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Merton Discretionary Grant Fund Scheme Opens for Applications

 

Small and micro businesses with ongoing fixed property costs may be eligible for a grant from the Discretionary Grants Scheme if they were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

This fund is significantly smaller than the previous coronavirus related grants and will only be available to support a small number of businesses in Merton.

Merton Council will administer the scheme in two phases and the deadline for phase 1 applications is 5pm on 24 June 2020.

 

For more information about eligibility and to apply, CLICK HERE 

We are hosting a webinar, 16th June 10-11am,  to assist businesses with understanding the qualifying criteria, in partnership with Merton Chamber of Commerce and Merton Council. Register for the webinar here.

Reach Out and Connect with MPs Paul Scully and Stephen Hammond Webinar Recording

 

On Tuesday 5th May Love Wimbledon and Merton Chamber of Commerce hosted a webinar with MP Paul Scully, the Under Secretary of State for BEIS and Minister for London, and our local MP, Stephen Hammond, about the Government’s support for business and to hear their views of how we might emerge out of lockdown. It was well attended and a prime opportunity for businesses to ask questions about the various areas of government support, including the Business Bounce Back Loans, further details on the top-up grant and when businesses might receive guidance about re-opening.

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

We are here to represent your concerns and lobbying on behalf of businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre to ensure a strong restart. Visit our dedicated Covid-19 page for collated resources to keep up-to-date with government and financial support and public health guidance.

Be sure to check back for future webinars and get in touch if you’d like to address a specific topic or need additional advice and support for your business.  info@lovewimbledon.org

 

 

 

Reach Out and Connect Webinar Recording

 

On Thursday 12th April Love Wimbledon and Merton Chamber of Commerce hosted a joint webinar with Merton Council to discuss what government support is available to businesses at this time, including grants and business rates relief.

It was a great opportunity for businesses to ask questions and gain clarification about options available to them.  We’d like to thank everyone who attended and Merton Council for highlighting what is being done to help businesses recover from the Covid-19 situation.

Love Wimbledon is:

  • Consolidating information from central government
  • Lobbying for a London waiting to be applied to the £51k rateable value threshold given the higher listings in London
  • Communicating with businesses and providing resources such as the checklist if you are closing your business, worked on with Merton Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-ordinating support for businesses that remain open, facilitating support between businesses and the local community through donations and volunteers
  • Maintaining street presence to reduce anti-social activity and keeping an eye on empty premises
  • Working with community groups to accommodate the homeless
  • Preparing for the recovery and will be a key driver in re-opening the Town Centre

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

Download a copy of the presentation here.

Be sure to check back for future webinars and get in touch if you’d like to address a specific topic or need additional advice and support for your business.  info@lovewimbledon.org

Visit our dedicated Covid-19 page for collated resources to keep businesses up-to-date with government and financial support and public health guidance.

 

 

Climate Emergency Consultation

On 10 July 2019, Merton Council declared a Climate Emergency and set the ambitious carbon reduction target to make the borough of Merton carbon neutral by 2050. To lead the way, the Council is also working towards making its own buildings and services carbon neutral by 2030.

Merton Council is currently developing a Climate Action Plan, which will set out how these targets can be achieved, to take to Cabinet and full Council in early 2020. The Council would like businesses and organisations to be a part of this important process by completing their Climate Change Consultation. Closes Monday 9 December.

Latest Wimbledon Parking Update

parking update Aug 2019

At the latest Merton Council meeting about the rise in parking charges, our CEO Helen Clark Bell spoke about the lack of evidence that this change to the parking fees will have on the air quality in the town. Whilst we are all agreed air quality needs to be improved and the council needs to do all it can, she highlighted the high proportion of through traffic and buses that will not be impacted by this proposal and therefore this policy will not have the desired impact on air quality that we are all seeking to achieve.

 

Helen went on to advise that there maybe unintended consequences on the town at this particularly sensitive time for retail and given that there was not sufficient evidence or targets in place, and that we can’t afford to experiment with the health and vibrancy of our high streets.

 

The changes cannot be introduced yet as the Overview and Scrutiny Commission decided that due process was not undertaken sufficiently, but it is expected Merton Council will be implementing the significant rise in parking charges in Wimbledon town centre in the autumn.

