Merton Council reaffirmed last week its commitment to residents’ wishes and aspirations for the regeneration of Mitcham town centre.
The council is committed to supporting businesses and community cohesion, and to making the town centre an attractive and vibrant place where people can visit and shop. The programme to upgrade public spaces, create a safe environment, improve local shopping facilities and enhance public transport provision is well underway.
Through Mitcham Means Business the council has completed the repaving of the market square. Lavender borders are also being planted on Fair Green along with the installation of extra seating and litter bins. Safer Merton has implemented a dispersal zone in the town centre which has proved to be an effective tool in tackling anti-social behaviour. In the future, the market will move to the new square and the council, with its partners, is creating a programme of events over Christmas and into next spring.
In addition, the council is providing £50,000 capital funding for the Town Centre Improvement Grant scheme which will help individual retailers to improve their shops over the next two years. Capital funding will also enable work to take place to improve empty shops on a temporary basis with murals and displays.
Since 2004, it was envisaged that the town centre would be regenerated by a single developer on a comprehensive basis, with redevelopment of all 13 sites in the town centre. Despite the discussions with various developers over the past four years, however, no proposals that the council would be prepared to support have yet come forward. Although the council remains open to considering proposals for a comprehensive redevelopment of the town centre, it is now also interested to consider proposals for individual sites. The council will be open to any proposals that achieve the urban village for which residents are calling.
Merton Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Diane Neil Mills said: “We are continually working towards making Mitcham an attractive place in which to live and work. Initiatives such as the repaving of the market square and the planned 2009 launch of a new market, as well as the opening of Mitcham Eastfields station and the Business Generator Centre all contribute to making Mitcham a great place to live and do business. The prospect of the UK’s first Intergenerational Centre coming to the town will also bring the generations together for the good of the town’s future.
‘The regeneration of Mitcham must protect and enhance the great attributes of the town including the open green spaces and the village characteristics. These are the defining characteristics of Mitcham that, in the long-term, will ensure the town is a place in which people choose to live and invest.”
Secretary of the Mitcham Society Lucy Hedden said: ‘The people who actually live in Mitcham, who want to carry on living in Mitcham and who love the place are passionate about maximising the good things that are already here. We have a town centre which includes many historical and beautiful buildings which are worth keeping for ourselves and future generations to enjoy. There is room for old and new alongside each other. Quality design will be a major aspect in any vision and should seek to enhance the best of what is already here so Mitcham’s special character is preserved.’
Notes to editors
The latest cabinet report can be found at: http://www.merton.gov.uk/council/committee.htm?view=event&event_id=2871
The 13 sites identified for regeneration are: mixed use food retail anchor, London Road (Somerfield); mixed use Gateway, London Road & Holborn Way (242-234 London Road); large mixed use site, London Road & Holborn Way (Sibthorp Road car park); Triangular mixed use site, Commercial Way (Somerfield); White Lion PH, London Road (rear of building); community facilities building, Commercial Way & Fair Green (former Sainsbury’s building); mixed use site, Fair Green South-West side (Iceland); mixed use site, Western Road (Blockbuster & Netto); residential & parking site, Raleigh Gardens (Raleigh Gardens car park); mixed use site, Western Road (Various industrial uses); mixed use site, Fair Green south-east side (Langdale Parade & 225 London Road); New Market Square, south of White Lion PH (McDonald’s); Fair Green Extension & Enhancement, Upper Green East & West (Generally and front of nos. 29-51 Upper Green East & Community Facilities Building).
The Mitcham Society is a non-political organisation.