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r e g e n e r at i o n a n d g r o w t h i n t h e l o n d o n b o r o u g h o f m e rt o n

p u l l i n g to g e t h e r

Shared objectives

art of performance perfor Sound and m a vision nce

f iuni l b e dc in rg a fbtl o c k s

Creative living Ambitions for housing

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Our business business is is Our about placemaking, placemaking, about not just just housebuilding housebuilding not AtWimbledon WimbledonHill HillPark Parkwe wehave havebuilt built At stunningcollection collectionof of apartments apartmentsand andtownhouses townhouses aastunning setaround aroundthe theconversion conversionof of the thespectacular spectacular set AtkinsonMorley MorleyHospital. Hospital. Atkinson Aspart partof of our ourredevelopment redevelopmentin inthe thearea, area, As weare arecontributing: contributing: we 19acres acresof of restored restoredMetropolitan MetropolitanOpen OpenLand Land •• 19 Rentalcottage cottageto toprovide provideincome incomefor forthe the •• Rental upkeepof of the theMetropolitan MetropolitanOpen OpenLand Land upkeep Sportspavilion pavilionfor forthe thelocal localschool, school, •• Sports completewith withthree threenew newsports sportspitches pitches complete Financialcontribution contributionwhich whichhelped helpedpay payfor forthe the •• Financial newHQ HQof of the the19th 19thWimbledon WimbledonScouts Scoutsgroup group new Restorationand andrefurbishment refurbishment •• Restoration of locally locallylisted listedbuilding building of

Prices starting starting from from Prices £950,000 £950,000 For more more information information call call 020 020 3797 3797 6651 6651 For or visit visit or

proposed family houses

View along Rookwood Avenue Eco Garden The Goldcrest team specialises in challenging sites and regularly adopts a creative approach to problem solving.

Public Amenity Garden Space

We are passionate about improving the neighbourhoods in which we work. We regularly meet with local residents and user groups to better understand their vision for the neighbourhood and explore how we can work with the community to ensure our proposals will enhance the environment.

Pedestrian link & bridge works

At Rookwood Avenue our in-house architects worked closely with neighbours, Ward Councillors and a team of specialist consultants to explore innovative ways of securing the sites future and addressing antisocial behaviour.

Sustainable Family Houses Flexible homes for the modern family

The resulting design provided an ecology garden, a new publically accessible amenity space, formalised and enhanced pedestrian links through the site and funding for works to the footbridge over Beverly Brook . These benefits will be supported and maintained through a modest development of three sustainable detached family houses on part of the site. We were very encouraged by the local support our proposals received and delighted to receive a resolution to grant planning permission from Merton Council in January 2018 If you own land and are interested in working with us please contact us.


James RenouxWood news and digital editor Natalie Vincent design Kate Harkus production manager Christopher Hazeldine production assistants Tilly Shenstone, Mia Wicks business development director Paul Gussar editor-in-chief

business development manager

Harry Seal business development executive Jake Westhead project manager Sue Mapara subscriptions manager Simon Maxwell managing director Toby Fox Sara Williams & Paul McGarry, Merton Council’s futureMerton team for information contact:


r e d i s c ov e r m i tc h a m A three-year project to improve Mitcham has come to fruition.



n e ws Latest updates on the evolution and development of Merton.


a r t a n d c u lt u r e Venues supporting artistic enterprise and community abound.


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


p r oj ec t s Progress is being made on major regeneration schemes.


schools With some of the top performing schools in the UK, Merton is in the premier league for education.

housing The public and private sectors share big ambitions for housebuilding.


m a d e i n m e rto n Rainbow Productions has created mascots seen by millions.

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markets Facts and figures.

t ow n c e n t r e s An investment drive into rejuvenating Merton’s high streets.

High Path by PRP​ Architects images Attic Theatre Company / Jack Ladenburg, Paul Tanner, Galliard / Catalyst, Jan Kattein Architects, Stu Thomas, TfL / Merton Council, Scott Rylander, Kate Luscombe, Radoslaw Wa, AFC Wimbledon, TfL, Dianna White, MATT Architecture/Will Pryce, Berkeley, Stuart Thomas, Levitt Bernstein Associates, Matthew Black (CC BY-SA 2.0), PRP Architects, HTA Design LLP, dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo, Katie Chan (CC BY SA 4.0), Sarah & Austin Houghton-Bird (CC BY 2.0), printed by Bishops Printers published by 3Fox International, Sunley House, Bedford Park, Croydon CR0 2AP t 020 7978 6840 w subscriptions + feedback

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© 2018 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.




Moat is proud to be working with partners and local people to make Pollards Hill a vibrant place to live and work. In January 2017, Moat embarked on the first stage of the Pollards Hill regeneration project. Starting with the refurbishment of 850 mixed tenure homes in partnership with our contractors United Living, we are already seeing significant changes to the look and feel of the area. Work begins soon on extensive landscaping works, improved parking and waste facilities – working closely with Merton Borough Council to give residents significantly improved services. To date over 200 properties have had new roofs, windows, doors and new high performance

In proud partnership with:

insulation. Work is underway to a further 150 homes, due for completion by Spring 2019. We have also delivered a number of programmes to support residents into training and employment. We have funded a business start up enterprise hub at the heart of the estate and our Job Fairs have helped almost 50 people into work. United Living have donated a significant amount to various community projects and groups and we are working with local schools to empower young people and provide work experience, traineeships and apprenticeships.


JV ANNOUNCED FOR STADIUM HOMES Developer Galliard Homes and housing association Catalyst have formed a joint venture (JV) partnership to deliver a £350 million scheme at Plough Lane, as part of the AFC Wimbledon stadium development. The 90,000sq m mixed-use project will include 602 homes, retail space and a squash and fitness club. As well as delivering 177 shared ownership homes – an increase from 60, which will be handed over to Catalyst on completion – the JV will also take delivery of 117 private sale units. Stephen Conway, chief executive of Galliard Homes, said: “There are so many components to this scheme that will benefit the local area and we are thrilled to have Catalyst on board, [a company which] really has what it takes to make things happen in order to deliver a groundbreaking number of affordable units in a new residential scheme.”

01 The AFC Wimbledon stadium development will feature more than 600 homes.

Organising the clearance of the site started in mid-February with Galliard expected to start construction this summer. AFC Wimbledon, founded in 2002, first had its plans for an initial 11,000 seat stadium, with the potential to later add to up 20,000, approved by Merton Council in December 2015. Erik Samuelson, the club’s chief executive, outlined the local benefits that the project would bring: “The overall development will bring a substantial amount of new housing to the area; as for the stadium, it has been shown that whenever a new stadium is built it is followed by substantial regeneration in the surrounding area. “So this in itself will be a massive plus for the area; in addition, the extra community work we and our partners will be carrying out in Merton generally and the local area in particular will of itself provide a major boost to the borough.”

c u lt u r a l i m p a c t p r i z e f o r m e r t o n Merton Council scooped a £40,000 prize at the first London Borough of Culture awards in late February. The council joined five other boroughs – Barking and Dagenham, Camden, Kingston, Lambeth and Lewisham – in receiving a mayor’s Cultural Impact Award for artistic and cultural projects in their respective boroughs. Merton’s bid involved seasons of short films, curated by the community and guest curators and pop-up cinemas. John Merriman, chair of Merton’s London Borough of Culture bid, said: “We are incredibly proud of the

collaborative way in which the bid was pulled together. It was very much ‘the people’s bid’. “The way it brought together Merton’s creative industries, its sporting heritage and its huge multifaceted artistic talent from the length and breadth of the borough made this bid a remarkable and a worthy winner for funding.” Waltham Forest and Brent won the 2019 and 2020 Borough of Culture titles respectively, each receiving £1.35 million to fund arts and culture programmes in their boroughs.




