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game and set

Active aspirations

global light

Worldwide expansion

fine craft

Creative living


Computer generated image is indicative only and subject to planning.


Our business is about placemaking, not just housebuilding At Wimbledon Hill Park we are building a mix of stylish apartments and townhouses set around the conversion of the spectacular Atkinson Morley Hospital. As part of our redevelopment in the area, we are contributing: • 19 acres of restored Metropolitan Open Land • Rental cottage to provide income for the upkeep of the Metropolitan Open Land • Sports pavilion for the local school, complete with three new sports pitches • Financial contribution which helped pay for the new HQ of the 19th Wimbledon Scouts group • Restoration and refurbishment of locally listed building

For more information call 020 3797 6651 or visit www.wimbledonhillpark.co.uk


Fortescue Road, Colliers Wood

The Goldcrest team specialises in acquiring challenging sites without planning permission and through a creative approach to problem solving has obtained planning consent for high quality developments across London and the Southeast. We are passionate about regeneration and improving the neighbourhoods in which we work. We regularly meet with local residents and user groups active in the vicinity of our developments to better understand their vision for their neighbourhood and explore how we can work with the community to ensure our proposals will enhance the environment. We are currently working on a number of exciting schemes across the London Borough of Merton. We are delighted that our recently approved scheme at Fortescue Road, Colliers Wood (illustrated above) has made the 2017 Housing Design Awards shortlist. Our proposal will transform a derelict former depot site and deliver 74 private and affordable homes set in extensive high quality landscaped gardens designed to encourage interaction and foster a sense of community. If you own land and are interested in working with us please contact us. enquiry@goldcrestland.com www.goldcrestland.com


contents

Siobhán Crozier editor James Wood news and digital editor Marco Cillario trainee reporter Aileen Murphy design Kate Harkus production manager Christopher Hazeldine editorial director

business development director

Paul Gussar

business development manager

Harry Seal project manager Sue Mapara subscriptions manager Simon Maxwell managing director Toby Fox Sara Williams & Paul McGarry, Merton Council’s futureMerton team

for information contact:

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p r oj ec t s Tracking major regeneration schemes across the borough.

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n e ws Updates on housing, investment, business and sport.

sport and leisure World-famous tennis at Wimbledon is not all Merton has to offer for sports fans.

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markets Facts and figures.

m a d e i n m e rto n A South Wimbledon lighting company is one of the borough’s major f i l m s a n d f e s t i va l s business success stories. Cultural projects help attract s i t e m atc h significant investment into the borough. Q&A: Morden town centre. wimbledon The town’s reputation as an affluent suburb is established, but big plans are circulating for its future.

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m e rto n a b b e y m i l l s Theatre, arts and craft and gastro delights – visiting one of Merton’s most popular attractions.

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p r oj ec t s m a p Locating key development sites.

Craft goods at Merton Abbey Mills, photo by Sharron Wallace images Sharron Wallace, AELTC / Matthias Hangst, Goldcrest Land, Merton Council, HTA Design LLP. Berkeley Homes, Wimbledon BookFest, Rene Teichmann / Shutterstock.com, Avalon Television, Christopher Hazeldine, Paul Winch-Furness / The Ivy, Crossrail, L&Q, Whitbread, PRP Architects, AELTC / Joel Marklund, AELTC / Bob Martin, Deen van Meer ® Disney, James Mackenzie, Manuel Harlan, City of Dreams, EXHIBITIONISM, Chris Hollier printed by Park Communications published by 3Fox International, Sunley House, Bedford Park, Croydon CR0 2AP t 020 7978 6840 w 3foxinternational.com subscriptions + feedback futuremerton.co.uk cover image

© 2017 3Fox International Limited. All material is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of 3Fox International Ltd is strictly forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this magazine at time of going to press, but we accept no responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of 3Fox International Ltd.

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NEWS

COLLIERS WOOD HOMES APPROVED Colliers Wood is to see 74 homes built after planning approval was given to Goldcrest Land for a scheme to redevelop a former Thames Water depot on Fortescue Road. The plan features five studios, 18 one-bed, 34 two-bed and 17 three-bed properties, as well as 29 parking spaces and 129 bike storage spaces. Of the homes, 15% will be allocated as affordable and 6% will be available through Starter Homes, a government scheme supporting first-time buyers. The residential project will include footpaths and cycle access points to improve safety.

01 Residents will be able to make use of outdoor space for gardening pursuits.

A variety of communal amenities are planned, including a ‘productive garden’ to provide future residents with community space and the opportunity to ‘grow their own’. Beehives, bird and bat boxes and a wildlife pond will enhance biodiversity at the site. Jacqui Macqueen, design director at Goldcrest Land, told Future Merton that the site was “technically very complex”. She added: “From the outset we chose to treat the many challenges we faced as opportunities, not obstacles, and I feel this positive approach is reflected in the final design.”

tennis courts expansion served up More tennis courts are to be built in Wimbledon after Merton Council approved plans to redevelop the western side of the All England Club. Proposals were given the green light on 16 March 2017 for five covered tennis courts to be demolished, making way for six indoor and six outdoor courts. The scheme has now been submitted to the Greater London Authority for final approval. A new building for the indoor courts will also include basement parking for around 340 cars. The 17.3-ha site at SW19 includes 53 tennis courts, 18 of which are used for The

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spectator seats will be added to Court Number One

Championships, which attract half a million people every summer and are followed on various media by more than a billion worldwide. Work by contractor Sir Robert McAlpine is also progressing on a £70 million retractable roof for Court Number One, to allow for uninterrupted play from 2019 regardless of the weather conditions. Additionally, 900 seats will be added. Meanwhile, Court 19 is being replaced with a two-level public plaza. Concrete slabs are in place, the stairs are being constructed and an undercroft area is being excavated beneath the previous court level for a new officials’ restaurant.


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Work is to be completed on a £6 million town centre regeneration project to improve Mitcham by 2018. The ‘Rediscover Mitcham’ initiative, started in 2015, aims to overcome the decline of the area by improving transport links, attracting more retailers to the town centre and supporting existing local businesses. The introduction of buses through the previously fully pedestrianised town centre, starting in August 2017, is expected to increase footfall. The Fair Green area is to be enlarged and significantly improved with landscaping, lighting, paths and

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seating, creating a more accessible and attractive green space. Work has begun at the junction of Holborn Way and St Mark’s Road, creating new pedestrian and traffic islands. The new traffic lights have been switched on. The junction between Upper Green West, Upper Green East and London Road has been re-surfaced, with work on the carriageway completed in April 2017. The final major junction improvements between Holborn Way and Western Road will be carried out during the summer.

