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Why Wimbledon Needs a Neighbourhood Plan

December 16, 2020
General News
Merton Chamber

Why Wimbledon Needs a Neighbourhood Plan

Wimbledon is an attractive place to live, work and visit. It offers excellent transport links, outstanding schools, a wide range of shops, a healthy hospitality sector, cultural activities, green spaces, and a ‘safe’ environment. Its desirability as a place to live and/or work, has fostered a strong local economy.

But things are changing fast. The pandemic and consequential social distancing requirements are turbo-driving changes which were already becoming evident.  The retail environment is moving increasingly online, accelerating a decline of shops on high streets across the country. Both retail and hospitality sectors are under extreme pressure; commercial office space is under threat as the necessity to work at home during lockdown has diminished its importance for many businesses. We are at the start of a recession that will result in increased job losses.

Subsequently there is an urgent need to create the right built environment which is appropriate for the changing ways in which we want to live and work in the future. A future in which sustainability must feature strongly as an urgent response to climate change, but we also need a housing stock that is affordable.

Consequently, the Wimbledon community needs to have a statutory say in how our streets, buildings and infrastructure develop. It is vital that we create a pleasing living and working environment which underpins growth and prosperity throughout the area – Plan Wimbledon (the new name for the Wimbledon Neighbourhood Planning Group) gives us the opportunity to do this.

Neighbourhood planning was launched in 2011 by the passing of the Localism Act, which empowers the local community to determine policies that future developments and planning applications would need to meet in order to be approved in the designated area - nearly 3,000 communities across the UK have already done this!

Plan Wimbledon was inaugurated in January this year. It is a volunteer group, and we are currently preparing our case to be designated by Merton Council to be the Neighbourhood Forum for the Wimbledon area.

Once designated, we will be able to develop a neighbourhood plan in consultation with the whole community, harnessing the ideas of residents, businesses, and workers in the area. It will be subject to a final referendum, thus ensuring a transparent and democratic process.

Plan Wimbledon’s key tasks in achieving our designation phase are to:

1. Develop a large and diverse membership which covers all communities within our area

2. Agree the boundary of our area. As a guide, we are looking at an area a mile in radius from the old Civic Hall /Wimbledon station – the proposed boundary is outlined  in orange in the following map:

We need your help in doing this. We would very much appreciate the opportunity to engage with you to discuss our proposed area and find out about your planning needs.

Please contact  Alan Maries on alan.maries@amstar.org.uk or Suzanne Grocott on  grocott.suzanne@gmail.com  for further information or to arrange a meeting.