 

Within our written and verbal responses, we lobbied for an increase in 20 minute free bays and also a relaxing of the punitive evening operating hours within the council operated car parks. We have secured a £2 flat rate after 6pm in Queens Road and St George’s Road car parks to help support the evening economy.

 

Read more information on the Merton Council Parking Consultation.

Representing You Our BID Businesses

In our February newsletter, we mentioned that we had resolved over 200 issues in January relating to waste, graffiti, flytipping etc. to help our town centre stay clean and be an area we can all be proud of. Having received a number of questions in relation to this, we wanted to inform you that we do not do all this work ourselves!

Love Wimbledon plays an important role in representing you and your business to lobby utility companies, Veolia and Merton Council amongst others and we rely on a strong relationship with them to resolve these issues. As an example we have been working closely with UKPN to address both persistent and one off power cuts in the town. Just this last week there was a power cut along The Broadway affecting a number of businesses. We are liaising with UKPN to request they address Wimbledon as a key business district and to install the infrastructure needed to resolve these power cuts.

You can report incidents directly to our Town Ranger Tom on Tomr@lovewimbledon.org to take forward and as a reminder of the correct channels to use in the case of:

Waste – Report any issues directly through to your specific waste contractor, if issues are persistent please contact Tom.

Graffiti – On public property, please report directly to Tom. On private property, the onus is on the property owner to deal with.

Flytipping – Report directly to Tom.

Water – Report to Thames Water by calling 0800 980 8800.

Power – Report through to UK Power Network on 0800 029 4285 or through their website.

 

Merton Business Rates Consultation

Helen Clark Bell attended the annual Business Rates Consultation at Merton Council, well attended by business representative groups from around Merton.

Merton Council announced that Business Rates for 2019/20 will be increasing by 2.2% as set by central government. In 2018/19 Merton Council collected £92million in business rates, 64% of which was retained to fund local council services. Merton Council will be automatically applying the 100% relief for Small Business Rate Relief, the transitional rate relief from the last revaluation and the 30% retail business rate reduction if your shop has a rateable value of less than £51,000. If you are eligible and this has not been automatically applied then please do contact Merton Council to discuss this.

There are a number of support schemes that Merton Council provide for businesses that may be struggling to pay their business rates and you are encouraged to speak to the council rates department directly if this applies. There are also local discount schemes for new businesses, empty properties and expanding businesses.

For more information https://www.merton.gov.uk/business-and-consumers/business-rates

Merton Council Scrutiny Panel

Merton Council, as part of their scrutiny panel, are asking for support in identifying issues that need to be reviewed. Past reviews have covered issues ranging from cleaner town centres, housing, recycling, road safety and children’s mental health.

Local councillors on Merton’s overview and scrutiny panels regularly carry out reviews of issues and services that affect people living and working in the borough. Ideas are not limited to council services and we will consider any suggestions as long as they affect people living and working in Merton. Fill out the online suggestion form at www.merton.gov.uk/scrutiny by 1st March for consideration at the June meeting.

Proposal to Increase Parking Costs in Wimbledon

In December, Merton Council cabinet received a paper that will have a significant impact on the cost of parking in Wimbledon, within the council car parks and on pay and display bays on the street. The proposals correlate parking with air quality in the town in an effort to encourage a modal shift.

The proposals will see an increase to £4.50 per hour on the street, higher than Richmond, Greenwich, Wandsworth and Hammersmith. Whilst the car parks will increase to either £1.50 or £2 per hour with a 100% increase at The Broadway car park to £2 per hour. Season tickets will also be increased by 25% and business permits will be reviewed later this year.

We fully support the efforts to improve the air quality in Wimbledon, however we believe there are many other contributory factors that are far more significant and at a time of national decline in retail we question whether this is the right time to discourage visitors to the town. Over 60% of the traffic in Wimbledon is through traffic and the biggest polluters are the 10 bus routes that serve the town.  Transport for London have had significant success in Putney High Street, a 90% reduction in NOx emissions, by introducing a Low Emission Bus Zone.

There will be a public consultation for 21 days commencing in January and we have requested to be included within the formal list of consultees.  Helen, our Chief Executive had a meeting with Cllr Martin Whelton before Christmas to discuss these proposals and is also attending the Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Panel on Wednesday 9th January to voice our concerns.

We will notify you as soon as we know more detail to enable you to respond.

The full cabinet paper can be viewed here