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c o l l i e r s wo o d gets book smart

shopping arcade shortlisted for riba A refurbished shopping parade on London Road in Morden was shortlisted for the 2018 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Journal’s MacEwen Award. Morden Court Parade, a historic art deco building marking the gateway to Morden town centre, was designed by Jan Kattein Architects for Merton Council, supported by the mayor of London on a £700,000 budget, as part of its Morden Retail Gateway scheme, to improve the area’s shopping experience. Kattein said: “The success of the project is largely due to the joint effort that everybody put in; council officers, stakeholders, building owners and shop owners. High streets are not just places to shop, they are places where people live, work, meet friends and engage in cultural activity. They are the heart and soul of local communities. “The McEwen Award shortlisting recognises just that, projects that have the power to instil a sense of civic pride.”

m e rto n h o n o u r s

# vo t e 100

Merton Heritage Centre is hosting an eight-month programme of activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. Launched in February 2018, the celebrations began with an introduction to women’s suffrage in Merton by Sarah Gould, Merton’s heritage officer, which was followed by a design session and practical bannermaking. The free event was attended by representatives from Merton Council and Philippa Bilton, a descendant of Emily Davison, the suffragette who was infamously killed at Epsom Racecourse in 1913 after falling under the King’s horse. 8



A modern, fully accessible library opened in the centre of Colliers Wood in February 2018. Replacing the Donald Hope Library, the new facility is a minute’s walk from Colliers Wood underground station, and comprises three floors, with free wifi and computer use, a large book selection, study areas, meeting spaces for hire, a cafe, children’s area and a vegetation-covered ‘living roof’. The library cost £2 million to build, and was developed in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society to make it useable for people with dementia. A joint partnership between developer Rocco Homes and Merton Council, the building also incorporates 60 homes, with 45 of those allocated for affordable housing, managed by Metropolitan Housing.

rest and retail in wimbledon Plans have been revealed for a fourstar, 94-room hotel and shopping space on Wimbledon Hill. Developer Walhill showcased plans at a public exhibition in January 2018 at nearby Wimbledon Library, to refurbish and expand the Bank Buildings on Wimbledon Hill Road in the town centre for a mixed-use scheme comprising retail space at ground level and the rest of the building for hotel use. Speaking on behalf of Walhill, Paul Dimoldenberg of Quattro PR, said: “The plans to restore and extend Bank Buildings for a new four-star hotel and ground floor retail will help bring new life to this much-loved town centre building. It will provide new jobs and help boost town centre business, as well as providing a high quality hotel for business and leisure visitors to Wimbledon.”

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new school on target A secondary school located adjacent to the High Path regeneration project, is due to open in September 2020. Harris Academy Wimbledon will form part of the Harris Federation school’s charity, which already has three academies in Merton – two secondaries and one primary school – and there are currently 44 open Harris academies, educating 32,000 students in and around London. Once finished, it will also provide a community facility for evenings and school holidays, with a multi-use games area, a sports hall, drama and music studios and other resources. New school performance tables published by the Department for Education place the Harris Federation as the top performing large multi-academy trust in England. With a ‘well above average’ progress score of +0.54 across the federation, Harris academies outperformed any other local authority group for pupil progress. Joanne Larizadeh, principal of Harris Academy Wimbledon said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be a part of Harris Academy Wimbledon from the very outset; our brandnew academy building will be opening in the High Path area in 2020. “From the conversations I’ve been having at our open evening sessions with local parents, families and carers, there’s huge enthusiasm for the academy and we have already received over 200 applications.”

tfl partnership for morden Transport for London (TfL) is to be a key partner in Merton Council’s plans to regenerate Morden town centre. The partnership will expand on the draft New London Plan, by improving and expanding retail facilities, business space, an improved bus station, more homes and attractive public spaces. London’s deputy mayor for transport Val Shawcross, said: “It’s great news that these bold plans to transform Morden town centre are moving another step forward. “By working together, TfL and Merton Council can make a real difference to the town centre with a reduction in traffic dominance helping to improve the health of local people, support economic growth, and deliver homes and jobs.” I SS UE 3





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BREAKING BARRIERS Music, art and theatre venues across the London Borough of Merton stand out for their emphasis on community cohesion and engaging diverse audiences in cultural pursuits b y c a r ly c a s s a n o

Pictured: Attic’s production of Great Expectations. 10




ommunity grows like any other living thing: from the soils of a healthy environment. The areas that make up the London Borough of Merton as we know it today have been nurturing budding arts communities for hundreds of years; from the Merton Abbey Mills, established in the early 18th century at the site of the medieval Merton Priory, to modern music and theatre venues, and the latest pop-up ventures. Back at the turn of the 20th century, both William Morris and Liberty & Co. were handmaking their textiles at Merton Abbey Mills, a deliberate departure from the burgeoning industrial steam-powered productions of central London. By that time, the River Wandle, a source of clear, alkaline chalk streams, “perfect for washing and dyeing textiles”, was already home to hundreds of watermills and thousands of skilled artisans. Merton was the centre of fine textiles manufacturing and innovation. It’s no wonder Merton arts venues focus on creating lasting community impact through a few major objectives: inclusiveness, generating trust by honouring artists, and producing innovative work. Artists who feel welcomed and supported by the venues that host them feel empowered to try new things. Subsequently, audiences – and more broadly, the local community – are inspired to explore their own creativity. With many communities moving from brick-and-mortar spaces into virtual spaces, Merton Council and local businesses are responsible for reaching out to people who are at risk of isolation. With consideration of their relative privileges and mobility, Londoners are statistically lonelier and more socially isolated than ever before. The arts can play an integral part in helping counteract these problems by allowing people to express themselves in creative ways. Knowing that support mechanisms and places where people can reconnect exist can go a long way towards inspiring positive change. John Merriman, founder of Morden Crown Lane Studio, says: “Over the past 10 years, I have

m e rton h a s s u c h d e ep a n d b r o ad c u ltu r a l fo u n dat i o n s John Merriman, Morden Crown Lane Studio I SS UE 3





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been fortunate to work with many organisations across the borough, and know that working in partnership in the arts and creative sector is fundamental to an area developing its own cultural DNA. Merton has such deep and broad cultural foundations and I hope this growing partnership will bring this to the forefront so people can be prouder of where they live, their heritage and their cultural future.”

01 The Sound Lounge supports budding musicians.

the sound lounge The Sound Lounge is a non-profit music venue and community art space, founded in early 2017 by Hannah White and Keiron Marshall and based in the neighbouring borough of Wandsworth. It quickly became recognised for drawing high quality acts for a diverse audience, so, when its rental was suddenly reclaimed, FutureMerton’s Mark Holmes reached out to offer temporary use of a vacant shopfront across from Wimbledon Piazza in Merton. In addition to live gigs, art shows and movie screenings, The Sound Lounge hosts regular community events, such as “Friendship Coffee”, which offers those who live alone or have mental health conditions to come together during regular meetups. The idea is simple: everyone who comes in is offered a free cup of tea or coffee, and the opportunity to engage in friendly conversation. It is so simple it feels organic – as if talking to a particular person would have happened all along. One participant travels from Peckham, where he’s 0 1 building flats on a short-term construction contract, and conversation moves from politics

05 Attic puts on shows for diverse audiences.



02 Coffee mornings at the venue encourage community.

03 The Borrowers at the Polka Theatre. 04 Community theatre by Attic.

to art and spirituality and then to more personal ground: missed family members in Manchester, breakups and loved ones with serious illnesses. But what is it about a space that helps people come together, to feel grounded by another? White says: “If you provide an environment that is truly inclusive, if you practise those values every day, in everything you do, people really feel welcome.” She adds, emphatically: “I believe in that more than I believe in anything else in the world.”