£1 b i l l i o n f o r m e r to n e s ta t e s Clarion Housing Group is planning a £1 billion investment to build 2,800 homes on estates across the London Borough of Merton. The largest housing association in the UK has submitted planning applications for homes in Eastfields and Ravensbury in Mitcham and High Path in South Wimbledon. Details of the proposals include building 1,800 new homes to rent and buy and replacing 1,000 homes. All existing tenants and resident homeowners wishing to remain in the neighbourhood would be rehoused. Residents have been consulted on the plans and feedback has been incorporated into the outline planning applications, which set out how the streets, buildings and outside spaces could look. The emphasis is on creating “energy-efficient, durable homes, green spaces and community facilities”. Paul Quinn, director of Merton regeneration at Clarion, said: “Our primary responsibility is to residents of the three neighbourhoods, so we’ve been discussing regeneration with

them every step of the way. We’ve pledged to keep these communities together by guaranteeing that every existing tenant of ours, and resident homeowner, has the option to remain in their neighbourhood at no additional cost. “Our regeneration proposals will contribute to prosperity, health and wellbeing through job creation, opportunities for local businesses, better community and green spaces and links to local areas. We will also provide extensive opportunities for training and employment, and a range of initiatives to improve the life

chances of young people. This is an exciting time for Merton.” With planning permission secured for 21 homes on the disused garages site at Ravensbury and for 134 homes on land not currently used for housing at High Path, new properties will be occupied by existing residents who will move straight into their new homes. Subject to planning approval for each of the neighbourhoods, the demolition of existing homes in the initial phases is scheduled to start in late 2017. Clarion was formed last year, following a merger between Affinity Sutton and Circle Housing. I SS UE 2

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arts funding for learning

w e l l i n gto n r o w s e t f o r s u m m e r A 27-home scheme at the former Atkinson Morley Hospital on Copse Hill is to complete this summer. A show home has opened for viewings at Wellington Row, which is part of the Wimbledon Hill Park development scheme. The project by Berkeley Homes includes a mix of family homes and apartments set within 7.69ha of protected open land. The hospital building has been redeveloped into 27 apartments

including duplexes and triplexes. Three new sports pitches and a pavilion are also being delivered. The complex will also feature a car park, a concierge service and a new footpath linking to Raynes Park. The Victorian hospital has undergone a major restoration project. A brickwork effect was installed to restore the damaged exterior and the chapel’s original ceiling and stained glass underwent what Berkeley called a “sensitive refurbishment”.

m e rto n t r i u m p h s at business awards Merton Council has won the Best Small BusinessFriendly Procurement to Support Local Trade award. The prize celebrates council initiatives which give small businesses access to public sector contracts. Merton Council impressed judges with a purchasing system, allowing small taxi firms to bid for private services for children with special educational needs and vulnerable adults. The borough has also previously won Best Programme of Support for

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Small Businesses and Best All-Round Small Business Borough. Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of the council, said: “We have long recognised that small businesses play a crucial role in Merton’s local economy and we are determined to make it as easy as possible for them to work with the council.” The Small Business-Friendly Awards were organised by the London Region of The Federation of Small Businesses and London Councils.

Merton Arts Space – which opened at the end of last year at the back of Wimbledon Library – and Mitcham Library have both been awarded funding for youth literacy, arts and culture initiatives. A grant of £142,000 from Arts Council England will be used to promote library services in Merton to 11-18 year-olds. Artists will work with teenagers to develop a series of performances inspired by the theme “My Library”. Arts Council England’s London area director, Joyce Wilson, said: “This project will inject a vital shot of energy into an area of outer London that will really feel the benefits. “Merton Council will create not only cultural contact points for young people who may not have had much access to art and culture before, but also dedicated physical spaces that they can help shape and make their own.” Since opening in December 2016, Merton Arts Space has become a flexible multipurpose library and performance area, with moveable bookcases, tables and chairs. The facility also includes professional standard lighting and sound equipment and has an audience capacity of 250.


How to Set Up a Local Housing Company is the definitive guide on this topic and includes expert advice and guidance from specialist Mark Baigent and case studies from pioneering local authorities. Learn about good practice, governance, delivery and potential pitfalls. To receive a copy of the guide or to find out more about associated events and workshops please contact Harry Seal – harry@3foxinternational.com

Download the guide at housinginnovations.org


Galliard. The pioneers of regeneration across Central & South London – and now proud to be working in the borough of Merton.


galliard homes.com 0207 620 1500


Shaping Change - Colliers Wood


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C U LT U R A L E XC H A N G E From Hollywood productions starring Tom Cruise to Wimbledon tennis and popular book and music festivals, Merton is a magnet for events BY noella pio kivlehan

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estivals have become as integral a part of the British summertime as long days in the park, crowded beaches and the threat of rain at the Wimbledon tennis championships. Thousands of festivals and events will be held the length and breadth of the country. And as well as the famous old tournament at SW19, Merton significantly contributes to that number. Not just in summer, but throughout the year, the council – directly or through partnerships – runs and supports a myriad of events ranging from artistic festivals to flaunting homegrown talent through productions and plays.

The annual Wimbledon BookFest is one example, which has previously featured broadcaster and TV personality Jeremy Paxman, author Sebastian Faulks and politician Vince Cable. Other highlights range from Mitcham Carnival to the Wimbledon International Short Film Festival – and on 5 August, the Eastern Electrics dance festival, headlined by Carl Cox, will find a new home in Morden Park. The council recognises a strong cultural offer attracts visitors to Merton, while bolstering the local economy. It is estimated that businesses benefit by £2.50 for every pound spent when the borough is used as a filming location.

03 03 Merton’s children are offered the chance to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. 04 The venue holds up to 5,272 people. 05 Percussionists take to the stage at the concert.

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01 Jeremy Paxman in conversation with former editor of The Weekend FT, Caroline Daniel, at Wimbledon BookFest. 02 The Curse of the Were-Rat by Jan Julian Rospond – winner of the Best Animated Film at The Wimbledon International Short Film Festival.


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Sara Williams, Merton’s economic development manager, also acknowledges that while regeneration can often focus too much on the built environment, “for us, creating great places that people enjoy means supporting the ‘software’ – the events and activities that bring the borough to life”. “We are working with London & Partners to showcase the wider range of events in Merton at a city-wide level. We have an ambition that Merton will be known for having an annual calendar bursting with events, with plenty to see and do,” she says. Such is the overall importance of the

music foundations Being “well-regarded” by Arts Council England may seem a slightly muted statement, but for Elisabeth Wigley, those two words mean being bestowed one of the highest compliments a music-led body could be offered. Wigley, chief executive of the Merton Music Foundation (MMF), is very proud of the musical heritage it helps create. It has seen the likes of British band Mumford and Sons and singer Louise Alder – who is set to represent London at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in June – attend its classes. A stand-out event for the MMF is its concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Called Music is for Life, it took place this year on 8 May and involved 1,500 singers, musicians and performers, with specially commissioned pieces from renowned composers and directors. Occurring once only every two years, Wigley says performing at the Royal Albert Hall is an honour.“There are not many organisations like us allowed to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as they restrict access. There are only a few charity bookings available at any time of the year, and only a handful manage to get them. For us, and the borough, it is hugely prestigious and fabulous to work at the Royal Albert Hall.” Established in 1991, the MMF is the lead partner of the Merton Music

