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.
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.
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.