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

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.

Businesses Assist the Community Through Covid

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, Wimbledon businesses recognised the importance of their role in the community.

2020 saw a tremendous effort from Wimbledon businesses to support local and wider initiatives during the Coronavirus pandemic, from local foodbanks to the NHS, and our key workers.

Many businesses and organisations have made heroic efforts and done incredible work, to assist those who are vulnerable or in need within our town. Such responses could be seen from as early on as April 2020, with support from businesses continuing through lockdowns, Christmas and other periods of particular difficulty. With there being an ongoing need for assistance due to the pandemic, there is no sign of support from our businesses dwindling, as 2021 begins.

Here are just a few examples:

Christmas Donations

Students and their families from Wimbledon High generously donated Christmas presents for Wimbledon Guild’s Give a Gift at Christmas campaign, to support children across Merton who would otherwise receive no gift at all. 

Supermarkets Support

To make up for their annual Christmas party being cancelled, the staff of Tesco Metro in Centre Court Shopping Centre, donated toys and food to the Dons Local Action Group, who deliver such items to those in need in the local community. Local Sainsburys and Waitrose stores also donated various items to Wimbledon Guild over the Christmas period.

Office-based Businesses Chip In

We have also seen many of our office-based businesses in Wimbledon supporting local causes such as Domestic and General, who donated money to Wimbledon Guild that would have otherwise been spent on Secret Santa gift exchanges between colleagues and raised over £200. The headquarters of CIPD donated 50 devices to the Keep Kids Connected scheme run by the Dons Local Action Group, to assist children and schools who need such equipment to support remote learning.


Local businesses supporting local charities, in-turn supports the community, and strengthens the bonds in our area, meaning that despite these ongoing challenges, Wimbledon will return from Covid-19 as a stronger and more resilient town for all.

If your business can help the community throughout Covid-19 by donating food, drink, clothing, technology or financial support please get in touch with Kevin Gallagher at For a list of local charitable organisations click here.

Wimbledon the Superhub-hub?

Wimbledon Local Plan

Wimbledon will be ‘an exemplar of good quality design and sustainable placemaking’ asserted Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and the Climate Emergency at the Love Wimbledon Local Plan virtual seminar. Held 20th January 2021, the event highlighted how despite the pandemic, Wimbledon is set to be an important superhub for office workers and an urban/suburban accessible place to work.  

The seminar provided the opportunity for Merton Council to present Wimbledon’s strong place in the future to property owners, businesses and agents. With over half of the borough’s jobs in the town centre, Wimbledon is the economic heart of the area, with a good underlying economy, excellent transport, a lively Business Improvement District and has proven popular with HQs and SMEs. The business types are mixed in this safe neighbourhood so what does the Future Wimbledon look like?

The strengthening between local residents and the town centre is likely to continue and according to Tara Butler, Deputy Head of Future Merton, there will be an emphasis on ‘high-quality design and low carbon’ in buildings, which is likely to be welcomed by this South West London community.

The importance of the interaction between buildings and streets was discussed and how a flexible, pragmatic approach to businesses and buildings needed, to avoid the ‘broken tooth syndrome’ – where empty shops aren’t filled or workspaces are left empty, echoing the past of London in the early years of the 1980’s. The overall aim, Paul McGarry stated, was to ‘strengthen the position of Wimbledon as a major south London Town Centre’. The area has already seen the renaissance of local independent shops and collectives, and continues to be attractive for brands.

The green agenda will flourish, and the town will be avoiding a car-based Covid-19 recovery, making Wimbledon the perfect 15-minute town within our large city. All visitors should be able to enjoy a positive experience (minus pollution) and all buildings should have energy efficiency at their forefront.

Potential Development Sites in Wimbledon

So what does this all mean?

There are a range of sites up for potential redevelopment. These should attract developers who think differently, who can imagine a newer, people-centric centre, which makes experience king. Ideas are already beginning to formulate – new carless walkways, more planting, exciting spaces and great businesses. Wimbledon needs to conserve its past and develop its future – so if you are a developer or property owner and are interested, this is the time to think of Wimbledon and help make it the internationally recognised experience that it is becoming.  


Local Plan Consultation Forum

Merton Council has released its local plan and were invited by Love Wimbledon to come and talk to businesses and property owners about the thinking behind the plan. Love Wimbledon will be releasing our response in the next week or so.