“On another, it’s the nearest some Education Hub – a union of organisations will have got to doing something like this committed to delivering the aims of the because they come from poorer parts of government’s 2011 National Plan for the borough: even the chance to go to Music Education. It lets every child in the Royal Albert Hall, let alone being in a Merton between five and 18 have the concert there, is almost non-existent.” opportunity to learn a musical instrument, As for the actual concert, Wigley take part in ensembles and sing. says there will be performances from MMF runs choral projects with other those attending a day care centre for organisations such as the Wimbledon adults with learning disabilities, to an Music Festival, the orchestra, Age of arrangement of the Bill Withers classic Enlightenment and the Polka Theatre. song, Lean on Me. “We tend to have a Hellenistic approach to what we do, and we are not precious, “We have a fantastic percussion we want to share this. item, a guitar ensemble and a concert “We are about giving children band playing music from Hollywood film, opportunities, especially if they Pirates of the Caribbean,” says Wigley. don’t come from a musical home,” says Wigley, who i t i s h u g ely p r e st ig i o u s heads up an 80-strong a n d fa b ulo u s to wo r k teaching team offering at t h e r oya l a l be rt h a ll tuition in and out of different schools. Elisabeth Wigley, chief executive, MMF Speaking in advance of May’s Royal Albert Hall concert, Also included is a specially Wigley said: “The MMF is for all children. commissioned piece from dramatist, There will be a huge range of abilities composer and author, Neil Brand, and from those with profound and multiple work called Speak Up, Speak Out, learning disabilities, through to some inspired by the “Shakespeare youngsters who are on the National 400” birthday celebrations in 2016/17 Youth Orchestra and National Children’s by composers Pete Churchill and Adam Orchestra. On one level, what they get Saunders, writer Andrew Alty and out of being involved [in the concert] director Kate McGregor. is having the best possible musical At MMF, says Wigley, “we don’t do experience that we can give. things small”. I SS UE 2

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events and festivals, the council is working on an inward investment programme aimed at attracting international and UK companies into the borough, as well as supporting the retention and expansion of existing companies in Merton. Promoting Wimbledon as a location for both business and leisure and helping businesses trade with UK and foreign companies are very important priorities. The council’s key messages to sell the borough are: location and connections, competitive costs, a skilled population and

a supportive and facilitating local authority. Williams adds: “We are now in talks with key partners to develop a Merton hub that will continue to promote the borough as a destination for visitors, particularly around the leisure offer. “We want to work with partners to highlight the festivals, open spaces, leisure facilities such as the All England Club, eateries and night time offer to generate visits, increased spend and longer stays. “We are seeking sponsorship opportunities to support our programme.” o

01 Scenes from Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, starring Tom Cruise, were shot in Merton.

02 A Christmas episode of sitcom Not Going Out, written by and starring Lee Mack (far left) was also filmed in the borough.

m e r t o n ’ s m ov i e m a g i c Tennis connections, enviable homes, a quaint village and an abundance of greenery make Wimbledon a filmmakers delight – the London Borough of Merton is being utilised for a plethora of small and large screens productions. So much so, the council three years ago set up its own dedicated film department – a trend in London local authorities: the capital is the third most popular destination for film companies behind New York and Los Angeles. Merton Film Office (MFO), managed by facilitating company, Film Fixer, is attracting teams behind productions such as the Tom Cruise blockbuster Jack Reacher films and comedian Lee Mack’s Not Going Out series. Working with the council’s

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communication team, Sue Russo, MFO’s business development and filming manager, says Merton’s attraction is in its diverse offering, and of course, Wimbledon Village: about 60% of the filming in the borough is around Wimbledon Common and Village. MFO also works with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to facilitate the broadcasters who are normally in Wimbledon Park. She adds: “We mobilise the film office by working across departments to offer a wraparound service for production companies. “Our role is multi-functional. Companies might say they need an empty police station or specific road, and they’ll want parking and temporary

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road closures. We can control that by working not only with the appropriate council departments, but also with the residents who would be affected. We join logistical requirements on the ground.” Having hosted some of the James Bond franchises and Sherlock Holmes TV series, the MFO carefully considers pitches from film companies. “We would turn down requests where it’s too short notice. For instance, if someone wanted to close a street within a couple of days or if the production is controversial. “The final decision for that would rest with the Merton Council communications department,” she adds. “We won’t show Merton in a bad light.”


National property service provider United Living Group has been appointed by Moat to deliver a £35m regeneration

and development scheme at Pollards Hill in the London Borough of Merton.

The works will see the extensive refurbishment of over 400 homes. Works will include new high performance roofing systems, external wall insulation, replacement windows and doors as well as some 200 kitchens, bathrooms, heating and electrical upgrades where required.

Living to deliver this significant regeneration project in Pollards Hill. We will be focused on social elements of regeneration as much as the physical, helping to deliver a more cohesive community and greater opportunities for local people.”

Four residential blocks comprising 24 apartments are planned to be demolished to make way for around 100 new homes, together with extensive environmental enhancements across the community providing much improved external recreational and communal spaces. Steve Nunn, Moat’s Executive Director of Development and New Business, said: “We are looking forward to working with United

www.unitedliving.co.uk @unitedlivinggrp

www.moat.co.uk @LovePollards


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DOWN TO B U S I N E S S Though established as a well-developed, affluent London suburb, the key players in Wimbledon’s regeneration story have bold plans for the town by kirsty macauley

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01 Underground, overground and tram services operate from Wimbledon station.

02 Merton Council seeks to create arts space for creatives.

03 Plans are afoot to add to the borough’s existing cultural offer, which includes New Wimbledon Theatre.

xcellent transport links, international status and a busy town centre make Wimbledon a very desirable destination for businesses. And the statistics prove it. According to Helen Clark Bell, chief executive of the Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District (BID) the town is currently rated as the second most popular outer London shopping destination. Wimbledon’s popularity has soared over the last 10 years. Clark Bell explains: “It’s a very accessible town centre; medium-sized but very compact and it has got a lot to offer. We’ve attracted a lot of big brands and we take care of the town centre; we look after businesses here. If you have a strong environment, good transport and the right retailers, you will bring the right brands. It’s about making sure the town centre works as an environment for everybody. Wimbledon feels like it’s cared for.” Benefits from the town centre include low vacancy rates for units. This creates a problem to overcome, with fewer opportunities for businesses looking to grow, relocate or set up in Wimbledon, particularly as there are not many development opportunities. Wimbledon clearly has a winning formula as a business destination but to maintain success, evolution is necessary. Merton Council, Love Wimbledon and the Design Council teamed up to address the problem, with the ‘Future Wimbledon’ competition in 2014. This started a debate about how the town might develop over the next 15 years, really capturing the imagination of local people as a precursor to the council’s masterplan. More greenery and public space topped the list of ways in which residents believed improvements could be made; there were calls for rooftop gardens and public squares. The

architects involved in the competition came up with some intriguing ideas including giant slides, pedestrianising the Broadway in the town centre, an arts square, a green shopping street and an open-air theatre. Local communities suggested a green grid of pedestrian and cycle highways, a concert hall within an arts quarter, green bridges and a piazza for outdoor events and performances. Even schools got involved, with dreams of flying cars and zip wires. Seville-based architect, Lugadero’s winning entry, Play Wimbledon, envisaged an interactive town centre with giant slides, and rooftops transformed into public space. Merton Council is hoping to collaborate with Lugadero on

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the masterplan, particularly with regards to engaging with the public. Paul McGarry, head of futureMerton at Merton Council, sees the masterplan as a way of creatively engaging people. “It is early days, but rather than consult people on a planning document, we are producing the plan in 3D and exploring ideas around using virtual reality at events to provide a realistic view of how Wimbledon could look once the masterplan is in place and stimulate discussions about the proposals.” Local interest in the future of the town centre remains high, with the first round of community workshops held in February to discuss the masterplan attracting more than 300 participants, creating 94 maps and providing over 1,200 comments. The council will feedback on the workshops in June, deliver a draft masterplan by the end of the summer and finalise proposals by the end of the year. This is a clear signal for businesses that Merton Council is determined to get things moving as quickly as possible. According to McGarry, it was important that the council consulted with the community to hear ideas before starting the masterplan and the council has been praised for its open approach.

