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.





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.