Visions for Wimbledon, 30th April 2009

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This thread covers the Launch of Visions For Wimbledon on Thursday 30 April 2009 - 7-8.30 pm at Wimbledon Comunity Centre, St George's Road, SW19 4DP. Following a successful and lively series of meetings on the future of Wimbledon, the civic forum is producing a creative plan for Wimbledon. This will be launched with an illustrated presentation by the authors. Chaired by Stephen Hammond MP.

For information on the November 2009 meeting see here:
http://www.wimbledoncivicforum.org.uk/messageboard/urban-design-task-for...

I agree with most of the suggestions in your document. I think Wimbledon still has a unique charm, which should be preserved, but several areas could benefit from improvment, especially the train station exterior. I think the town centre should be more pedestrian friendly, with more trees and better quality new developments. Limiting the height of these is a good idea. The bus stop areas outside Centre Court and the station are far too crowded. I'm not sure whether a new north access to the station or new bridge across the railway would help this. I like the idea of removing unnecessary street clutter, but think lamp-posts are fine if they are well designed, as per the old fashioned types. Cycling should be encouraged, although I think the parking is OK at present and cycle lanes are not worth the trouble. More care should be taken with speed bumps and chicanes to accommodate cyclists. We must discourage cars wherever possible, as traffic will simply increase year on year to outgrow the provisions. So, I would not favour increased parking or extending the town centre boundary. Similarly, I think we must avoid encouraging further population growth, as London is already over-populated and further growth with have an adverse affect on everyone's quality of life. So, I would not be in favour of increasing the local housing stock, although I would favour replacing the stock with low cost affordable housing, tastefully designed of course. I would take a harder line with antisocial behaviour, particularly that caused by alcohol excess and the soulless town centre bars that have late licences. The late night food establishments often encourage the antisocial behaviour because the drunks will stay on the streets for longer, causing noise, vandalism and litter. I agree that Wimbledon should not become just another homogenised shopping centre, so perhaps it would be best to avoid increasing the shop sizes, eg, in Centre Court. It would be better to encourage smaller, independent shops, cafes, etc. I'm not sure we would benefit from a civic facility - are the exisitng venues well utliised? Does the theatre and council offices provide adequate opprtunities for local events? I'm also not sure what a "civic presence" means or whether it would add anything. I do like the idea of local artwork, however, if this can be done fairly and tastefully. I'm also in favour of the ideas for water management and energy creation. Mike Pollard

I welcome the report Vision for Wimbledon and this along with the Going for Gold report from the Chamber of Commerce, provide valuable contributions to shaping the future of Wimbledon As mentioned at the presentation evening, the glue for much what is desired is the need to develop the cultural heart of the area. We have a unique blend of providers, facilities, spaces which enable Wimbledon to create a distinct image/offer from other neighbouring districts. Wimbledon cannot compete on the bases of shopping and eating alone. What it can offer and thus shape the future development and flavour of the town is a mixed offer, centred on the cultural offer (theatres, cinemas, leisure, festivals, community/faith facilities) which will attract people from a wider field to come to the area. An example of this is the potential of the southern end of Wimbledon to create a music district (niche providers such as Surrey strings, Watershed, YMCA JIYC, Cherry pie and other performance spaces) where local musicians can rehearse and perform. By creating new economies we can only improve the sustainability of the area. Another key area is diversifying the evening economy away from pub/club feel. Planning for new community facilities providing family friendly programmes in the evening will help with changing the feel of the area and attract new customers. We at the YMCA are committed to redeveloping our facilities and ensure that we have a vibrant mix of programmes running throughout the evening. Any new civic facility developed in the town centre needs to be flexible and complement what is already available. Other observations of the report include the need to address the council’s aspirations of bridging the gap between the east and west of the borough. In particular the need to develop affordable housing in Wimbledon. By providing a greater mix of tenure we believe is of benefit to the town not only in creating a more dynamic Wimbledon but also meets significant social needs of our communities. The two reports critically need to be able to address the needs of young people. Positive activities for young people (things that young people want to do at a price they can afford and locations they can get to and from) will only strengthen the mixed economy of the area and also meet needs of young people. The creating of a music district is a good example of meeting need. Collectively we need to make better effort at consulting with young people. YMCA Wimbledon sees itself as a valuable resource to the local residential and business community of Wimbledon. We have been based in Wimbledon for over 145years and are committed to retaining our presence in the area in the future. We ourselves provide a unique offer of housing, sports, health exercise and fitness programmes, childcare activities, conferencing and café/restaurant and youth work. We are committed undertake the redevelopment or sale and re-provision in Wimbledon of our facilities and services and are well positioned and experienced in making a significant contribution to improving the quality of lives of people across the community of Wimbledon and Merton. Andy Redfearn.

The issues raised in the Report split into two categories: - detailed changes to streetscape, design of surfaces, lighting etc. These can be seen as cosmetic, but could actually transform the feel of the Town Centre. All that these would require is someone with a holistic vision (LB Merton Design Champion for Wimbledon is John Hill, Head of Planning). and funding. Implementation could proceed swiftly, without prejudicing the LDF - issues affecting the main through road (Wim Hill Rd/Broadway). The aim would be to increase pedestrian quality/safety. This would mean involving Merton Highways engineers, and also TfL. Whatever the improvements to quality, the quantity of traffic on the A219 (Wimbledon Hill and the Broadway) must be maintained. Don't let achievable improvements be held up by aspirations to 'solve' the traffic problem.

Wimbledon Station Forecourt – LB Merton gave a presentation on their plans for redesigning this in time for the 2012 Olympics. Their presentation is attached as a PDF. We will be holding a public meeting probably Autumn 2009 to encourage participation and comment.

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