w e g e t wimbledon ’ s d n a a n d understand ou r co m m unities an d b u s in e sses Paul McGarry, head of futureMerton

Its top 10 ideas from the workshops have already been published. Priorities include green space, high quality architecture, with a preference for mid-rise buildings, no towers or podiums and a desire for public and cultural space. The list includes encouraging a better quality shopping offer – with more independent retailers – as well as addressing traffic dominance in the town centre. Requests for a world-class train station included ideas for developing over the tracks to accommodate future growth. The council’s futureMerton team is creating the masterplan in-house with urban design highways and economic development departments joining forces. McGarry believes this will make the process faster and more meaningful to residents and businesses: “There was no procurement process which saved time. Our talented team get Wimbledon’s DNA and 20

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food for thought Wimbledon is winning praise for its variety and quality of restaurants, boosting the area’s popularity with developers and homebuyers alike

waffle jacks Waffle Jacks in Wimbledon Chase opened two years ago. Owners Stephan and Adele Theron have been Wimbledon residents for 10 years and believe the local community has played a big part in the restaurant’s success. The American diner won the Time Out award for best local independent restaurant in Wimbledon, 2016. Theron says: “It’s a big deal for us and it was local people voting. We’re going from strength to strength. The leader of the council [Stephen Alambritis] is a big supporter of small business – the council has been really accommodating and the open door policy is great.” When asked about the regeneration plans, Theron is very enthusiastic: “It will be fantastic for Wimbledon. Crossrail is going to bring more people here, which will absolutely have an impact on business.” the iv y café After opening successful restaurants in Chelsea and Kensington, The Ivy Collection wanted a destination in a neighbourhood setting. Alfonso Cadena, general manager of The Ivy Café, Wimbledon Village, says: “Wimbledon Village felt like the perfect location. We felt local residents and clientele would understand The Ivy Collection, our ethos, and what we were hoping to bring to the area. “There is a lovely sense of heritage and community spirit in Wimbledon Village. We’ve been surprised by how much of a destination Wimbledon is, no matter what time of the year. It is a destination in its own right, with very busy peak periods, especially the annual tennis championships.” As far as the masterplan is concerned, Cadena believes: “It is a good idea. As a neighbourhood destination anything that improves our local community helps us too.” takahashi Takahashi has been wowing visitors – who come from near and far – with its amazing Japanese food since opening in South Wimbledon. Chef Nobuhisa spent 14 years at Nobu in the West End before setting up the small restaurant with his wife.


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01 Sunny days in The Ivy Café’s garden add to the dining offer in Wimbledon Village.

02 Japanese restaurants are opening all over London – Takahashi in South Wimbledon gets glowing reviews.

02 The establishment aims to provide ‘healthy and tasty food’, something gastro lovers believe has been achieved; the restaurant has won rave reviews and a mention in the Michelin Guide. The tasting and set menus are a good illustration that Takahashi is serious about food. For good Japanese cuisine, you need go no further.

understand our communities and businesses. “A lot of companies want to come into Wimbledon but can’t find the space. We have a very low vacancy rates and no new units. Essentially Wimbledon is full-up, we need to create more capacity and an opportunity for growth to maintain Wimbledon’s competitiveness. The masterplan really is about managing growth in a sensible, co-ordinated way.” Fortuitously, a number of 1970s buildings in the town centre are nearing the end of their life and offer the perfect opportunity for creating more space and, importantly, better quality design. McGarry believes good growth can be achieved by occupying more of the site and adding floors, although he is clear that a mid-rise approach to urbanism is the council’s aim. “More importantly, it is about how the place works and functions, as well as how buildings interact with the street and provide animation. Activity interest and variety is key to creating successful places and human experiences,” he adds. Wimbledon’s eponymous YMCA building, opened in 1974 by the Queen Mother, is nearing the end of its life and is set to disappear from the skyline. A partnership between YMCA and Thornsett development company will deliver a brand new YMCA with 100 self-contained units to accommodate young homeless people and additional emergency accommodation for rough sleepers. The new building will also incorporate gym facilities, children’s indoor and outdoor play areas, a new cafe and conference rooms. YMCA Wimbledon centre manager, Rebecca Stockman, says: “We are continuing to consider ways in which to make the redevelopment of YMCA Wimbledon truly viable, sustainable, and an attractive proposition to our local community and service users.” A solution to the shortage of cultural space has been found at Wimbledon Library, where a new space for creative arts has been established through the re-working of the reference section. The area can now be used for library or arts activities with a capacity for audiences of 250-300 people. Merton Arts Space was officially opened at the start of December 2016 and has been a great success already, with events ranging from comedy, film and live music to theatre, family friendly sessions, author talks and futureMerton’s masterplan workshops. The new cultural space provides an inkling of what is to come for Wimbledon in a bid to keep a strong business centre. o I SS UE 2

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A B B E Y D AYS Entertainment and lively places to socialise are key to the economic prosperity of a place. In Merton Abbey Mills, the borough has one of London’s most popular new hang-out spots by maria shahid

erhaps Merton’s biggest claim to fame is for being the London borough which hosts the famous Wimbledon tennis tournament, but a short walk from Colliers Wood underground station is a thriving artistic quarter that harks back to a time when Merton was known for its printworks and arts and crafts. 0 1Nestled on the banks of the River Wandle, Merton Abbey Mills’ location, close to a number of retail parks, is slightly incongruous, but should you stumble upon it on a warm sunny weekend, you will find a bustling craft market and a hip crowd you might not usually associate with this part of London, spilling out of the site’s many pubs and eateries and listening to live music from the bandstand. Abbey Mills takes part of its name from Merton Priory, part of Merton Abbey, a monastery from the Middle Ages, which stood close by. This was a centre for manufacturing and printing textiles and the birthplace of the arts and craft movement. The Colour House Theatre is one of the site’s main attractions inside a Grade II-listed building, which until 1970 was used for mixing dyes for the

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01 Merton Abbey Mills features craft shops and restaurants. 02 There are also stalls selling collectables and memorabilia.

03 The mills are based by the River Wandle in leafy surroundings. 04 Goods handcrafted on-site are a regular fixture in the market.

world-famous Liberty store on Regent Street. Nowadays, it is perhaps best known for its children’s theatre, specialising in original musical adaptions of much-loved fairy tales. It has staged more than 100 productions since its opening over 20 years ago; one of the most recent was The Princess and the Toad during the 2017 Easter holidays. Produced by award-winning BBC drama producer, Gordon House, it provides a modern, humorous twist on a classic fairytale, and caters to both young and old. The theatre also hosts a number of regular events, including a blues club, a comedy club and chamber concerts. Peter Wallder, artistic director at the theatre and events organiser at the mills is passionate about the project. He says that plans are now underway to raise £60,000 to work on muchneeded improvements to the theatre. At weekends, Abbey Mills also hosts about 20 arts and crafts market stalls. “We try to promote arts and crafts because of our historical connections, so anyone wanting to sell their art here just has to pay £5 a day. You’re not going to get that elsewhere in London,” says Wallder. I SS UE 2

