Big Wins for Love Wimbledon Businesses at the Merton Best Business Awards

Merton Best Business Awards celebrate and recognise the crème de la crème of businesses within the borough.

Now in its tenth year, the prestigious awards embrace the range of businesses within Wimbledon and the Borough of Merton. These businesses have shown determination and passion to survive the events of the past two years, and have shown resilience, excellence, innovation, and best practice.


Craig Hurring, CEO of Love Wimbledon commented:

‘Love Wimbledon is proud to be part of the Merton Best Business Awards, and to specifically sponsor the Business Innovation Award, recognising the ingenuity of local businesses in exploring new markets, channels and products in an unprecedented business environment. This was an inspirational night celebrating the best of Merton’s business community, and I was particularly delighted to see so many businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre being nominated and winning awards.’


A range of new categories and an easy application process attracted a high number of applications, with Wimbledon Town Centre businesses scooping a number of awards and runner-up positions:


The Alexandra

Aya Lebanese Cuisine

Love Wimbledon BID business, The Alexandra took home The Contribution to the Community Award, while The Polka Theatre, won The Sustainable Impact Award and finally Aya Lebanese Cuisine, was awarded with Enterprising Young Person of the Year Award.


The Polka Theatre

Runners up:

  • Mint Wellbeing – The Best Enterprising Business and Independent Business Award
  • Elys Wimbledon – Business Innovation Award
  • The Polka Theatre – Champions of Change Award
  • Harnham – Large Independent Business Award
  • Scrivener Tibbatts – Employer of the Year


Congratulations to all the finalists and winners, a full list can be found on the Merton Best website here.

Love Wimbledon was proud to be gold sponsors of this event and sponsored the ‘Business Innovation Award’. The winner of this award continues to survive, revive, and thrive against the odds.

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.





Talk of the Town 2020

We were delighted to welcome so many participants to our annual Talk of the Town event on Wednesday 11th November.

It was a virtual meeting this year with a terrific turnout and, if you missed the meeting, a recording can be accessed here. (passcode: =V3sqTd!)


Helen Clark Bell, Chief Executive said:

It is always a pleasure to speak to businesses about the work that Love Wimbledon BID delivers and to present our Annual Report for 2019/20. It is a challenge to communicate in a short presentation the breadth of our activity but I would like to thank everyone for attending our virtual Talk of the Town event this year, for your questions and for your positive feedback and comments.


We heard from two local businesses, Jitesh Patel, CEO of Peldon Rose, who spoke about the future of the workplace and a Q&A with Libby Andrews, Marketing Director of Pho Restaurants, discussing how Covid-19 has impacted their business, how they’ve adapted and the support they’ve received from Love Wimbledon. Sally Warren from Love Wimbledon gave an insight into the placemaking projects we have been working on to contribute to the personality and identity of the town.


Jitesh Patel said:

We are going to start seeing the inherent value of creating workspaces because that’s where you create cultures and that’s where you inspire people and nurture talent…Hybrid working was always here…more and more people need a mix between homeworking and a workspace (an office/location) and being located in a place where this can be facilitated is becoming more important.


Libby Andrews commented:

Love Wimbledon has always provided us with a connection to the people in Wimbledon. The people who work there, the people who live there…and helped us to communicate to their audience. It feels like a small town coming together in a big city and Love Wimbledon has helped us to keep a face to the brand and not become a faceless chain.


Thank you to everyone who was able to join the meeting, links from the presentations are below.


Love Wimbledon Annual Report

Covid-19 Hub for Businesses

Consumer Home Page

Secret Wimbledon (includes links to artwork and placemaking)

What’s On

The Office of the Future (Jitesh Patel, CEO Peldon Rose)


Government Announces BID Resilience Fund

Wimbledon Town Centre - Centre Court


A BID Resilience Fund has been announced by government to assist Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in recognition of the importance of BIDs in supporting businesses through Covid-19 and the vital role we will play in recovery. We are looking forward to understanding the detail of the grant, and we appreciate Stephen Hammond MP’s support in lobbying for this to ensure that Love Wimbledon is able to lead from crisis to recovery.

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP said:

“BIDs are uniquely placed and have a proven track record of success in supporting local businesses, empowering communities, championing our town centres and driving forward the renewal of our high streets.  It’s only right that during these unprecedented times we give them all the necessary support they need to continue operating, so that they can carry on their vital work now and crucially when we move into the recovery phase from the current crisis.”