the polka theatre The Polka Theatre has been in Wimbledon since 1979 and is one of the only theatres in the UK dedicated to putting on productions by children, for children. It is already well known for its productions, artistry, and finely crafted sets, yet it continues to push boundaries. Not only is the theatre undergoing a massive expansion over the course of the next few years, it is providing a platform for artists to expand on ideas through its latest initiative, PolkaLAB. The goal of the PolkaLAB is to offer underrepresented artists – such as women, people from ethnic minorities, those identifying as LGBTQ, disabled people and children under the age of six – a controlled, supportive environment to develop their works-in-progress. By experimenting this way, artists are free to think, leading towards potentially groundbreaking productions. The first LAB was run by Rosie Heafford, choreographer, and founder and manager of Second Hand Dance. The idea behind the LAB was to examine what “touch” (physical, intimate contact or proximity) means for an early-years audience (children under six). According to Zoë Robinson, producer at the Polka Theatre, the LAB coordinated with a local nursery school to get “first hand reactions from the audience” to decide what direction to take


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03 the play in. The goal was to find out whether the children’s experiences of being touched by their peers was positive or negative; or whether they were able to feel a deeper connection to people if they reciprocated touch. With many schools in London practising “no touch” policies, the play examines a significant cultural shift in real-time. The second LAB was run by Jack Benjamin, an actor and playwright. It was further along in its maturity than Heafford’s, and utilised the tools the theatre has in place to enhance the

attic theatre company


Founded by Colin Haigh and Jenny Lee, both actors, and John Gould, a musician, Attic encourages people to engage with the arts by, in its own words, “commissioning and producing theatre that challenges and excites audiences, and empowers the communities we work with in Merton, across London and on tour”. Many of Attic’s productions are staged within the borough, in theatres, parks and historic buildings. Attic also runs an extensive community programme which includes the Ma Kelly plays, two over 55s singing groups Going for a Song in Mitcham and Wimbledon, and Many Voices, a drama workshop programme for young refugees.






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play’s production quality. Featuring recordings from the Caribbean “Windrush generation” of the 1950s and ‘60s, it’s a story about the hundreds of new parents who moved to England from the Caribbean islands before their children, to secure housing and work. Often when the kids were reunited with their parents, it was as if they were meeting for the first time. The third LAB, conceived by Ana Newell, the creative mind behind Belfast’s Baby Day, is still a seedling in the early stages of its development. The idea is to create a show featuring babies (children under two) that will be written and produced by teenagers. Along with the final production, the process should reveal how teenagers’ levels of empathy are affected by working with babies. This could be especially timely and poignant for children who are “at risk of social exclusion”. In addition to its commitment to the representation of minority artists, the Polka Theatre works with local schools through a variety of programmes and workshops. According to Michelle Thompson, schools relationship officer, the theatre currently works with “partner schools, which helps to encourage their pupils to engage with theatre and other artistic activities”. Schools receive free tickets to Polka productions, as well as pre and post-show workshops, where students can “deepen their engagement and develop their understanding of the performance and its characters and themes”. Additionally, a programme called Curtain Up! offers “free tickets, lunch and travel subsidies to schools that may not otherwise be able to visit Polka due to financial difficulties”.

01 My Brother, My Sister and Me at the Polka Theatre. 02 Packed crowds are common at the venue.


02 With Polka filling the seats most days, children can get involved in workshops which are “completely bespoke and tailored to suit the needs and requirements of each school”. There are puppet-making workshops, play-ina-day workshops, and other workshops that are uniquely tied to calendar events, such as Black History Month, International Women’s Day and World Poetry Day.

c r ow n l a n e s t u d i o Morden The Crown Lane Studio is run by John and Ruth Merriman and fronted by ethical cafe, Tariro. The mission of the Morden-based studio venue is to encourage artists to develop their unique musical stories through the use of high quality production equipment. It uses eco-friendly materials, promotes carbon-neutral production, and supports Tariro’s offer of ethical coffees and food production. It also has virtual community space where artists can “upload rough mixes, share ideas and files, and make artistic suggestions.” 14






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c u lt u r a l h i g h l i g h t s m e rto n a b b e y m i l l s Morden Merton Abbey Mills uses its beautiful historic buildings as a marketplace for speciality foods and goods, restaurants, and venues for live music, dinner and jazz, and readings by local authors. It is also the site of the Colour House Theatre, home of the popular Blues Club, and contemporary theatre and comedy gigs. m e rto n a rt s s p a c e Wimbledon & Morden Libraries Of Merton Arts Space, the council’s cabinet member for community and culture, Anthony Hopkins, Merton’s head of library, heritage, adult education services, says: “It is a great addition to our arts community and a testament to our business-like approach as a council. It’s a genuine affordable community resource, meeting our

aspiration to bridging the gap in Merton and make arts accessible to everyone. The past year’s programme has offered everything from art exhibitions and film screenings to classical music, poetry performances and tea dances.”

lantern arts centre Raynes Park The Lantern Arts Centre is a venue for the community of Raynes Park and beyond, for people of different ages and abilities to develop arts skills. It focuses on children’s and youth theatre and arts education, adult learning, singing lessons and a community choir often performs at the venue. It also hosts a popular jazz club on Saturday nights. In March, the theatre will run a performance of The 39 Steps, a comedy based on the novel by John Buchan, adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow.

Polka Theatre also partners with area theatres – including Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, York Theatre Royal and Theatre Royal Plymouth – or the outreach initiative “Playhouse Project”. Schools participating in the project are taught how to create and direct original plays, which are performed on Polka Theatre’s main stage every July. Projects, programmes and productions are 03 The Morden Crown Lane Studio crew.

04 Tariro cafe fronts the studios and has a focus on ethical food production.


baseless fabric theatre Merton Baseless Fabric Theatre brings opera and theatre into public spaces, such as shops, supermarkets and libraries, to people who don’t expect to experience a live arts performance, and who might not have had the opportunity to experience something like it in a more traditional setting.

c r ow n h o u s e c r e a t i v e Morden Merton Council partnered with Jan Kattein Architects and the Architecture Foundation to design this funky, flexible space for emerging and established artists to exhibit work for free. It features a programme of visual art installations, screenings, live music and a roster of DJs providing a series of themed music evenings. The cafe space is available to use for daytime workshops as well.

dedicated to accessibility, inclusivity and accurate representations of their communities. Producer Zoë Robinson says: “We want Polka Theatre to be a different kind of theatre space, one which showcases stories from different cultures and places. We want it to be a home for families for many years to come.” If Oscar Wilde is right and “the theatre is the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being,” then the Polka Theatre is helping inspire a more educated and empathetic future. Artists are known for moving around, but publicly acknowledging the places they’re from and the communities that nurtured their creativity. As says Sampha Sisay (known as Sampha), the Mercury Music Prize producer and singersongwriter from Morden, “you can always come home.” John Merriman from Crown Lane Studio (see opposite) touches on what this might mean for those who live and work in the London borough of Merton: “This borough is full of different kinds of people, working together to create cultural spaces and strong communities.” o I SS UE 3