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He acknowledges that the venue has had to change over the years to account for changing tastes. “It is moving more towards family entertainment, good dining out and unique shopping,” he explains, adding that he is looking into running a pop-up food venture. And every Easter, August bank holiday and the last Sunday before Christmas, Abbey Mills is given over to Thrills at the Mills – a fun day out for kids with workshops in art, crafts, pottery, cake making, music, drama and dancing. “We do as much as we can for free, so everyone can have a lovely day out,” Wallder tells Future Merton. 04 In addition to this wide range of entertainment at the Mills, there is no shortage of eateries catering to a variety of palates. The Merton it is m ov i ng m o r e to fa m ily Apprentice serves beers from enterta i n m e nt g o o d d i n in g regional breweries, while Watermill out and u n i qu e s h o p p in g Café and Restaurant offers a Sunday carvery as well as function Peter Wallder, events organiser at the mills rooms and a covered outside space, big screen playing rock videos and music on-loop. which can be used for private events. Elsewhere, the Belgian Brasserie specialises Meanwhile, the William Morris Pub is named in crepes and waffles, and its canopied outdoor after one of Abbey Mills’ most famous former seating provides the ideal spot for a quick coffee residents: artist, textile designer, writer and social and snack in any weather. activist, William Morris, who helped spearhead Following a relaunch at the end of March Britain’s arts and crafts movement. 2017, the brasserie announced a full range of new The pub serves traditional British food, and events, including the return of its popular jazz benefits from a large beer garden and riverside dinner evenings, arts and crafts workshops and terrace, which backs onto the River Wandle, and other themed events. the only fully functional watermill in the southNext door is Caribbean eatery Ting ‘n’ east, a reminder of the area’s industrial heritage. Ting, run by Garfield Davidson and his partner Abbey Mills is also the location for what Desiree, which also receives regular five star some regard as one of the best sushi restaurants reviews on TripAdvisor. in London. Rock Star Sushi’s TripAdvisor Wallder is optimistic about the future of reviews rave of a menu that is “out of this world”. Merton Abbey Mills: “We are introducing a Owner Igor Salgado takes his sushi and membership scheme for local businesses, which music very seriously, and each exquisite dish is can get discounts for everything on-site. As we explained in great detail when served. move forward we are really going to focus on The tiny restaurant, which has to be prewhat we’re good at, and on what people like booked and seats a maximum of 12, features 01 coming to the Mills for.” o walls lined with rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, and a

,

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01 The William Morris pub, named after a famous former resident, is the largest food and drink venue on-site.

02 Wood turner Adam Wright at work on an incense holder. 03 Visitors enjoy The Belgian Brasserie’s intimate atmosphere.

04 The New Jazzmags perform to the crowds at Merton Abbey Mills.


Future Wimbledon

Master Plan Ideas

merton.gov.uk/futurewimbledon


M E RTO N P R OJ EC T S

PROJEC TS With new housing on the market and investment pouring into Merton, the growth of this south London borough is speeding up rapidly. The council’s ambition to build the right tenure housing in the right place is paying dividends – Future Merton takes a look at some of the key schemes

W I M B L ED O N C O M M ON

5

W I M BL E D O N H I LL P A R K

Raynes Park 1 Morris Court

2 Pollards Hill estate

New Malden

3 Premier Inn, Wimbledon

Sou

4 High Path, South Wimbledon

Motspur Park

5 Wimbledon Hill Park

6 Crossrail 2

Worcester Park

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G R E ATE R LO N DO N Tooting Broadway Wimbledon Park

Haydons Road

6

CRO SSR A I L 2

Wimbledon

Dundonald Road

3

P REMIER I NN

South Wimbledon

uth Merton

Tooting

Streatham Common

4

HIGH PATH

Merton Park

Wimbledon Chase

Colliers Wood

1

Morden Road

MORRIS COURT Mitcham EastďŹ elds

Phipps Bridge Morden

Morden South

2

Belgrave Walk

P O L L AR D S H I LL E STAT E

Mitcham

Mitcham Junction St Helier

Hackbridge

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02

03 01 Morris Court homes became available in 2017.

02 Homeowners can enjoy balconies from the upper floors.

03 Master bedrooms have Portico-fitted wardrobes and are carpeted throughout.

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morris court Developer L&Q’s Morris Court scheme features 42 homes of one, two and three bedrooms, available for shared ownership. Located a short walk from Colliers Wood station, commuting times into London Bridge and Clapham Junction are less than half an hour and Canary Wharf can be reached in 35 minutes. The nearby Cycle Superhighway provides links from Merton to The City in less than 30 minutes. The scheme is also close to Merton Abbey Mills (see pages 22-24), The Priory shopping centre, botanical gardens, Morden Hall Park and the River Wandle. Homes feature private outdoor space and residents

pollards hill estate will have access to communal terraces, located on the fourth and fifth floors. Apartments at Morris Court can be accessed by video entry phone and each features either patios and terraces for ground floor apartments or balconies for those above ground level. Prices for shared ownership apartments start from £95,625 for a 25% share of a one-bedroom home and £125,000 for a 25% share of a two-bedroom home. L&Q is also launching Nelson Gardens near Morris Court in the summer – 10 one and two-bedroom apartments, which will also be available for shared ownership. It is within walking distance of major retailers.

crossrail 2 Crossrail 2 hopes to introduce 30 trains hourly, improving congestion between Tottenham Hale and Wimbledon. The full line will link Hertfordshire to Surrey via central London and is estimated to cost around £30 billion. Formal consent for the scheme is expected to be given by the government in 2020. If approved, construction would start around 2023. The new line could be open by 2030. Further development, option testing, analysis and public consultations have begun. The new Crossrail 2 station at Wimbledon would interchange with existing services as well as increasing capacity, allowing up to 3,000 more passengers to access the station. The journey time from Wimbledon station to Tottenham Court Road would be cut by up to 20 minutes. The project will increase London’s rail capacity by over 10%. Once completed the scheme will create 200,000 employment opportunities and could support the development of 200,000 new homes along the line.

Details are being finalised between Moat and Merton Council for the £40 million redevelopment of Pollards Hill, with plans for work to start on-site in early 2018. Following this, around 90 homes will be built for rent, shared ownership or for sale on the open market. They are scheduled for completion by autumn 2019. Redevelopment work will also see 850 homes refurbished for owner-occupiers and private rent, as well as existing Moat residents, to be completed by March 2019. All works will be delivered in partnership with housing association United Living and architect calfordseaden. Environmental works will also take place, including improved parking provision across the estate, better waste management facilities, landscaping of courtyards and improvement of lighting and security in alleyways. The emphasis of the scheme will be on social regeneration, with Moat providing project advice and engagement in creating work opportunities, financial wellbeing, community cohesion and youth engagement. More than 200 people attended a jobs fair run by the developer in March, with 15 securing employment shortly afterwards. Apprenticeships for up to 30 people will be created during the project through other work experience, training and skills development programmes. Moat will work closely with the community and youth centre to deliver the social regeneration strategy and is already meeting up to three times a week. A spokesperson for Moat said: “This is an actual regeneration rather than a ‘buy all the homes up, move people out and then knock them down to sell to a new community’.”

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high path estate

premier inn, wimbledon Construction is to start on Wimbledon town centre’s 176-bedroom Premier Inn, located on the site of the former Henry J Beans restaurant and jobcentre on The Broadway. Owen Ellender, development manager at the Whitbread hospitality company, which won planning permission for the hotel in August 2016, said: “We’re getting ready for our new Premier Inn at The Broadway, and we

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are looking forward to starting work shortly. “The site is in an excellent location and ideal for a new hotel and restaurant. “We’re targeting opening in Q1 of 2019 and, as well as being a quality new addition to Wimbledon’s hotel accommodation, the new hotel is a £27 million investment into Wimbledon, and will provide a significant number of new jobs.”

