Merton Council plans to boost borough’s future economic resilience

Merton Council published a comprehensive list of potential development sites on Friday (6 January) as part of its plans to strengthen the borough’s long-term prosperity and financial resilience.

The council is calling on residents and businesses to take part in a major consultation about the sites. It wants to hear their views about the council’s proposed uses of the sites and any alternatives they may have.

To make the consultation as comprehensive as possible, the council, other public sector organisations including the NHS, the London Fire Brigade and Transport for London, as well as private businesses and landlords, have proposed areas of land and possible uses to be included in the draft Sites and Policies Development Plan Document.

Assessing all the proposed sites and their potential uses across the whole borough, as opposed to looking at sites individually, will allow the council to ensure responsible and economically-sound development for at least the next decade. This includes maintaining open green spaces as well as providing sufficient housing and amenities.

In increasingly tough economic times, the council is examining how the potential redevelopment of sites can feed into the overall regeneration of the borough and, through planning agreements, ensure new amenities are financed in a sustainable way.

Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration Councillor Andrew Judge said: “We are ambitious to achieve the best possible local quality of life. That is the reason we are taking a positive planning approach to ensure continuous renewal of many of the places people use in the borough. We have an exciting long-term vision for regeneration that will make Merton one of the most desirable places to live, to work, to shop, to invest in new business, or just to visit.

“We are a green borough of gardens and open spaces and we want to reinforce this local character. New development will be designed to preserve and enhance our public open space. We will also plan to take all necessary action to cope with climate change, including ensuring our buildings meet modern standards and that the location of community facilities, shops, offices and work places reduces the need to travel. Our vision for Merton preserves the valued character of current buildings alongside a determination to achieve the very best homes, shops, offices and facilities. Where community buildings like libraries or community centres are run-down, we will plan to refurbish, and where necessary, replace them on or near their current sites.

“The consultation with our residents and businesses leading to the final Sites and Policies Development Plan Document will allow us to be well prepared and informed to make long-term decisions on all development possibilities while considering how to maintain the services our residents need.

“Through its planning policy, Merton will always seek the best outcome for its residents and businesses. Getting residents involved in the long-term view of how the borough could look over the next decade will ensure responsible and sustainable development. This, in turn, will help Merton become more prosperous with strong diverse long-term economic growth, and make the borough’s resources more resistant to any savings which may have to be made in the future.”

The list of sites is available at http://www.merton.gov.uk/planning

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