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m e rto n p r oj ec t s

PROJEC TS From a new stadium for AFC Wimbledon – where hundreds of homes are also being built – to new leisure centres and plans to create new shopping areas, build schools and regenerate existing public realm, Merton is presenting itself as a rapidly changing borough, with opportunities abound

w i m b l ed o n c o m m on


w i m bl e d o n h i ll p a r k

Raynes Park 1 Plough Lane Stadium

2 Morden Park Pool

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New Malden

3 Wimbledon masterplan


4 Crossrail 2

Motspur Park

5 Shopping parades renovation

6 Merton Hall

Worcester Park

7 Pinnacle House 18


8 Wimbledon Hill Park ISSU E 3

g r e ate r lo n do n Tooting Broadway Wimbledon Park

1 3

wim bl e d o n ma st er p l a n


cro ssr a i l 2

plough lane stadium Haydons Road



pi n na c l e house

Colliers Wood

Dundonald Road


Streatham Common

South Wimbledon


m e rton hall

Merton Park

sh o p ping p a r a de s re novation

uth Merton



Morden South


Mitcham Eastfields

Morden Road

Wimbledon Chase

m o r de n pa r k p o o l

Phipps Bridge Belgrave Walk


Mitcham Junction

St Helier





Catalyst Catalyst A developer withwith a difference A developer a difference

Specialists in mixed-tenure development and regeneration, we Specialists in mixed-tenure development and regeneration, we provide new homes sale, shared and rent.and Hererent. for Here for provide newfor homes for sale,ownership shared ownership the long-term, we use the our design, planning the long-term, wequality use theofquality of oururban design, urban planning and management to build more than homes we make great and management to build more than–homes – we make great places and communities for people enjoy to living in. living in. places and communities fortopeople enjoy For more information please contact: For more information please contact:

m e rto n p r oj ec t s

plough lane, stadium development

Local football club AFC Wimbledon is to return home to play at Plough Lane, after Merton Council and housebuilder Galliard Homes signed a Section 106 planning gain agreement that clears the way for a new stadium. Galliard Homes will build a football stadium with capacity for up to 20,000 spectators, the 602 new homes in a joint venture with Catalyst (see page 7), more than 1,200sq m of retail space, a squash and leisure centre, a hospitality suite

and a crèche, as well as improvements including to local transport links. AFC Wimbledon and Galliard Homes will also put £1.5 million into local health provision and improvements to bus services, roads and the cycle network. After the original Wimbledon club controversially moved to Milton Keynes, AFC Wimbledon was formed by a group of fans who re-started the club from scratch; after many years of efforts the club was restored to the football league

and will soon be in its new stadium. This will be built on the site of Wimbledon’s former greyhound stadium, which existed from 1928 to 2017, and is near to where Wimbledon originally played. The planning process was complicated and delayed when the original application was called in by former London mayor Boris Johnson. It was eventually returned to Merton for a decision on the project and granted final approval in late 2017.

morden park pool Construction work on the Morden Leisure Centre is well in progress, including on its 25-metre pool. The new leisure facility will provide

residents of the growing Morden area with a six-lane main pool, a second pool with a moveable floor to accommodate diving, swimming, as well as a fitness

suite, a studio and a cafe. The current pool will stay open until the new one is complete, after which it will be returned to open space.




m e rto n p r oj ec t s

wimbledon masterplan The annual lawn tennis championships make Wimbledon internationally famous and one objective of the council’s masterplan process, now in progress, is to give the town a clear ‘brand’ to build on this advantage and develop it economically. To deliver this, the council is preparing a masterplan that will shape a growing and improving Wimbledon for the next 15 years. While Wimbledon holds about half the jobs in the borough, it faces retail competition from Wandsworth Southside, Putney Exchange, Kingston, Richmond, Croydon Westfield and before long from Battersea Power Station. In the office market, Wimbledon is strong, with competition from Chiswick, Richmond and Hammersmith. The masterplan is intended to be a long-term vision for the built environment, guiding 0 1 the appropriate use of land and form of development and spaces. 22



It will seek to identify: suitable locations for commercial, housing and mixed-use development, locations where Wimbledon should increase density, promote redevelopment and growth; opportunities to extend or improve open space, recreation and civic facilities; strategies to increase economic development; conservation of environmental, historic and cultural resources; and lastly, strategies for solving traffic congestion and other transport improvements. Workshops have been held at which residents have been able to give their views on what they like and dislike about Wimbledon and suggest ideas based around buildings and their use, character and place and streets and spaces. Ideas were reported back grouped around civic and culture, landscape and green space, buildings and spaces, townscape and public realm, and traffic and movement.

Among the many ideas from the consultations was a feeling that new venues were needed for both performance space for the arts and for civic spaces, together with the creation of a town square as a means of bringing green space into the town centre. A strong theme that emerged was that consultees felt Wimbledon town centre was lacking in street trees and open spaces, giving little relief from the busy shopping streets. One idea was a network of pocket parks and spaces around the town centre linked to a pedestrian route that enabled people to avoid areas with busy traffic. Older, historic buildings were strongly approved of, though many disliked those from the 1960s. Consultees were concerned about the quality of the public realm and of more contemporary buildings, which

crossrail 2 Merton will be even better linked to the rest of London and the wider region once the proposed Crossrail 2 line is built, with stations at Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Motspur Park being on Transport for London’s draft map for the planned route. Crossrail 2 is designed to complement the Elizabeth Line (formerly Crossrail), which will open in stages this year and next running east to west across London from Reading to Shenfield and Abbey Wood. As a north-south link, Crossrail 2 will take trains from south-west London and Surrey and allow them to move rapidly under the capital’s centre to destinations in north London and Hertfordshire. North of Wimbledon there is a choice of potential routes, running through either Tooting Broadway or Balham to Clapham Junction, and then through into the centre of London. If Crossrail 2 proceeds it will relieve the South West Main Line, one of the country’s most congested routes, where demand is forecast to increase by up to 40% by 2043. Crossrail 2 would free up railway space and enable more services to central London to bypass the most congested stations. Fast interchange to and from trains at Waterloo from further south would be available at the station in Merton, and additional interchanges would be created. were felt in many cases to be lacking local distinctiveness. There was a strong desire to remove through traffic from the town centre streets, possibly by providing new crossings of the railway line. A ‘Top 10 Ideas’ to inform the council’s development of the masterplan was taken from the consultation and workshops. These were that Wimbledon needed to be greener, to have more mid-rise buildings as opposed to tower block development and better design principles. Residents also wished to see more public and cultural spaces, perhaps including a concert hall. On traffic and transport, reduced dominance of cars was favoured, as well as better public transport integration and development above the station, which it was felt would ‘stitch together’ a town centre at present divided by the railway line. I SS UE 3



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s h o p p i n g p a r a d e s r e n ova t i o n A partnership between Merton and Transport for London, which is a major landowner in the centre of Morden, will deliver an improved and expanded retail offer, increase business space, create new infrastructure for buses and provide more homes. Sara Williams, programme manager for business and economy, says: “Morden is already a hub for local businesses in Merton and has built up a strong business community. It still has significant potential as a great place for business going forward. Not only are we the start of the Northern line, Morden has bus, tram and rail connections: there aren’t many town centres that can say that. “Alongside the accessibility, it is also very desirable, benefitting from two parks within easy walking distance, the new leisure centre under construction, alongside proposed development for more retail and residential. We know from our consultations with residents and businesses that they too realise the potential of the town centre.”

m e rto n h a l l Plans are in hand to provide a new secondary school in Merton to meet the needs of a growing young population. Provisional ‘Progress 8’ results from the Department for Education for 2017 showed the borough’s secondary schools were the best performing in the country. To cope with the increased flow of pupils through from primary schools, the council is providing a site for the Education and Skills Funding Agency to use on land currently occupied by the High Path




Community and Resource Centre, the Elim Church and Domex appliance services. This will be completed by a land swap, under which the church will move to Merton Hall, which the council will consider retaining for community use. Community groups to use Merton Hall have moved elsewhere: South Wimbledon Community Association is now on Pincott Road. The new school is expected to cater for 1,050 pupils. expected completion in 2020.

pinnacle house, wimbledon Pinnacle House is a commercial project in Wimbledon for Aviva Investors and Kingston Estates that doubles the existing floor area to more than 5,000sq m. It includes refurbishment of the existing B1 office building to create additional floorspace, reconfigured internal spaces, a re-clad front elevation and the building has been extended by three new floors. This was accomplished by removal of a roof to accommodate the additional floors which in turn have been covered by a green roof areas and planted terraces. These sustainability measures have secured it a BREEAM rating of ‘very good’. The basement was reconfigured to accommodate the building’s bicycle parking. A pre-let has been agreed with Kindred, an online gambling company and significant local employer, which was previously housed in Wimbledon Bridge House. It will use the building as its new UK headquarters for at least 15 years. Global real estate firm CBRE has said that the rent of £54 per sq ft achieved was the largest pre-let office transaction in Wimbledon since 2013 and set a new record rent for the area. Luke Hacking, head of south east office agency at CBRE, says: “Wimbledon has had a very tight supply of Grade A space over recent years and Pinnacle House presented a great opportunity to capitalise on the market dynamics.”

wimbledon hill park Housebuilder Berkeley Homes has completed a development in what was once the second Duke of Wellington’s ancestral home, and the nearby former Atkinson Morley Hospital, a locally listed building opened in 1869 for treatment of the convalescing poor. The masterplan is for 161 apartments and 14 large houses, of which 27 refurbished apartments are situated within the existing hospital building, and all set within 7.68ha of open land.