Helen Clark Bell, Chief Executive of Love Wimbledon BID said:

“We are using our networks and partnerships to provide co-ordination and support to Wimbledon Town Centre businesses. We have been lobbying for our businesses that have found themselves ineligible for funding, whilst supporting Merton Council to release those funds promptly to those that are eligible. This fund is particularly welcome at this juncture to enable us to continue this support and lead the town into recovery in a safe and responsible way.”

Read the press release here.

Love Wimbledon Joins #RaiseTheBar Campaign


These are unprecedented times for our economy at a local, regional and national level. Industry leaders, political figures and Business Improvement Districts are calling on the Government to support businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors who have a rateable value of more than £51,000.  

Love Wimbledon is proud to join a #RaiseTheBar campaign being led by Croydon BID, asking Central Government to expand the rateable value threshold for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses from £51,000 to any business with a rateable value up to and including £150,000, allowing businesses the opportunity to access the £25,000 grant in order to survive. Our campaign is supported by industry wide bodies that represent over 100,000 businesses across the UK.  

The retail, hospitality and leisure sector is vital to the UK economy and must be protected at all costs. The retail industry alone generated £394 billion worth of sales in 2019 with 306,655 units across the UK. In 2019, the UK leisure sector reached over £111 billion in sales. The UK hospitality employs over 3.2 million people, that is 11% of UK jobs, making it the third largest sector in the UK, accounting for £130 billion in revenue, 6% of all businesses and 5% GDP.   

In London alone, there are 19,000 businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 and therefore with no access to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. We believe strongly that the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant provision and, in particular, the threshold of £51,000 to be far too low to provide adequate support to these businesses in their time of need. In raising the threshold to £150,000, over 13,000 businesses in London will benefit.  

Whether these businesses are independent or operating from more than one location, we forget those with a rateable value of £51,000 or more at our peril. Feedback suggests that they are carrying significant stock losses and are still facing immediate cash flow challenges that wage subsidies will not address. Many are not in a position to take on further debt or have serious concerns about being able to survive the recovery. 

To date, 80% of our businesses have been excluded from government loan support schemes due to their size or European Union State Aid rules. These are some of our most adaptable businesses and the economy will need them to stave off the threat of cessation so that they can play their role in rejuvenating the economy and contributing to community wellbeing. 


“Our high streets have been adapting over the past few years to the increased demand in leisure and hospitality alongside retail. The high level of the rateable values of these properties needs to be recognised. By increasing thsomewhat arbitrary threshold from £51k to £150k an additional 180 businesses in Wimbledon would be supported, representing 5,600 jobs, around 30% of the employment in the town.”

Helen Clark Bell, Chief Excecutive, Love Wimbledon


Matthew Sims, Chief Executive of Croydon BID said: “We acknowledge that by increasing the RHLG threshold up to and including £150,000 will increase the burden on central and local government. This is a price we believe is worth paying to ensure businesses are given the opportunity to become part of the greater push to mobilise our economy, rather than leaving premises empty, growing unemployment with or without the job retention scheme and sectors contracting across the board”.  

Bill Addy, Chief Executive of Liverpool BID and Chair of The BID Foundation said: “We cannot underestimate the importance of our Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors and not just to what they bring to our economy but the people that are employed within them. That is why the Business Improvement Districts across the UK are supporting the #RaiseTheBar Campaign in asking Government to increase the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure rateable value threshold from £51k to £150k. In doing so, more business will have access to a £25k grant supporting their fight to survive and to allow them to play their central role in kick-starting our economy.”  

It is obvious that even with an expansion of the cap, that not all businesses will benefit. What we believe to be important is that the grant scheme is reasonably extended as critically, this will help thousands of businesses to adapt to the challenges ahead.   

Our request supported by many industry leaders and businesses will, for most, offer the single biggest difference in their personal commercial fight against this crisis.  

This is a collective campaign designed to support the people that work for and run businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Across the UK, there are individual, personal concerns and uncertainties surrounding the economy and the effect that COVID-19 will have on them. In amending the rateable value from £51,000 to £150,000, we not only save businesses but we also save jobs.  


