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.

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

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.

Wimbledon eateries earn Healthier Catering Commitment award

Polka Theatre Cafe, Al Forno and Bliss Coffee have have recently been awarded Healthier Catering Commitment status by Merton Council. They have each demonstrated their commitment to providing healthier food options by making considerable changes which were required to achieve the award.

Polka Theatre Café and Bliss Coffee have refreshed their range of drinks with a focus on lower sugar options, while Al Forno no longer has salt on tables and has switched to rapeseed oil which is healthier for frying. The restaurant is keen to improve its offer to customers and will soon be launching a new menu.

Other Wimbledon town centre venues which have achieved the award in recent months are The Guild Cafe, Lu-Ma Cafe and YMCA.

Merton Council encourages restaurants, takeaways, sandwich bars and other caterers to sign up to the Healthier Catering Commitment, a voluntary scheme run by the council and backed by both the Mayor of London and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). There are currently 22 London Boroughs taking part in the scheme.

For more details about the scheme, how to apply and the benefits award-winners can gain, please visit the Merton Council website.

Free app helps you make a difference to your community

Love Wimbledon is asking residents, business owners, Wimbledon Town Centre visitors and people who work here to join our GeoTask Panel which helps us get a bit of information we can then use to improve your town centre and everyone’s Wimbledon experience.

All you have to do is download the FREE GeoTask App and take your mobile phone with you whenever you visit the town centre – whether shopping, eating out or coming to work.

The App will capture your location data anonymously and provide insight into a ‘consumer shopping journey’. This ground-breaking research will help shape and improve the experience offered to shoppers and visitors. Simply download the GeoTask Location Research App, which will run in the background on your smartphone.

The App uses minimal battery life and you will never receive any marketing communications.

Click here for more details on the GeoTask App.

Doddle Neighbour launches in Wimbledon

Doddle Neighbour, the sharing economy solution for sending and receiving parcels, has launched in Wimbledon town centre. This new service on The Broadway professionalises the practice of taking in parcels for neighbours, by paying residents and businesses to act as a hyper-local parcel service in their community.

Doddle has been recruiting Neighbours in the Wimbledon area and over the last month has received over 200 applications from individuals and businesses looking to earn additional income by picking up and dropping off parcels to the Doddle store at Wimbledon on behalf of customers.

To mark the new service, Stephen Hammond MP visited the Doddle Wimbledon store on Friday, commenting: “I applaud Doddle’s initiative, which will create flexible jobs for people in Wimbledon. Crucially, the service has an important role to play in tackling congestion and pollution on our streets as consolidated deliveries of online shopping have the potential to remove thousands of vans from the roads every day.”

Tim Robinson, Doddle CEO, said: “Doddle Neighbour formalises the concept of taking in parcels for your neighbours, something thousands of people do every day across the UK and we are delighted to announce our scheme and host Stephen Hammond, MP at our Wimbledon store.

“Doddle is about making it easy to send and receive parcels and Doddle Neighbour is the next frontier in this mission. Neighbour is about bringing Doddle services to local communities, taking parcels the final metre, not just the final mile, so that customers can send and receive parcels at a time and place that’s most convenient for them.”

For more information on Doddle Neighbour pop in and meet the friendly team at Doddle Wimbledon, 17 The Broadway, SW19 1PR. Alternatively visit their website.

Wimbledon tram services increase 50 per cent

From Monday 4 April passengers travelling on the tram network will be able to take advantage of more frequent services between Wimbledon and Croydon with services increasing from eight to 12 trams per hour. This increase in frequency follows the completion of work to build an additional tram platform at Wimbledon station last year.

The extra services will help to meet increasing passenger demand as the tram network has experienced rapid growth in passenger numbers since it opened in 2000, from 18.5 million passengers in its first year of operation to over 32 million in 2014/15. The demand is forecast to increase to around 60 million by 2030.

The tram network is a crucial transport link to the community it serves, and Transport for London is committed to continually improving these services for all customers.

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.”

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.