The redevelopment includes a sports pavilion, with three sports pitches for the local school. Work has been completed on the refurbishment of the hospital building and will start shortly on a third phase, which will provide 75 new homes, including 18 allocated as affordable and a new public square. Berkeley will also put £50,000 towards public art to celebrate the work of the Wolfson Neurorehabilitation Centre or of the Atkinson Morley Hospital.





LEARNING CURVES Merton Council’s ambition for its schools is not only to create places for all young people living in the borough, but to see high achievement and improvements implemented for the future by joe walsh

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erton, like many London boroughs, has seen a population boom in recent years, necessitating the need for the council to build new schools and expand existing ones to cope with the growing demand for places. The south London borough was ranked by the Department for Education (DfE) as the best local authority in the country for its ‘Progress 8’ scores. These results show the progress made by pupils between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4. In total, 15 of Merton’s schools have an ‘outstanding’ ranking from Ofsted, the highest score of four categories a school can attain, while 33 are rated ‘good’ and none are deemed ‘inadequate’. Of the borough’s eight secondary schools, four are rated ‘outstanding’ – including Ricards Lodge, Rutlish, Ursuline and Harris Academy Merton – while the other half are ranked as ‘good’. Ricards Lodge was the most recent to be awarded ‘outstanding’ status from Ofsted, with the report noting the school’s leaders and governors had significantly improved the school since its last inspection. For 16-19 year olds, Merton’s education continues to improve, with students achieving good A-level results. Raynes Park High School and St Mark’s Academy performed particularly well in ‘Applied General’ qualifications, with an average grade of ‘distinction’. Applied General qualifications provide a broad study in a vocational area, such as arts, business, health and social care. They allow students to continue their education through applied learning.

01 Students at Harris Primary Academy Merton, which opened in 2014. 02 The Harris Academy Merton secondary school.

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At the other end of the age range, in primary education, Merton’s schools are again ahead of the national average. Across the borough 66% of primary pupils are meeting the expected standard, compared with 61% as the national average. In addition, the borough’s primary schools are deemed above average in the three main progress indicators of reading, writing and maths. The borough has expanded 20 primary schools over the past 10 years to increase the number of available places. The council provided a series of good quality, well-planned, permanent buildings that helped to enhance the overall teaching environment. The growing demand for school places is now reaching secondary school age and Harris Academy Merton has been expanded by 300 places. Merton Council has been active in working with government to ensure a new free school opens at the start of the 2018 academic year, in time to meet this growing demand. The Harris Academy Wimbledon will provide 120 places to its first students this year and will be temporarily located in Whatley Avenue before moving near South Wimbledon tube station to a purpose-built site when it is completed in 2020, will then provide 180 places per year, a total capacity of 1,150 children, including sixth form students. There are more single-sex schools in Wimbledon, so as well as providing more places that are needed as the primary school students reach secondary school age, there will be more choice for parents in the area. In Merton, Harris has three academies: two secondaries and one primary school. The Harris

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01 Academy Merton secondary’s ‘Attainment 8’ score – given to schools based on how well pupils do across eight subjects including English, Maths and Science – was 50.8 compared to England’s average of 44.2. The Harris Academy Merton and Harris Primary Academy Merton both received ‘outstanding’ ratings from Ofsted. Harris Academy Wimbledon’s principal, Jo Larizadeh says the mixed comprehensive will appeal to families seeking a ‘co-ed’ environment and help students achieve goals beyond academic success. “Our three headline words are: independence, integrity and resilience,” says Larizadeh. “Alongside academic excellence, I want Harris Academy Wimbledon students to understand the importance of making the difference, being active and ensuring that they contribute to their local community – developing kindness, respect and a sense of compassion. “I think all of those elements are a key part of the school,” she adds. With Merton’s position as the top performing area in the country for progressing pupils, its ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ secondary schools and Harris’s academic record in developing and delivering new schools, it would appear the borough’s education has a very bright future.

01 School leaders were praised by Ofsted at the Ricards Lodge secondary.

02 Rutlish secondary school in Merton Park is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. 03 Clare Balding visits students at the Ursuline secondary school in Wimbledon.

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THE MAKING O F M I TC H A M The team behind the Rediscover Mitcham project have made three years of progress in regenerating the area by jane thynne

01 Easfields Lanes





n 2014, the London Borough of Merton embarked on a £6.2 million, three-year scheme to breathe new life into the eastern side of the borough. Mitcham’s town centre, which had once been a bustling commercial hub, was now mostly unloved and unvisited by the suburb’s 63,000 residents. In response, the council created Rediscover Mitcham, a project designed to carry out radical changes, not only to public realm, but to transport links, taking the audacious decision to depedestrianise the centre, in a committed bid to bring residents back into the heart of the town. “Mitcham has suffered from a lot of indecision around transport,” explains Paul McGarry, head of FutureMerton. “In the 1970s, the M23 was planned to go through Mitcham. When that was scrapped, there was a hiatus until the town was bypassed by Holborn Way in the 80s then pedestrianised in the 90s, effectively killing off the footfall. Re-opening London Road for buses brings people back in the centre.” McGarry and his team decided the way forward was to reincorporate Fair Green back into the town’s core: “We have basically gone back to the 1950s layout,” he says. “We are aiming for a village feel, to re-establish Fair Green as the town’s heart.” The area, as project manager James Geeson acknowledges, was crying out for attention and the team embarked on a series of detailed consultations with the public – both residents and business owners – to ensure Mitcham got the redevelopment it deserved. “A lot of the retailers were really struggling, as you couldn’t even park for a few minutes to pop into shops and there was no passing trade,” says Sara Williams, programme manager for business and economy. “At the start of the project the town had 19 barbers and a lot of charity shops. There was no pull.” In a bid to create a ‘pull’, the team decided to upgrade the cafe on the green to give it more of a community focus. Meanwhile, grants and support were offered to businesses in the retail quarter to update shop fronts and create a more attractive hub.




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“The cafe [Tag Elezz] is a really nice space, and in warmer weather, customers can sit out on the Market Square and enjoy the green and clock tower gardens. It is already doing very well,” adds Williams. Another major undertaking was the repositioning of the Mitcham Clock Tower. The timepiece, which has been synonymous with the town since 1898, had certainly lost its lustre, and the Rediscover Mitcham project was keen to return it to its former glory. After securing £450,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the team engaged the services of specialist clock makers Gillett & Johnson, and it now stands proudly, complete with lamps and water fountain, amid new aspects of public realm that also include walled gardens, redesigned street lighting and seating areas. “It was definitely one of our icons of the project,” explains Geeson. “Making Fair Green a destination again was key to the whole scheme.” Mitcham is served by many town centre bus routes, which until recently all stopped outside the retail area. Geeson says the team believed that to succeed, London Road had to be opened

up to public transport, meaning people were dropped directly outside shops and not on the periphery of the town, thus driving footfall and enabling retail visibility. To achieve that aim, Rediscover Mitcham worked closely with main stakeholder Transport for London (TfL) to reposition junctions and create new parking bays and signage. “We needed forward approval from TfL to change bus routes, and also, as 75% of the roads involved in the project were strategic routes, TfL had overriding authority about how we managed the traffic,” adds Geeson. The new routes will be monitored for 12 months, but results are looking promising. “Affected businesses in London Road have told us they have seen about a 30% increase already, now the buses are running. Before the project started there were about 20 empty shops and now we have about two,” says McGarry. Mitcham’s traditional market was also a key focus. Situated in the former pedestrianised area, it had suffered from a lack of trade. Rediscover Mitcham and the team are working hard to deliver the correct offer to meet customer needs.