To support the campaign individually whether you work in the sectors or not, you can visit and sign up to make a positive change.  Plus, sign the Petition to show your support SIGN HERE


Read more about how Love Wimbledon is lobbying for businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre here.

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.


Winter Wonderland brings Christmas to Wimbledon


Love Wimbledon’s Winter Wonderland brought a joyous warm glow to our town centre on Sunday 1 December.


With The Broadway closed to traffic, thousands of visitors filled the streets, enjoying festive entertainment, tucking in to traditional treats and getting hands-on with a host of activities for all ages. Shoppers were also treated to a huge array of unique and handmade gifts, including original art, homeware, clothing and accessories from local artisans at our Christmas Market.

Thank you to the businesses in Wimbledon for supporting the event, namely Centre Court Shopping Centre for the spectacular fireworks display, New Wimbledon Theatre who provided Cinderella cut outs for photos and Sticks N Sushi, a new addition to the array of delicious food stalls.







Culture in London is Now Mapped

The Cultural Infrastructure Plan, launched by the Mayor of London, is an initiative to support and grow cultural spaces in the capital for generations to come.

There is also a plan that goes with it to:

-Understanding where London’s cultural infrastructure is located

-Planning for and creating new cultural infrastructure

-Providing major infrastructure for a world class city

-Supporting culture at risk

-Increasing investment

-Creating policy to enable culture and the creative industries to put down roots

-Providing training, networking and guidance

Within the campaign is a new Cultural Infrastructure Map, showcasing over 25K entries and bringing London’s cultural landscape to life. We have added all of our cultural, pub and late night venues to this map (submitted and waiting for inclusion) and members of the public and venue operators can add to it here.

London sealed its reputation as a world leader for art and design teaching with the Royal College of Art and University of the Arts London securing first and second place respectively in the QS University World Rankings out of 200 of the world’s top universities. Love Wimbledon work alongside the Wimbledon College of Art and local graduates for our arts market, installations around town and campaigns to celebrate local talent and we look forward to this continued relationship.

Pink Tree Installation by Wimbledon College of Art Graduate, 2014.

Wimbledon’s first Trivia Pub Trail in aid of stem4

Love Wimbledon and stem4 were proud to present Wimbledon’s first charity Trivia Pub Trail held on 21st March.  An evening of pub stops, interactive questions and challenges around Wimbledon Town Centre – all through their mobile phones.

14 teams from local businesses went head to head taking on the trivia trail, enjoying the hospitality of 6 local pubs, climbing the live scoreboard and raising £440 for stem4 the Wimbledon based teenage mental health charity.

Dr Nihara Krause, Founder and CEO of stem4 commented, “We are delighted to be the recipients of the quiz trail organised by Love Wimbledon. As a small, local charity, we value being supported by the corporate community in Wimbledon and would like to thank Love Wimbledon and everyone who took part in this very enjoyable event. stem4 provide  a valuable service through our mental health education programme for children and young people, their families and teachers and the provision of digital tools to help teenagers challenge the onset of mental health problems and build resilience so that they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.”

Katie Owen from Love Wimbledon, Sarah Sterne and Rebecca Gibson from stem4, Sally Warren from Love Wimbledon













A great night was had by all who played and when asked what the teams enjoyed most about our Trivia Pub Trail they answered:

“the brilliant sense of community, bonding with colleagues and supporting stem4 and Love Wimbledon”

“experiencing the bars or Wimbledon and raising money for a good cause”

“spending time with work colleagues”

“discovering the amazing pub venues”


Congratulations to our winning team from local business Datix, they won themselves a £100 gift card from Sticks’n’Sushi Wimbledon to enjoy a meal.

Datix teams (L-R) Iwona McCarthy, Luke Snelling, Polly Kirk, Fern Berreen, Jess Money, Matthew Brew.

The runners up team was from Sew White who will enjoy a £50 bar tab from Smash Wimbledon while they enjoy ping-pong and pizzas!

Sew White team (L-R): Sisley White, Katie Owen from Love Wimbledon, Rebecca Reading.

Special thanks to our generous pubs who hosted hotspots including: Bar+Block Steakhouse, Smash Wimbledon, The Old Frizzle, The Garratt & Gauge, The Alexandra and 601 Queen’s Rd.


Take a look at some of the photos on our Facebook page to see how much fun they had for yourself and we hope to see you at our future business events.