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Love Wimbledon’s Response to the Final Local Plan 

See below Love Wimbledon’s response to the final Local Plan consultation, which aims is to ensure that Wimbledon continues to be a thriving destination for businesses, local residents and visitors.

Although supportive of the essence of the plan on Wimbledon’s economy, jobs, development, investment and growth, we ask that more emphasis is placed on improving the Wimbledon experience in a ‘living with’ Covid-19 world for all visitors whether local or international.

We would like to see included in Wimbledon Town Centre:

  • A stronger focus on air quality and traffic improvements within the town centre, particularly for through traffic and delivery bikes
  • A clearer focus on climate action in building development, refurbishing rather than rebuilding where possible, supporting commercial retrofits and using the LETI standards with target of zero emissions for future offices/buildings
  • Support for improvement of digital inclusion
  • A strategy for the station improvements without Crossrail going ahead
  • An emphasis on supporting shops, especially independents
  • Less of a focus on conference facilities and hotels (unless independent)
  • A vision to include an arts centre in the town centre
  • A town centre which conserves its historical architectural interest whilst creating high quality developments
  • Less of an emphasis on redevelopment but organic improvements
  • Improve its experiential reputation as an internationally recognised location with spaces and places which support that
  • Clearer vision on how to manage the delivery industry in a green and sustainable way
  • Landlord charter to engage with all landlords for the future of the town – share responsibility and curation for the future of the town
  • Improve green spaces and places – include reference to the climate emergency plans
  • Make sure commercial properties and the town centre provide cycling facilities and accessible pathways for people cycling to and through the town centre, making Wimbledon a cycling-friendly town
  • A clear policy for the town centre, including its conservation areas, on shop signage and active frontages including hoardings and unoccupied shops

To find out more about the local plan for Wimbledon, click here.

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.

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 future.merton@merton.gov.uk. The deadline to respond is 1st February 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

Local Plan Consultation Launches

Merton Council have launched the FINAL consultation for their Local Plan. This plan:

  • Is a development plan and is part of the governments planning system
  • Sets out the strategic planning framework for 15 years in Merton
  • Covers subjects such as healthy streets, transport, air quality, climate change, retail, office, new homes, and industrial development

Once adopted it supersedes all planning documents.

It is a very important document that can help shape a better Wimbledon Town Centre.

Love Wimbledon will:

  • Provide links to the document which affects Wimbledon
  • Hold a Zoom forum on 20th January at 4pm for businesses, landlords, developers, agents and other key stakeholders
  • Gather feedback from BID businesses to inform a response

*This plan is very important as the outputs from the document will be in place for 15 years.

Deadline is 1st February. 

 

Local Plan for Merton – FAQ

Local Plan for Merton – FAQ

Wimbledon Town Centre key documents

01 What is a local Plan?

  • It is created by the Borough Council (Merton)
  • It is a development plan and is part of the governments planning system
  • It sets out the strategic planning framework for 15 years in Merton
  • It covers subjects such as new homes, healthy streets, transport, air quality, climate change, retail, office and industrial development
  • Once adopted it supersedes all planning documents

 

02 Why should we care?

The plans consultation closes on January 28 2019. A public enquiry should happen in Winter 2019 and adoption of the strategy in 2020. THE OUTPUTS FROM THE DOCUMENT WILL BE IN PLACE FOR FIFTEEN YEARS.

The plan sets out a vision, strategy and a lot of planning detail.

The aim for Wimbledon Town Centre is:

To ensure Wimbledon continues to be a thriving destination for businesses, local residents and visitors. The policy N3.6 outlines the detail including site specific information  (if you are a BID business, this is the one to read) and the ten points that have come through Future Wimbledon workshops.

 

03 What are the visions / aims?

Vision for Wimbledon Town Centre:

By 2036 The overall quality of Wimbledon town centre will more closely match the attractive residential areas that surround it.

2040s. A plan for the future of over-station development, greater access across the tracks, public space at the heart of Wimbledon Bridge and the future of Dundonald Yards will be implemented

 

Vision for all town centres in Merton (including Wimbledon)

Town Centres Document is here at the end of the Economy document.
Sections of importance:

Tc7.6 – Location and scale of development in Merton’s town centres and neighbourhood parades

Tc7.7 – Protection of shopping facilities within designated shopping frontages

Tc7.10 – Food and drink / leisure / entertainment uses

Tc7.11 – Culture, arts and tourism development

 

04 What are the overall borough objectives?

These can be found within Merton Councils document ‘Strategic Vision and Objectives’, but top line they are:

1 Healthy Places

To make Merton a healthier place for all.

2 Place

To promote a high quality urban and suburban environment in Merton where development is well designed and contributes to the function and character of the borough.

3 Housing

To provide new homes and infrastructure within Merton’s town centres and residential areas, through physical regeneration and effective use of space.

4 Environment

To make Merton an exemplary borough in mitigating and adapting to climate change, reducing pollution, developing a low carbon economy, consuming fewer resources and using them more effectively.

5 Infrastructure

To make Merton a well-connected and accessible place where walking, cycling and public transport are the modes of choice when planning all journeys.

6 Economy (this document is particularly useful for BID businesses)

To make Merton, a prosperous borough, with a strong, sustainable and thriving economy.

 

05 How do I comment?

You can email or write to Merton Council, quoting the policy or site number that you are commenting on:

Email: future.merton@merton.gov.uk

Post: FutureMerton team

London Borough of Merton

London Road

Morden SM4 5DX

 

All the documents are on Merton’s website HERE if you would like to read anything in more detail.