01 Work has taken place to restore the town’s clock tower. 02 Punters enjoy outside space at Tag Elezz cafe.

03 New housing at Rowan Park.

04 Mitcham Common is becoming a popular destination.

r e sta u r a n t s c a l l i n g m i tc h a m h o m e Chak 89, the Bond Road eatery, specialising in Pakistani and Indian cuisine, is popular with the capital’s great and the good and was described has having, “the best food in London” by Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan. The Ravensbury, which serves




Indian and Haka Chinese food, is also a hit with the glitterati - Hollywood star Tom Hardy was a recent guest. Based in Croydon Road joint owner Vidur Patel says: “In the past year, we have had great feedback from the community and we are very happy in Mitcham.”

A new addition is the Miller & Carter Steakhouse, which is up and running on Windmill Road. A spokesperson for the company said: “We are thrilled to have opened Miller & Carter Mitcham last year and we are excited to keep welcoming locals and first time guests.”

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03 Businesses are heading back to the town with the arrival of a large independent grocers and butchers and chain store Poundland. “It’s very much about providing the right shops for local residents and we are currently talking to a range of businesses who will hopefully be opening in the town soon,” says Williams. housing drive Over the past eight years, around 700 new homes have been built in Mitcham, including at Rowan Park, Brenley Park and the Windmill estate in Mitcham Common. These are all situated about 10-15 minutes’ walk out of the town centre, something McGarry describes as a “doughnut effect”. There is also a huge regeneration project in the pipeline less than one mile away, where the 1970s Eastfields estate is being transformed by Clarion Homes’ £130 million scheme – which McGarry hopes should also help lift Mitcham’s town centre. With the Mitcham streetscape in place, the council is now turning its attention to possible developments in a bid to drive town centre investment. “What we are looking to do now is put jam in the middle of the doughnut,” says McGarry. “The aim is to get mixed-use retail and residential and we have already been approached by some developers. Inspired by Pop Brixton and Peckham Levels, we are in discussion with meanwhile space occupiers to bring life to a multi-storey car park with food or rooftop bars, which would bring new jobs and keep the centre alive.” Thanks to the recent road map changes, land has been created in the town centre, which McGarry says the council is keen to utilise. To

04 that end, the council has set up its own property company – Merantun Developments – and is, already looking at a site in Raleigh Gardens for a possible private Paul McGarry, head of FutureMerton rent development. Consultation on the new Merton Local Plan ended at the beginning of January 2018 and has identified several locations including the gas holder, where a joint venture between Berkeley Homes and the National Grid could see numerous apartments built, again all within easy reach of the town centre, again all driving trade to the area. One significant scheme set to help transform the area is the three-year regeneration plan now under way at Canons House and Park, the site of the council leisure centre. More than £4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been granted to restore the gardens, park and historic house which will offer business space, a new cafe and heritage centre. Alongside this new leisure offer will be London’s first health and well-being campus, based in the Wilson Cottage Hospital on Cranmer Road. The council is working with the NHS (which owns the site) to provide a holistic approach to social health, with the site hosting a medical centre, community spaces and gardens. “Regeneration takes time,” says McGarry. “But we’ve done a lot so far. There aren’t many places where the transport system has been redesigned and we couldn’t find anywhere else in Britain that has unpedestrianised a town centre to bring life and activity back. Slowly but surely we are going in the right direction.” o

r ege n e r at io n ta k e s t i m e , bu t w e ’ v e d o n e a lot s o fa r





Natasha Pullan – head of events Lottie Gregory – event manager

Hemini Mistry – events assistant

020 7978 6840



THE BIG BUILD The private and public sectors in Merton are working together to not only build the number of homes the borough needs, but to drive forward development projects with benefits for both new and existing residents by lu c y c l a r k e


he need for a marriage between the public and private spheres has “never been greater”, according to Paul Quinn, director of the Merton regeneration project for Clarion. “The borough and London as a whole face unprecedented housing need,” Quinn says. “And that is especially true of affordable homes. As the largest registered landlord, a major landowner in Merton and a partner of the council, Clarion Housing Group is committed to investing in existing affordable housing in Merton and to building thousands of new homes over the next decade. But we can only do this with the support of the council.”

According to Quinn, Merton is well-placed to use its planning powers to ensure the building of new homes and that neighbourhoods achieve the best outcome in terms of design, community facilities and, critically, increased supply of affordable homes. “Our experience in dealing with the council on these matters confirms their commitment to quality and their long-term ambition for the borough as a whole,” he says. “The challenge faced by both the council and housing developers is to bring forward new homes while ensuring as much affordable housing as possible can be delivered, against a backdrop of fluctuating house prices, potential

01 Clarion’s plans for the High Path estate in south Wimbledon.







Brexit impact on labour supply and material costs and political change.” creating communities As part of a massive regeneration project in the borough, Clarion is planning to build around 2,800 new homes over a 12-year period. The housing group is set to replace 1,000 existing homes and add about 1,800 new, additional homes across three neighbourhoods: Eastfields, High Path and Ravensbury. Built in the early 1970s to the north east of Mitcham town centre, Eastfields is a neighbourhood of 465 houses and flats, some with balconies, garages and small gardens. Clarion’s masterplan promises between 780 and 800 energy-efficient homes, traditional streets with front gardens to create safer routes for residents, a wide range of houses, maisonettes and flats and a private outdoor space for each home – whether that means a garden, balcony or terrace. The housing group is also committed to providing public open space, including a large 36



central green area, communal courtyards and new play areas. There are currently over 600 homes at High Path and a range of housing types from 1940s blocks to 1970s towers. Most homes are flats, but there are also maisonettes, townhouses and terraces in the neighbourhood. The proposals for a new neighbourhood at High Path would deliver around 1,600 energyefficient new homes in a variety of house types including flats, duplexes, maisonettes, mansion blocks, mews houses, townhouses and multigenerational houses. It will also provide new homes with wheelchair access and the flexibility to meet changing family needs, private outdoor space for every property, a central neighbourhood park with links to surrounding areas and new and improved community facilities, which will be used for meetings, events, classes and clubs. In March 2017, Clarion received planning permission for the first 134 homes to be built on High Path.

01 Clarion’s plans for Eastfields include up to 800 homes. 02 Plans for a new neighbourhood at Ravensbury.


The Ravensbury neighbourhood includes 192 houses and flats and was built in the 1950s. It is bordered by Morden Hall Park to the north and Ravensbury Park to the south with the River Wandle running through both. Proposals for a new neighbourhood at Ravensbury would deliver up to 180 new homes, with no new entrance roads so Ravensbury keeps its village feel, with traditional design including pitched roof houses, terraced streets, shared courtyards and a community space. In September 2016, Clarion received planning permission to build the first 21 new homes on Ravensbury. Measures are also being taken by Clarion’s regeneration at the estates to ensure all existing tenants can remain, following early stages of consultation, where many residents made clear their desire to stay in the neighbourhood during and beyond the period of regeneration. This is a result of both Clarion and Merton’s commitments to residents. Quinn explains: “In response, Clarion Housing Group has developed

an offer which confirms resident homeowners will be offered a new replacement home. Clarion tenants will be offered a home of appropriate size for their needs, ensuring Paul Quinn, Clarion Housing Group no one returns to overcrowded homes. “We will provide disturbance payments and new white goods to help settle people and have committed to move people directly from their existing home into their new home in a single move where possible.” This means there is a new home for anyone who wishes to stay, whether they are a resident homeowner or social rented tenant. A regeneration project of this scale, involving over £1 billion of investment, will also generate hundreds of new jobs for local people. Proposals detail plans for shops, employment buildings and community facilities; all of which will boost job supply and create spaces for new businesses.