Merton Council has approved the first stage of the High Path estate regeneration project in South Wimbledon. This first phase, which still requires the Mayor of London’s approval, will begin with the demolition of a children’s play area, the Old Lamp Works building and 74 garages – making way for seven new residential blocks. The plans include 134 energy-


efficient homes consisting of 117 flats and 17 houses. Also proposed are 31 car parking spaces including five disabled and 249 bike spaces. Developer, Clarion Housing, suggests around 60% of the homes in the first stage will be classed as affordable housing and meet the minimum space standards required. The regeneration is part of a

wider scheme across the Eastfields, Ravensbury and High Path estates – the aim is to build 1,200 homes. Paul Quinn, director of Merton regeneration at Clarion Housing Group, said: “We’re building these high-quality new homes for existing residents and at the same time providing additional homes in Merton at a time of unprecedented need.

“We’ve been undertaking a widereaching consultation programme to make sure that everyone who lives or owns a property on High Path is able to view and comment on our proposals. We’ll continue with this process during construction of the new homes.” The project is also expected to create employment opportunities and training initiatives for locals. I SS UE 2

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wimbledon hill park

Developer Berkeley Homes is delivering a number of new properties at the Wimbledon Hill Park development. The scheme on Copse Hill includes Cedar Place, Wellington Row and Dukes Gardens. It consists of family homes and apartments set within 7.69ha of protected open land. Cedar Place, featuring six 243sq m four-bedroom mews villas with private

gardens, was completed in 2017. Three housing blocks to be allocated as affordable and 19 properties targeted for social rent are also now available. Dukes Garden is delivering 30 two and three-bedroom apartments. At Wellington Row, 27 apartments are expected to complete in summer 2017. The development includes the restoration of the former Atkinson Morley

Hospital, which opened in 1869 and closed in 2003. Berkeley is also delivering three sports pitches, a sports pavilion, a car park and a new footpath linking residents to Raynes Park. Employment opportunities will be created in jobs such as concierge, maintenance and associated building and facilities management.

ymca wimbledon The current YMCA building in Wimbledon is coming to the end of its useful life. It was built in the 1970s and, according to the YMCA, no longer meets the needs of its residents, in

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terms of the physical building and in its ability to support and enable people to move on to independent living. The YMCA is partnering with development company, Thornsett, to deliver a new building in Wimbledon.

The intention is to create a new community-focused YMCA Wimbledon for local residents and visitors to enjoy and use regularly. The YMCA has been asking local residents for feedback on the scheme.


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sport and leisure

01

S E R V I N G H I S TO R Y As the Wimbledon tennis tournament reaches its 140-year milestone, Future Merton looks at how sport is affecting the life of residents and shaping the look of the area BY marco cillario

I

t is Monday 9 July 1877. On the throne of England is Queen Victoria, recently declared Empress of India at the suggestion of prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. In America, Thomas Edison is about to reveal his first invention. Most of eastern Europe is part of either the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian or Ottoman Empires. On a grass court not far from a railway

station in the suburbs of London, the first ball is served in a competition bringing together 22 amateurs. After paying an entrance fee of one pound and one shilling each, they are taking part in the first official tournament of a newly established sport. It has been organised by The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. The location is Worple Road, Wimbledon. The game – tennis.

01 Serena Williams, who has won the Wimbledon Singles title seven times.

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sport and leisure

02 01 Around 200 people pay a shilling to watch the final, 10 days later, when Spencer William Gore is crowned champion. They don’t know it yet, but they are looking at the first event of a competition that would survive the fall of empires, witness two world wars (and a bombing in 1940), play a part in the advent of colour television (launched by BBC2 to broadcast the event 90 years later), host two Olympic Games more than a century apart from each other (in 1908 and 2012) and make the area one of the most famous places in the country. Initially only open to men, the tournament would be extended to women in 1884. From its original home, it would move to larger premises in the current location on Church Road in 1922. Included in the Grand Slam with the other three biggest international tennis tournaments, US Open, French Open and Australian Open, it would admit professionals from 1967. Players would become legends – from John McEnroe to Roger Federer, from Martina Navratilova to the Williams sisters – and many of the most memorable moments in sporting history would take place on the grass of Wimbledon. Today, 140 years after the first ball of 36

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03

the first game of the first set was played, The Championships, Wimbledon (or simply Wimbledon, as they are more commonly referred) attract half a million people to the courts in the London Borough of Merton over a fortnight every summer. They reach more than a billion others all over the world through radio, television and the internet. From the all-British 22 of Worple Road, the number of athletes taking part each year has grown to around 750 from more than 60 nations. During The Championships, around 6,000 people work at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (as it is called today), which spans 17ha and includes more than 50 tennis courts, 18 of which are used for the competition. What takes place at Wimbledon is, in every sense of the word, a global event.


01 Wimbledon has 18 Championship grass courts. 02 Spectators at the first SW19 tennis tournament in 1877.

03 It was won that year by Englishman Spencer Gore. 04 Artist’s impression for AFC Wimbledon’s 20,000-seater stadium scheme.

04 sport is open What are the implications of the Wimbledon tournament for the area’s residents? The message locals receive from living by such a legendary place is that “sport is open to all people to play and they can aspire, through what they see, to become the best in a sporting world such as tennis,” according to Christine Parsloe. She has worked on sport-related initiatives at Merton Council for 22 years and is now leisure and culture development manager. Parsloe points to the fact that the All England Club courts are not only the venue for men’s and women’s singles and doubles grand slam tournaments: they also host veteran and junior competitions, and Ladies and Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Doubles since 2001. Last year, Wimbledon included Wheelchair Singles events for the first time. c h i ld r e n have the Local people get o p p o rt unit y to involved in tennis from bene f i t f r om some a young age. The All of t h e to p coaches England Club’s in t h e co u ntry coaching team visits around 60 primary schools Christine Parsloe, leisure and culture

in the area every year, as part of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative. Since 2001, more than 190,000 children have received a free session. “This means all the children in our schools have the opportunity to benefit from some of the top coaches in the country,” says Parsloe. Some of these pupils are then selected to receive regular weekly coaching held at the club’s new facilities at Raynes Park, which cater for up to 400 young people. From there, the most talented players follow a development pathway which one day could bring them to compete on the Wimbledon lawns. Merton children are also engaged in a programme including a wider range of sports. Established in 2003 as part of the governmentfunded national Physical Education School Sport and Club Links project, Merton School Sport Partnership is hosted by Harris Academy Morden. It coordinates the delivery of school sport and physical education to students in the borough, providing professional development for teachers and organising extracurricular sports activities and competitions. Other programmes have been implemented I SS UE 2

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recently to get more young and old people active around Merton. Sports Blast, a three-year, £300,000 project started in 2014, was awarded more than £120,000 from Sport England and the National Lottery. It targets 18 to 25-year-old residents of the east of the borough, aiming to bridge the gap between the wealthier western areas (including Wimbledon itself) and the eastern parts (Morden and Mitcham). Along with tennis classes; football, BMX, netball and fitness sessions can be attended, all for free: residents only have to turn up and register on the day. Now in its final months, the project is being delivered by a partnership between the council and a long list of organisations, including Circle Housing Merton Priory, Moat, St Mark’s Academy, Merton Voluntary Service Council, YMCA London South West, the Surrey Lawn Tennis Association and other sport bodies. Leisure development officer Corinne Garrod has worked on the programme and describes it as a success: “Our original target was 3,250 people, and we have engaged with 8,661,” she says, adding that more than half are from an ethnic minority and a quarter have a disability. “We have set up a league for the participants who want to develop further through regular competitions. Our fitness element has become a mini community and meets up socially outside the programme. One of the participants no longer uses asthmatic medication, whereas when they first started they needed to use their inhaler at regular intervals throughout the hour session.” She adds that, although her team will not have the capacity to bring the project forward

