Love Wimbledon support much of Merton Councils Future Wimbledon Supplementary Planning Document and agree that:
Wimbledon needs more and improved commercial space (office, cultural and leisure) as we see more businesses struggle to relocate or locate here, especially as they grow and expand. Wimbledon needs a stronger mix of types and an improved portfolio of commercial space.
We reiterate again that:
‘The masterplan needs to do all it can to improve the look and feel of the town centre whilst enabling growth for current and future businesses in Wimbledon. Several businesses have moved away from Wimbledon as the office portfolio needs more flexibility, be of higher quality whilst also catering for small start-ups. There are retailers who are not able to currently locate here due to the inflexibility of retail sq footage. We would welcome a long-term strategy of providing affordable retail and workspace in the future.’ Love Wimbledon January 2019
- Maintaining and enhancing the retail core
- The town staying as a metropolitan status
- Greening and environmental improvement opportunities
- Improved design quality and materials
- Improved public realm
- Heritage buildings and spaces conserved and improved
- Culture being the catalyst, and Wimbledon aspiring to be the cultural destination in South West London
The new thinking around Victoria Crescent and over the tracks reconnects the town and provides greening, public spaces and better connectivity for all.
We believe more emphasis needs to be given on the following:
- The need for supporting small / start-up and independent businesses including offices, retail, culture and eateries and including a caveat in all planning applications that landlords must invest in their local business community if redeveloping
- We are also concerned about the relationship with the new High Path development in South Wimbledon which includes retail and workspace and the impact that may have on the town centre.
- Wimbledon needs a clear differentiation from competitors and regional centres and the plan shows little evidence that this has been considered.
- Through traffic needs to be reduced long term, especially with the arrival of the London ULEZ to the South Circular – we want to see a council which is committed to delivering the reduction of pollution and improvement of air quality in Wimbledon Town Centre and tackling the polluting through traffic.
- We urge you have stronger planning reforms for green design – buildings which are zero-carbon or offset and soft landscaping in all developments (we have recently seen the soft landscaping being removed from new designs e.g. New Wimbledon Theatre, Premier Inn and Pinnacle House.) If Wimbledon is to thrive it needs to do more than, not just the minimum.
- Commercial space needs to be flexible and change with changing needs. E.g. retail to leisure, large formats to smaller formats.
- For developers to have clear direction during the planning process as to what constitutes good design and high-quality materials so it can be delivered.
- We want to see Thameslink and the importance of the South Wimbledon Tram Connection higher up the agenda and lobbying for the improvement of public transport services and connections especially if Crossrail 2 does not go ahead.
- We want to see an open mind to what our cultural heritage is – it doesn’t just have to be late nineteenth / early twentieth century or a building (art deco / mews and connectivity / The Piazza brick design.)
- We want an assurance that the station will not be left to rot over the next few years as the decision is postponed year after year.
- We ask that as part of all planning applications the landlord must be responsible for creating hoardings which engage with the local community and work with the council or the BID to produce these. This can be developed in the local plan, but it needs to be delivered sooner.
- Whilst there is a guide to height, the guide should go further to detail the roof typography for Wimbledon to look good and attractive from far away so anyone approaching Wimbledon remarks upon the magnificent profile of the town.
- We fully support the idea of a new ‘arts centre’ which not only has performing spaces but art spaces, community spaces that are open to all rather than exclusive.
Love Wimbledon would encourage the inclusion of a ‘Play’ strategy for children and teenagers to have a good experience in their local town centre.
Lastly, the question remains…what is Plan B if Crossrail 2 does not go ahead?
We look forward to developing these conversations through the details of the upcoming Local Plan consultation. With all the above, the detail needs to be specified and clear.
The BID has been a proud partner over the last seven years and an active participant in the development of this masterplan/supplementary planning document along with many other interested parties. This journey has demonstrated the passion and enthusiasm about Wimbledon’s future and we are sure we all wish to see a more attractive and sustainable Wimbledon develop.