o u r e x p e ri e n c e i n d e al i n g w i t h t h e co u n ci l o n t h e se mat t er s co n f ir m s th e ir co m m it m e n t





Quinn says: “Our charitable foundation, Clarion Futures, exists to provide our residents with the support, skills and opportunities to transform their lives and communities for the better. “Our employment and training programme offers a range of free courses, training and apprenticeship opportunities to residents in Merton.” home comforts Elsewhere, housing association Moat is set to deliver a £35 million development scheme at Pollards Hill, and is insistent that the regeneration will not only benefit those coming into the area, but existing residents too. The works will see the extensive refurbishment of more than 400 homes, including new high performance roofing systems, external wall insulation, replacement windows and doors, as well as 200 kitchens, bathrooms, heating and electrical upgrades where required. 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. Director of strategic asset investment Marian Burke says: “Pollards Hill is the Cinderella of the borough and we want to

council takes the lead In April last year, Merton received cabinet approval to set up a wholly owned local authority property company following advice provided by BBP Regeneration and PwC. Merantun Development, established in August 2017, will develop housing and commercial property using council owned smallsites, playing a niche role amongst the larger regeneration projects in Merton. James McGinaly, managing director of Merantun, says: “The unique aspect of Merantun’s business model is that the profits from the venture are returned to Merton Council to fund local services. Merantun will provide a quality rental product, meeting the increased demand for PRS in Merton’s local market. The private and public sector are united in one goal: to build the number of homes areas such as the London Borough of Merton need and to create places where people aspire to move. o

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make it reach its full potential with a bit of a face lift. “It is right on the borough of Croydon in a great location, so we want to make it a self-sufficient place where people can Marian Burke, Moat live, work and bring up their families. The difference with this project is that we are doing it without displacing anyone or gentrifying the area. “We are regenerating – not redeveloping. Generations of people live there and we don’t want that to change.” In addition, Moat is keen to create jobs for existing and new residents at Pollards Hill. Burke explains: “We have run some employment clubs in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions. Over 200 people attended and 11 people got given a job. “The jobs include all sorts of different professions, from gardening and ground maintenance to gaming and code. The work opportunities usually on offer in these sorts of schemes aren’t always what people want. One of our apprentices recently got a role as a resident liaison officer. 01 Moat is “Moat Foundation, our charitable arm, also developing hundreds recently celebrated the launch a young persons of homes in Pollards enterprise club with the help of the London Hill near Mitcham. Youth Support Trust.”

p o l l ar d s h i ll i s th e c i n de r e l la o f th e b o r o ug h a n d we wa nt i t to r e a ch its f u l l p ot e n ti a l



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01 ‘Super Victor’, the Euro 2016 football mascot




LU C K Y CHARMS What do Peppa Pig, Team GB’s Olympic ‘Pride the Lion’ and the Help for Heroes ‘RAF Hero Bear’ have in common? They are all made in Merton. Or at least their 3D lifesize mascots are. The creative force behind these lovable torchbearers is Rainbow Productions, a local business with a global footprint by shailja morris


ucked away in an industrial park between Merton High Street and Colliers Wood tube station are the offices and workshops of one of Merton’s biggest success stories, Rainbow Productions. The company may not be a household name, but will be familiar to those whose 0 1 fluffy life-sized creations have excited and delighted audiences across sports stadiums and theme parks for around 30 years. As one of the UK’s largest mascot manufacturers, Rainbow Productions is the go-to company for global brands seeking a bit of mascot magic to help connect with their audiences. Rainbow has manufactured mascots for global sports sides, including Premier League giants and others of European football’s elite. Cricket, ice hockey and basketball teams too have had mascots created by this seemingly small business in Greenlea Park Industrial Estate. Mascots are now a familiar part of major football tournaments the world over and one of Rainbow’s claims to fame is to have created every 0 1 mascot for Euro football competitions since 1996 when the tournament was held in

England. The mascot for that host tournament was the gentle leonine giant ‘Goaliath’. Rainbow Productions has also manufactured and managed appearances for a range of official Olympic mascots, from the Athens 2004 Olympics’ ‘Athena & Phevos’ to Team GB’s ‘Pride the Lion’ at the 2012 Games. It is currently creating its latest sporting icon, Ruby the Red Panda, for the 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics, being held in Birmingham this year. As marketing manager Shona Stevens explains: “Mascots appeal to audiences young and old and can help capture the spirit of a brand, whether that’s a football team, theme park or a globally recognised FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] brand such as Coca-Cola or Cadbury’s. “We’ve designed and developed costumes for big names in the entertainment industry such as Aardman Animation and Cartoon Network. Mascots are memorable and hold strong emotive appeal, which is why charities use them to great success in their awareness and fundraising campaigns,” adds Stevens. I SS UE 3



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Indeed, Rainbow’s creative costumes have improved the lives of thousands of people by raising awareness and support for charities like Help for Heroes and Barnardo’s through the RAF Hero Bear and Barney Bear, respectively. One of Rainbow’s best-loved creations is none other than Pudsey Bear, who personifies Children in Need, the nation’s biggest annual fundraiser. Stevens says: “Since we launched with our first mascot, Arnie, for QPR FC back in 1991, we’ve been producing more and more costumes every year to meet customer demand. “Merton’s Chamber of Commerce has always been very supportive and have helped drive our growth. It champions us as a local business with a global reach and over the years has provided us with regular business opportunities and numerous business workshops. “We have a strong, positive relationship and were delighted to have been shortlisted in the ‘Best Business under 50 Employees’ category in its local business awards 2017. We have also worked with the council to develop a mascot – Debra the Zebra – for a road safety campaign aimed at children. “On the face of it, we’re a niche company, but our products are very varied. We also offer costume cleaning and refurbishment as well as training the mascot wearers if required. We have diverse staff, ranging from a talented production team, events managers and staff working on the business, sales and marketing side. Stevens thinks what makes Rainbow stand out is its ability to work under pressure: “During our busy periods we have around 50 people working on mascots. Christmas is always extremely busy as we have commissions for shopping centres, heritage centres and theme parks for festive fixed mascots and our licensed mascots – children’s favourites like Peppa Pig make regular appearances. “We are one of a handful of official mascot makers in the UK and we are the largest. What also sets up apart is that all of our production is in-house. “We need more storage capacity to hold mascot costumes, many of which are lifesize.0 3 Right now we are working on a commission for a woolly mammoth mascot. It won’t be lifesize but it will definitely be one of our larger products. Luckily, the team have managed to buy an additional unit in Greenlea Park, next to their existing three.” 42



01 01 Tottenham Hotspur mascot ‘Chirpy’, created by Rainbow Productions. 02 The company also supports road safety campaigns. 03 Peppa Pig is a licensed mascot.


o u r m e rton lo c at io n i s i d ea l fo r u s . i t ’ s a g o o d p l a c e fo r a c r eat i v e b a s e a n d e a s i ly a c c essi b l e fo r c l ie n t s Shona Stevens, marketing manager

Stevens believes Merton is well-placed: “Our location is ideal for us. It’s a good place for a creative base and easily accessible for clients, with good links to central London. We have been in our current premises for 10 years now and our roots are in the SW19 area.” Whether cheering on a football team or national Olympians, or being entertained by a giant Peppa Pig at a shopping centre, it is a fair bet that it will have been made in Merton by Rainbow Productions. o

A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO MADE SITEMATCH LONDON 2018 A SUCCESS 221 delegates 42 public sector landowners 331 meetings

See you next year!