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co m m un i t y h e a lth i s o f p a r a mo u n t i m p o rtan c e to u s , r e f lec t e d i n t h e s i z e a n d s co p e o f t h e n e w l e i su r e c e n tr e Christine Parsloe, leisure and culture

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at the end of the three-year funded period due to budgetary cuts, the partners involved “are looking at ways to ensure this is sustainable and continues in some form in the future”. The popularity of sport in the area led to the local authority decision in June 2016 to build a new leisure centre in Morden Park. It will replace the nearby 1960s Morden Park Pool, which will be demolished when the new centre is completed, with the site returned to green space. The new £11 million structure will include a 25m, six-lane main pool and a 15m x 13m pool with a movable floor. The latter will be used for swimming lessons, water-based exercise and diving. The leisure centre will also host a 100-station fitness suite, a studio/community


02

room and a cafe. The council says it will have lower maintenance costs than the Park Pool. Parsloe says: “Community health and fitness is of paramount importance to us, reflected in the size and scope of the new leisure centre.” Work is expected to start this summer and the building should be ready in autumn 2018. building up future champions Perhaps no other place in the world owes so much of its prominence to a sports venue as Wimbledon does. Sport continues to play a big part in shaping the area, being behind two development schemes which are making headlines. Local football team AFC Wimbledon could soon make its comeback, thanks to a 20,000-seat stadium to be built as part of a scheme which also includes 602 homes, retail space and a squash and fitness club (see image page 37). The team, formed from the ashes of Wimbledon FC in 2002, has been climbing up the English tiers, from the ninth to the third (League One). Home games are currently played in a 4,850-capacity stadium at Kingsmeadow. But the rise in the number of supporters prompted the club to devise plans for a new home on the site of the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium on Plough

Lane, in partnership with Galliard Homes and the Greyhound Racing Association. Builders are on site for another major scheme on the world-famous grass courts. The All England Club announced in 2013 a masterplan to change the look of the venue and ensure that Wimbledon remains the world’s leading tennis championship venue. Court Number One is being provided with a £70 million retractable roof, to allow for play regardless of the weather conditions. Two tiers of seats will also be added to the court, meaning the venue will cater for a further 900 people. Together with the roof already in place on centre court since 2009, this means uninterrupted tennis will be guaranteed for around 27,000 spectators. Sir Robert McAlpine, the constructor behind Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium and London’s Olympic Stadium, is delivering the construction with Power Jacks, contracted to supply parts. The roof will be in operation for the start of play at the 2019 tournaments. Meanwhile, Court 19 is being replaced with a two-level public plaza. More could follow: in March, the council’s planning committee approved plans to replace five covered courts on the western side of the All England Club with six indoor and six outdoor courts – a new building will include basement parking for around 340 cars. The application was awaiting approval from the Greater London Authority as Future Merton went to press. Carrying the weight of a 140-year history, sport keeps triggering the evolution of Wimbledon and Merton. The future champions raising the cup in the Centre Court in SW19, in front of the world, could be among the pupils who today attend one of the borough’s schools. o

01 Artist’s impression of the new £11 million leisure centre. 02 The council’s Sports Blast initiative encourages young people to take up sport. 03 Could the tennis stars of tomorrow come from Merton?

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m a r k e t s ov e r v i e w

MERTON MARKE TS m u si c and sport

fa i th

1 ,5 00

singers, musicians and per formers will appear at the Mer ton Music Foundation event, Music for Life, with specially commissioned pieces from renowned composers and directors

for Sports Blast, a healthy living initiative for Merton residents The aim was to attract 3,250 participants

8,6 6 1 were engaged in the project

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It can accommodate

10,000

people and was built at a cost of

ÂŁ5.5million

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Morden has the largest mosque in western Europe


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1 3,2 4 5 projected increase in Mer ton’s population between 2014 and 2020

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i n v est m e n t a n d j o b s

£ 70 m i l l i o n for Court Number One’s retrac table roof at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon

Morden Leisure Centre will feature a 100-station fitness suite

6 ,0 0 0 people work at the All England Club during the Wimbledon championships fortnight I SS UE 2

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m a d e i n m e rto n

HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN From a Wimbledon industrial estate, White Light has provided visual solutions in the theatre for decades and is now invested in new technologies to expand the business B Y J a m e s wo o d

01 Aladdin The Musical at Prince Edward Theatre.

02 White Light on set for ITV’s Euro 2016 coverage. 42

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ensory experiences make a subtle but significant contribution to the way we perceive our surroundings and enjoy being entertained. Audio and visual solutions company White Light was founded in 1971 and has been based in South Wimbledon since 2001. Its first big contract was to supply lighting for The Rocky Horror Picture Show on the stage at the Royal Court and Kings Road theatres in the West End. Today it retains this heritage, servicing some of the biggest shows in London’s famous theatre district. Current examples include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, regarded as one of the biggest West End stage productions in history, and

Aladdin The Musical at Prince Edward Theatre. As well as installations for the theatre, White Light has catered for an increasingly wide range of locations and events over time, including shopping centres, festivals, schools, studios, concerts, films and places of worship, all benefiting from the company’s expertise in creating the right audio and visual settings. By being immersed in this ever-evolving industry and tapped into new technologies such as augmented reality, the company is growing exponentially. In terms of staff, 60 skilled employees have been recruited in the last two years, increasing the workforce to 225 people. Growth has also been achieved by winning contracts internationally and expanding at the Merton Industrial Park. Originally taking 35,000sq ft at the site, White Light expanded in 2015 to 75,000sq ft, opening new studio space for clients to conduct rehearsals. flash sale The business also functions as an online shop, with customers able to not only purchase and hire equipment, but to benefit from skilled technicians hired by the company to help them operate it. Where a specific product is required, White Light has also built new equipment from its expansive workshops. A dizzying array of rigging and equipment is kept on-site. Fanny Saint-Pasteur, the company’s marketing manager, says stretching out all the cables end-to-end would reach Bonn in Germany. White Light transports kit to and from the West End every day and an average 65 tons of equipment is despatched to various locations every week. Chairman John Simpson says Wimbledon’s close proximity to theatres based there – and the company’s chance to expand on the vast site – are crucial for the business.

