Wimbledon in 2021: A Year in Review

In what was a challenging year, Wimbledon Town Centre showed an impressive level of resilience in 2021, with the community and businesses coming together to do their part to support the town’s recovery, offering hope for what lies ahead in 2022. We look back to the last year, reflecting on positive moments for the town and Wimbledon businesses.

Businesses saw the opportunity to innovate

As the outside became the new inside, businesses continued to adapt, with restaurants refurbishing their outdoor spaces, café’s integrating wellbeing into their service and gyms offering virtual classes. The Polka reopened after an £8.5m refurbishment creating a destination theatre, café and play area – a very welcome addition to the town. New Wimbledon Theatre also returned, after its longest closure in history (including World War 2), with a refreshing take on Aladdin.

Polka Theatre redevelopment 

Town Centre transformation begun 

Many new businesses opened in the town in 2021, including a Zero-waste store and Queens Rd Market in Centre Court Shopping Centre.    Investment in the town centre continued as a  range of new developments began, including Centre Court Shopping Centre, where the new owners and managers Romulus have committed to transforming the inward-looking, 1990s retail environment into a lively, open space to meet friends or colleagues, shop, relax, eat and drink, work or work out. We have created a new page on our website of some of the more significant planning applications to keep businesses appraised. The redevelopment of YMCA is currently well under way, creating a modern, community facility and homes in the Wimbledon.

CGI of transformation plans for Centre Court Shopping Centre

Placemaking continued

Hartfield Walk was unveiled – a reimagined space to sit, enjoy delicious street food and an eco-message. Recognising the need for more seating in the town centre, this project came to fruition at a time where more residents were exploring their local area. The space features an amalgamation of planting, seating, market kiosks, lighting, environmental games and art, all carefully designed to inspire local people of all ages to go greener, through references to combatting air pollution and climate change. 

Wimbledon’s rainbow crossing got a re-vamp too, to feature a more inclusive design. More planting has been introduced to enhance the look and feel of the town, including planters on the Piazza, bedding outside the entrance of Centre Court and a new vertical planting system integrated onto a lampost.

King Falafel food kiosk in Hartfield Walk

Events returned in a different way

All of our usual events were adapted to ensure that they could be delivered safely, and still provide energy, fun and entertainment for all – Big Screen Tennis, Summer Sit Out, Wimbledon Winter Weekender,  Markets (Autumn Arts, Monthly and Christmas), plus outdoor interactive trails such as our Easter Egg pavement hunt, Halloween Hocus Pocus Trail and Spot The Golden Reindeer trail. Local residents, passers-by and businesses all got involved and it could be said that the festive spirit truly returned.

 Wimbledon Winter Weekender

There was certainly no lack of things to do in Wimbledon, with international film and musical festivals, a pop-up cinema, comedy clubs and live music nights, being just some of the activities that were hosted in the town centre.

Business events also returned, as we held our first joint face-to-face lunchtime networking event for local employees with Merton Chamber and sponsored the Merton Best Business Awards (MBBAs), highlighting business resilience over the last 18 months.

Love Wimbledon presents an award at the MBBAs

We’re confident that 2022 will be a year of further evolution for Wimbledon Town Centre and that there are real grounds for optimism. As office workers start to return and businesses are open we will continue to build on promoting your businesses, improving the town centre and developing sustainable solutions for the future. We wish businesses all the best.

The Love Wimbledon Team