For more information about Sitematch London, or to get involved with next year’s event, please contact Josie Brewer or Paul Gussar

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

MERTON MARKE TS ÂŁ 4 8 0,0 0 0 from the Heritage Fund for Mitcham Clock Tower

AFC Wimbledon will return to their home at the refurbished Plough Lane stadium, now with a capacity of




ÂŁ 5 0,0 4 2 44



people attend the Wimbledon tennis championship each summer


Average salary in Merton:


A 4* hotel and shopping space proposed for Wimbledon Hill

e d uc at i o n

Ofsted ranks 15 of Merton’s schools ‘outstanding’

No.1 borough

in the country for the progress of students from KS2-KS4 Mer ton will have

3 new stations when Crossrail 2 is introduced

£2million for a new dementia-friendly library at Colliers Wood I SS UE 3



t ow n c e n t r e s

STAY I N G ST R E E T W I S E Merton Council’s project to rejuvenate shops and other businesses on high streets across the borough has yielded impressive results b y h u u b n i e u ws t a d t


igh streets and town centres are more than just a place where people go shopping; they are the diverse heart of a community. Areas full of busy shoppers can boost wider growth in surrounding places, and play a key role in regenerating neighbourhoods. Two thirds of Londoners live within five minutes’ walk of a high street – and their sense of belonging has connections to the physical makeup of where they live. The London Borough of Merton is well aware that attractive town centres and high streets are paramount to this. As such, over the past few years, the local authority has undertaken a number of renovation projects around the borough to improve shopping areas, with the aim of creating more attractive places which are great to visit and spend more time in. Three areas to benefit from the renovation project include Colliers Wood, Morden and Wimbledon.




c o l l i e r s wo o d In the summer of 2017, Merton Council completed a renovation of a parade of five shops on Colliers Wood high street. The shops were in a poor state of repair, with old and unattractive signage. The shop owners approached the council for support, and contributed financially to the project. Further funding was raised through Section 106 funds and government grants. m o r d e n r e t a i l g a t e w ay In Morden, the council commissioned Jan Kattein Architects to deliver a town centre renovation project in what is known as the Morden Retail Gateway. This involved the transformation of an old bank building into an exhibition, event and performance hub, as well as improvements to almost 40 shops. The works also included conservation work at Morden Court

Parade, the art deco landmark functioning as the gateway to Morden town centre. The Morden Retail Gateway project has also been nominated for a 2018 MacEwen RIBA Journal award. wimbledon parade Merton Council is currently in the process of renovating a parade of five shops on The Broadway, across from The Piazza. Initially, the local authority improved the buildings above the shops, but now works are taking place to transform the shops themselves. A defining feature of the project is the creation of the Sound Lounge (see page 12), a not-for-profit pop-up that has taken space in one of the empty shops. The venue is a music and arts venue, which also features a vegan ethical cafe, where local residents can enjoy good food and performances by independent musicians from the local area and beyond. o

Bromley r e g e n e r atPRICES i o n aFROM n d g r o w t h i n t h e l o n d o n b o r o u g h o f m e rt o n

Issue 4 Autumn 2016

Ready for take-off


BEST KEPT SECRET! Discover enviable river views from one of these modern family homes at Azure, each benefitting from contemporary interior layouts and unique outdoor living spaces.

We could be heroes: Bowie’s musical heritage


Active aspirations

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*Terms and conditions apply. Contact us for further details. More information can be found on Computer generated image of homes at Azure. Internal image is indicative only. Prices and information correct at time of going to press. March 2017.

Creative living

Street scenes Chatham’s routes transform Creative collaboration Artistic trails Spirit of enterprise Medway success stories Naval history Marking a rich heritage

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spring 2017


Contemporary style kitchen with integrated appliances Amtico Spacia flooring and carpets fitted throughout Good transport links with A289 directly connecting to the A2 Help to Buy available on selected plots*


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Changing room: Town centre transformers

• • • •

issue eight: autumn 2013

Bromley: a housing hotspot for London

ure already in place, rbing huge investment ergy


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Investment opportunities in the London Borough of Bromley

a balance of communal areas and privacy. Through developing and managing vibrant, social places to live, we are determined that renters can find a home that is flexible enough to suit their lifestyle.


Inside: Marine and offshore, creative and digital, asset management, decision makers and game changers . . .

2 24/10/2011 11:53

The magazine for business in Reading…


Issue 2




OPPORTUNITY ENFIELD / The regeneration of Enfield

7 Spring 2017






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Reading Station Public Realm and Thames Tower, Reading

Spring 2018 Issue Nine

Going homegrown / WINNER bumper crop for artisan producers / Crafty construction / a trade to triumph / Training kick / funding facilities and sporting success WO R L D ’ S B E S T L U X U RY C O U N T RY H OT E L — 2 0 0 9 & 2010 —

Powering history

Peter Brett Associates BOLD Mag.indd 2

The regeneration of Enfield

- delivering 993 units, including 40% affordable.

Fight for rights: Feminist movement Top of the game: A question of sport ountrysidep dep

Issue 9 History and heritage Autumn 2017

Inspiring estates: Welcome homes

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- delivering 408 units, including 34% affordable.

Spring 2018 Issue Nine

We’re passionate about creating places people aspire to live, that deliver enduring value and where people feel a true sense of belonging.


To find out more about how we can help your next project, visit

READING:UK The magazine for business in Reading

PBA has been supporting development and economic growth across Reading for more than 50 years. Our innovative and forward-thinking advice maximises value for our clients and the local community. From infrastructure to land development to the built environment, our work in taking projects through planning, design and delivery across the region has transformed how people live, work and play.



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When brilliant businesses find outstanding spaces, extraordinary things happen.





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Lyon Square is a distinctive collection of high specification homes located within walking distance from the sought after area of Harrow On The Hill, North London. mins

Bolloré Logistics is a global leader in international transport and logistics. In the last 12 months Bolloré Logistics has handled over £20 billion of imports and exports from its new state-of-the-art 82,317 sq ft building at Skyline, Heathrow. As an existing customer, we worked with Bolloré Logistics to facilitate their growth and changing needs, culminating in a new facility to accommodate their business ambitions.

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town centre turning the corner

Great West Investment destination: Hounslow

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Canary Wharf via Crossrail

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Waltham Forest The Regent’s Park

King’s Cross / St Pancras International Station


Issue 7 2018

1 Plans are currently in place for residents’ gym. Travel times taken from TfL. Help to Buy is a Government-backed initiative in partnership with housebuilders. Available on selected plots, subject to status, terms and conditions. Help to Buy cannot be used in conjunction with any other scheme. It is highly advised, for a swift, smooth transaction that an IFA/Solicitor advised by Redrow Homes is used. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other Redrow offer. CGI image is indicative only. Prices correct at time of going to press. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any other debt secured on it. Check that this mortgage will meet your needs if you want to move or sell your home or you want your family to inherit it. If you are in any doubt, seek independent advice.

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Rise of the phoenix From dereliction to desired destinations: inspired uses for buildings brought back to life

Community chest Old Kent Road set for transformation, as appointed leaders set out the vision for the area

Something about Mary A milestone in plans for Elephant and Castle town centre is reached at St Mary’s Quarter

Trust in the estate A decade of help for the Aylesbury: active residents, healthier lives, ready for employment

Culinary matters Restaurants representing countries worldwide – India, via Italy to Mexico, Southwark has it all

southwark Issue 18 Winter 2017

At Mount Anvil we place great importance cultural fabric of London. We are committed to improving the public realm and delivering homes and communities across London that

capturing the imagination

ensure its legacy as a world-class city.

Discover more at or call 020 7776 1800

Derby’s regeneration magazine

wakefield’s blooming visitor economy

‘‘ ‘‘




on the preservation of heritage and the


Street wise – urban art Wish you’d built here? Round table – cle


10/02/2018 08:15







Derby’s regeneration magazine /issue number seven

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

Future Merton #3  
Future Merton #3  

Issue 3 of Merton's investment magazine examines the high quality school offering in the London borough, the regeneration of Mitcham and how...