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Managing director Bryan Raven says: “It took 01 Pop star Jessie J on stage, with three years to find the Wimbledon site. We were lighting provided by looking for a larger amount of office space which White Light. took some time. The building in Wimbledon not 02 The House of only offered this, but was also suited for staff who Dancing Water was one of the company’s were mainly based between Wandsworth and most “challenging but Banstead. The fact that it offers us exactly what rewarding” projects. we require in terms of office space – along with 03 Harry Potter and being 30 minutes away from central London – is the Cursed Child won nine Olivier awards in a huge advantage.” 01 April 2017. White Light has achieved growth by working on increasingly ambitious and original projects in recent years, taking the company overseas. 02 When it comes to water, a correct assumption is that a major health and safety consideration would be to keep expensive electrical equipment dry at all costs. This was not so easy for White Light when the company won a contract at the Dragone Theatre in Macau for a show featuring the world’s largest commercial pool, containing 3.7 million gallons of water – enough to fill five Olympic-sized pools. The House of Dancing Water show saw White Light work closely with the theatre’s creative team, led by its director Franco Dragone, to provide a theatrical lighting system that was practical, but also allowed artistic aspirations to be fulfilled. Planning for the intricate project took Light has gained further broadcasting experience, more than a year. helping to showcase Formula E and football Across the road from the Dragone, White competitions including ITV’s coverage of the Light also provides lighting at a 1,200-seater Champions League, Europa League and for the theatre within a luxury hotel, The Parisian, which international Euro 2016 tournament in France. opened in September 2016 and features 3,000 Art galleries have awarded White Light guest rooms and a half-scale Eiffel Tower model. contracts too, including the National Portrait Special projects director Simon Needle has Gallery and more recently, the Saatchi, for the overseen the Macau projects and points out: EXHIBITIONISM display about The Rolling “Our reputation for being able to work in spaces Stones. Stages have been lit by White Light for and transform them with the latest lighting concerts from Jessie J, Whitesnake, 50 Cent and technology is now international.” This year, Elton John, but another challenging installation Needle will be in Abu Dhabi for “a very exciting takes place beneath Waterloo Station, where project,” for which details will soon be revealed. the company provides lighting, equipment and Away from the theatre, White Light has support for the annual VAULTS festival for six offered production services to the sports studios weeks at the beginning of the year. of television networks. This began after the Theatre, comedy and music events take place business acquired successful video and lighting throughout the festival, the popularity of which is technology firm Shock Solutions in 2015 and was growing by the year. With 14 performance spaces, then commissioned to build studio sets for ITV’s coverage of the Rugby World Cup for matches across the country. our reputat i o n fo r b e i ng a b le to wo r k i n Since the rugby spaces and t r an s fo r m t h e m w i t h t h e l at est tournament, which was lighting techn o lo gy i s n ow i n te r n at i o na l held in the UK for the Simon Needle, special projects director first time that year, White 44

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04 04 White Light contributes to the sensory experience of the annual VAULTS festival in Waterloo. 05 EXHIBITIONISM – a display about The Rolling Stones at the Saatchi Gallery.

06 Expansion at the site is crucial to store White Light’s large amount of equipment.

05

03 eight bars and even a restaurant, the logistics for the event are complicated. The magnitude of the 2017 programme meant that the festival had to expand to the nearby Morley College and community theatre space, Network Theatre. home comforts Despite working on such successful commissions for shows enjoyed by thousands, White Light is also invested in its locality, providing lighting for school plays and local charity events. Its apprenticeship scheme offers training and practical experience in lighting, audio and video, with several applicants going on to take full-time jobs at White Light. As a place to work, employees are very positive. Adam Hughes, digital content copywriter, says: “A lot of companies I’ve worked for will claim to be friendly, but at White Light this ethos really shines through, embodied by the people who work here.”

06 While White Light’s connections with the area have got stronger over the years, the story about its postcode demonstrates a strong Wimbledon connection from the start. Confused about the exact address when moving to the site, the company called the council to find out, and was given several post code options, one of which happened to be SW19 3WL. Following this, Martin Smith from design agency Origin8 was commissioned to paint what would become the company logo above the entrance to the facility, giving emphasis to the letters W and L (for White Light), which remains there to this day. The cliche goes that sometimes these coincidences happen for a reason. With turnover of £20 million, projects in increasingly far-flung places and continual expansion, there is little doubt that being based on a vast industrial site in South Wimbledon has allowed White Light to fulfil its potential and become one of the borough’s great business success stories. o I SS UE 2

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S I T E M ATC H

TA L K O F T H E TOW N Opportunities for development in Morden town centre are significant, says Paul McGarry, head of futureMerton, the council’s regeneration team B Y J A M E S WO O D

the Morden Station Planning Brief site and the 2017 study of the whole Morden Housing Zone site, have provided us with sufficient confidence regarding development viability, to bring the site to market. What are the advantages of Morden town centre for those looking to move or set up a business there, once the project is complete?

P

aul, can you provide a brief overview of Morden town centre and how you see it being redeveloped?

The rapid development of Morden town centre and the surrounding land, that started after the opening of the underground station in 1926, has effectively stalled since the early 1960s. Morden provides excellent access to public transport, but it suffers from a poor public realm and provides few reasons for more than 25,000 week-day users of the underground station to use Morden as a destination, rather than merely a place to move through. Both Transport for London and Merton Council want to secure substantial improvements to the public realm and provide a vibrant new town centre, with an improved retail offer and more than a thousand new homes. What is the proposed timeline for this?

It is essential that a suitable development partner is selected, which has a proven track record of delivering high quality, large, complex town centre developments. We are aiming to have the development partners appointed 46

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towards the end of 2018 and works to commence in 2020-21. How will this opportunity site be brought to market?

There are a variety of ways that this can be done, so we have appointed consultants to advise us and we will be reporting on their recommendations in September or October this year [2017]. How does this opportunity site fit within the local authority’s wider regeneration strategy?

Morden is Merton Council’s priority regeneration scheme that will not only transform the look and feel of Morden, but redefine the role of suburban town centres in accommodating growth and reflecting changing demographics. Why should developers be interested in this opportunity?

It is a high profile project which can set the precedent for the regeneration of many other similar outer London suburban town centres that are served by an underground station. Furthermore, the results of both feasibility studies that we have commissioned, the 2015 study of

Morden town centre has excellent transport links: being served by a tube station, 12 bus routes, a nearby tram line and being approximately 10 minutes drive from the A3 trunk road. Local businesses will therefore benefit from Morden’s proximity to Wimbledon, Croydon, Sutton and Kingston-upon-Thames. The compact new town centre will be nestled between the National Trust’s beautiful Morden Hall Park and Morden Park, in which Merton Council will shortly start building a brand new leisure centre (see image page 38). The regenerated town centre will be surrounded by tree-lined suburbs with family sized homes in the much sought after SW19 postcode and will have more than 1,000 new homes, a substantially improved public realm and new retail units with associated customer and service parking, making Morden a very desirable location. o

Sitematch, where developers meet London councils to discuss specific opportunities, next takes place on 8 February. For more info contact: Paul.McGarry @merton.gov.uk


SITEMATCH LONDON 2017 WAS THE BIGGEST AND BEST EVER. 93% of delegates surveyed were confident the event will lead to further meetings/discussions

The next Sitematch London is taking place at 155 Bishopsgate on Thursday 8 February 2018. To find out about booking meetings with local authorities, networking passes and attending briefing sessions contact Josie Brewer josie@3foxinternational.com To attend as a local authority, become an adviser or sponsor contact Paul Gussar paul@3foxinternational.com

PROPERTY | DEVELOPMENT | FINANCE


Wandle is proud to be developing new homes in Merton. We are committed to tackling the shortage of good quality affordable housing

With a New Homes Strategy to deliver over 1,000 homes over the next five years we require: l l l l

Sites 15 – 50 units Sites with or without planning New s106 partners Joint venture partners (60 units +)

Please get in touch to find out more... Peter Beggan – Land Manager (New Business) 020 8682 7301 / 07908 375 756 merton-land@wandle.com

Future Merton #2  

Hidden gems at Merton Abbey Mills, big plans for Wimbledon and global creative firms benefitting from Merton's strategic position.