You can watch a recording of the virtual meeting here (passcode: B7Pp+niW) and access the presentation files here.

The Council are interested in hearing the business voice, especially when it comes to flexibility of commercial uses. The consultation closes on 1st February 2021.

Read the full Local Plan   


There are a number of documents with specific sections relating to Wimbledon Town Centre. These sections are:

02. Good Growth Strategy (pg 13 references Wimbledon)

03. Urban Development and Objectives

09. Wimbledon

10. Climate Change

11. Economy and Town Centres (pg 6 includes High Streets, pg 25 active street frontages and town centre types of uses eg shopping, cultural, office, leisure etc)

15. Infrastructure

17. Transport and Urban Mobility


We encourage businesses to comment on the Local Plan by filling the questionnaire here or email Merton Council at The deadline to respond is 1st February 2021.






Supreme Court Rules in Favour of SME Insurance Payouts

Following the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) appeal to the business interruption test case, the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of SMEs receiving insurance payouts as a result of closures and financial loss due to Coronavirus. This means that Wimbledon businesses who had claims denied earlier in the pandemic may now be eligible for compensation from their insurers.


Sheldon Mills, Executive Director, Consumers and Competition at the FCA, commented:

Coronavirus is causing substantial loss and distress to businesses and many are under immense financial strain to stay afloat. This test case involved complex legal issues. Our aim throughout this test case has been to get clarity for as wide a range of parties as possible, as quickly as possible, and today’s judgment decisively removes many of the roadblocks to claims by policyholders.

We will be working with insurers to ensure that they now move quickly to pay claims that the judgment says should be paid, making interim payments wherever possible. Insurers should also communicate directly and quickly with policyholders who have made claims affected by the judgment to explain next steps.

As we have recognised from the start of this case, tens of thousands of small firms and potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs are relying on this. We are grateful to the Supreme Court for delivering the judgment quickly. The speed with which it was reached reflects well on all parties.


Each policy will need to be considered individually against the detailed judgment to work out what it means for that policy. Businesses can expect to hear from their insurers and should get in touch with their broker, advisor or insurer with questions. Businesses unhappy following their insurer’s assessment of their claim may be able to refer their claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service, whose role is to fairly and impartially resolve disputes.

More information about the Supreme Court judgement and the test case can be found here.





Love Wimbledon Delivers A Safe Christmas


Whilst celebrations were different in 2020, Christmas spirit was very much alive in Wimbledon Town Centre. From our sparkling Christmas Tree, to a family-oriented Reindeer Trail and a month of magical Christmas markets, Love Wimbledon provided the community with a safe way to celebrate the Christmas and New Year period during various levels of restrictions.

Christmas Tree

A 25ft tree shone brightly, lighting up the entrance to Wimbledon Station in mid-November. Kindly sponsored by Morrison’s Solicitors, the tree marked the beginning of the festive period and provided cheer and positivity to the town.

Wimbledon’s First Reindeer Trail and Augmented Reality Experience 

This year we had to think creatively and deliver an event that was enjoyable and filled with Christmas spirit for residents and visitors of Wimbledon. Together with Centre Court Shopping Centre Wimbledon’s first reindeer trail was brought to life, designed and installed by Wimbledon BID business Firecracker Works and augmented reality, executed by The Locale 

This gave the community a chance to engage in a socially-distanced outdoor festive activity at a time where Santa’s Grottos and Christmas events usually grace town centres and high streets – including our very own Winter Wonderland, which was cancelled due to the circumstances.

Consisting of nine bright and vibrant reindeer (including Rudolph) installed in various locations throughout the town centre, the trail would see Christmas characters come to life via a scannable QR code on the base of the reindeer and also gave users access to a virtual Santa’s Grotto (outside Lakeland in Centre Court Shopping). The event was well-received by the community and businesses and residents took part. 

Christmas Markets

Our Christmas Markets on The Piazza continued in 2020, driving footfall by providing locals with an outdoor shopping destination and the opportunity to feel the magic of Christmas. During periods of tighter restrictions, the market was adapted to serve food only and stalls were festively dressed and complemented by a lovely winter floral display, generously sponsored by WSM.

We’d like to thank businesses for their continued involvement in the community, from collaborating on or sponsoring installations and events, to donating to those in need and supporting one another in these difficult times. We wish everyone a brighter 2021 and a resilient town centre.