouraging to see Wimbledon Town Centre positively beat a national trend and pave the way for change. We hope to see footfall continue to increase in 2020, and correspond to the allure of the town, bringing in more and more people to this great destination.

Business Rate Payers Consultation

Merton Council is to meet with businesses to ask them about their views on the council’s budget and business plan proposals.

 

Leader of the council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis will be at the civic centre on Thursday, 20 February 2020, 6pm – 7pm along with council officers and cabinet members to answer any questions and address concerns business owners may have about the proposals for 2020/21 and the business plan 2020-24.

 

The meeting is part of the council’s annual consultation with businesses on the financial decisions it has to make to balance the budget and plan for the coming four years.

 

Details of the proposed Business Plan will be considered by cabinet on 24 February 2020 and will be available on the council’s website after the meeting.

 

The Government designated a pan-London business rates pool in 2018-19, which piloted 100% retention in that year, and this was revised to pilot 75% retention in 2019-20. The Government confirmed in September 2019 its intention not to renew the London pilot in 2020-21, and for London to revert back to the pre-existing 2017-18 67% retention scheme (which was a partial pilot, reflecting the incremental impact of the rolling in of the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and the Transport for London investment grant).

 

For 2020/21, London boroughs and the GLA have collectively agreed to continue to operate a Business Rates Pool based on the 67% scheme across London and distribute the financial benefit to each participating authority on an agreed basis.

 

The aim of the Pool continues to be to improve the well-being of the communities served by the participating authorities in London. By working together, they can retain a greater proportion of business rates growth within London, providing additional resources to support local communities and strengthen financial resilience following a decade of significant funding reductions.

 

In returning to the 67% retention scheme for London, London boroughs will receive a share of 30%, the GLA a share of 37% to reach the total 67% retention scheme, with the Government receiving the balance of 33%.

 

Merton Council recognises the importance of a vibrant local economy and the role local businesses play in creating jobs and prosperity. The responses to the consultation will all be considered as part of the business plan which will be finalised at full council on 4 March 2020.

 

Leader of Merton Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “I am a small businessman myself and was spokesperson for the Federation of Small Businesses so I understand businesses and how vital they are to the economic success of the borough. As a council we have adopted a business-like approach to our services and to the financial decisions we have to make. So I value greatly all our discussions with the business community when we get to hear their thoughts on what we’re doing and how we can continue to make Merton a place that’s business-friendly.”

 

For more information, and to confirm your attendance, contact Elaine Connaughton. Elaine.Connaughton@merton.gov.uk

 

Making Way for Change

Vibrancy of Wimbledon Town Centre

January is a time for reflection (albeit only briefly!) and as we gather up pace for our host of activities in 2020 we look back on what made Wimbledon wonderful in 2019. It was the year of culture, of art, of diversity at a time where some saw division, we saw hope. Wimbledon couldn’t have been prouder to be the home of the UK’s first rainbow crossing created by Merton Council saying many things from welcome all, to brightening up school children’s and theatre goers experience as they crossed our Broadway. We collaborated with an environmental artist highlighting the plight of house sparrows, birds that were common rather than rare, bringing free accessible art to all whilst enriching Wimbledon’s cultural scene.  

The thing is with Wimbledon we aren’t renowned as a tech quarter or the heart of the creative industry or a financial centre, we are a place that has diverse businesses that thrive on being with each other and just like it here because, well its Wimbledon. (and easy to get to and from by train, tube, tram, bus, bike or feet….!) Wimbledon has seen improved footfall, reduced crime and increased investment in office refurbishments providing high quality floor space. 

But it’s not just that this has strengthened our town centre’s look and feel, there’s a wider impact. There’s the, almost 100% positive response about these activities, from the businesses who choose Wimbledon, the people who work here, the visitors who use it and the residents who want a better town centre.  There’s an overwhelming sense of ‘feel good’ and in these challenging times of high streets and retail, it’s good to see a town centre step forward and buck a national trend.  

So will the trend stop of talking down our high streets, rather than looking at how they are adapting to change. We may have seen the inevitable closure of Debenhams here, but we have a growing, popular independent department store – Elys, which has adapted to changing customers’ needs, absolutely getting the Wimbledon customer. The Debenhams closure will bring opportunities: opportunities to do something different, adapt to the market and bring new energy into customer experiences.  This adaptation hasn’t been felt since large out of town shopping centres sprung up in the nineties ‘killing high streets’. The High Streets adapted, they recovered, they morphed into a new experience, but they came back.  

It’s time for High Streets to fight back. Let’s look at what we can do, rather than what we can’t and let’s make way for change. 

Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ Street Art

In collaboration with artist Louis Masai and local photographer and culture campaigner Cindy Sasha, Love Wimbledon enhances the allure of Wimbledon Town Centre with a recently-installed street art feature. Named ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, this stand-out art is inspired by the need to raise awareness of the decline of British birds in London, particularly the House Sparrow, which is renowned for its birdsong and seen as a vital part of urban life.

Brought to life by street artist Louis Masai, who is often best-known for his dynamic and inspiring wall murals of endangered animals, this new art features a male  and female house sparrow inferring the question of ‘where has the sparrow song gone’. As well as adding to the visual appeal of Wimbledon Town Centre, this art carries a strong environmental message, reflecting how birdsong has reduced over time, due to the population decline of this bird species.

According to The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), there has been a severe decline in the UK House Sparrow population, estimated as dropping by 71 per cent since 1977, which has led to the classification of these birds as a species of high conservation concern. Based on the hit single ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ by Icelandic musician Björk, the title for this art directly links to the disappearance of this species and their birdsong which could have a profound impact on human health. These natural sounds have been linked to improved mental and emotional health amongst humans, acting as the perfect antidote to the pressures of modern life.

This installation also ties in closely with Love Wimbledon’s commitments to changing the landscape of Wimbledon so that it is a popular, attractive and interesting place for all. As said by collaborator Cindy Sasha, “street art can change a landscape of a town centre. I love it when the love spreads through art and sends such a positive message – we need more of it!”.

The presence of this street art helps to add to the appeal of The Broadway and energises the Wimbledon Town Centre. Enhancing the vibrancy of the town, directly benefits the businesses situated within the area, through means such as increasing footfall numbers. This is even more important given the current situation facing high streets across the UK, with more and more consumers leaning towards online shopping from large e-commerce retailers. Bringing a free piece of art to the streets of Wimbledon strengthens the arts and culture scene in the area, as well as acting as a driving force to encourage consumers to leave their homes and visit the town centre.

Love Wimbledon create and fund a variety of cultural and environmental notions in Wimbledon Town Centre, including previously installing the first rainbow pedestrian crossing in the UK, in partnership with Merton Council, to show support to the LGBTQ community in the area. This addition of this new wall art helps to enhance the Wimbledon experience and adds to the notion that there is more to Wimbledon than what meets the eye.

 

“This collaboration has brought an important message to Wimbledon, whilst also developing a stronger and more vivid cultural strategy for visitors to experience the town centre. The art is impactful, meaningful and has had a positive response from business, visitors and local residents.”

Sally Warren, Love Wimbledon

 

Find this new street art piece on Alwyne Road, off Wimbledon Hill Road, in Wimbledon Town Centre, and help to support this message.