Exciting things are happening to Mitcham. My Merton gets the latest from the council’s regeneration team FutureMerton on what’s been going on in the town centre and what’s planned in the months ahead.
Rediscovering Mitcham town centre
Everyone can expect to see major improvements to Mitcham town centre as the council’s Rediscover Mitcham project gets into full swing.
The council is investing £6 million into giving the area a boost and creating a town centre that is open, well designed and makes the most of the many good qualities Mitcham has to offer. With help from residents and businesses, the council is working on creating a town centre that will encourage economic success and attract good business to the Fair Green area. Giving Fair Green a facelift is just part of it. The council is also offering practical support to businesses and market traders, helping them to revamp their shop fronts and providing help with business plans to encourage a more vibrant local economy.
Learning from the past
Mitcham is a very historic place and there is a real sense of pride among its residents. The town centre has suffered in recent years from the volume of traffic around Fair Green, isolating the main shopping street Holborn Way as well as Fair Green.
The 70’s and 80’s answer to lessening the impact of traffic congestion on the town centre was to develop the Holborn Way bypass and to partly close London Road to traffic. But the town centre has not seen the envisaged benefits of pedestrianising the area. The busy, wide roads which surround Mitcham Fair Green do not encourage people to walk around the town – not good for the local shops and market stalls.
A better Mitcham for all
Merton Council is looking at ways of creating an environment that will attract the right balance of traffic and pedestrians, while ensuring there are spaces where people can enjoy calm and tranquillity in the vicinity of the bustling town centre.
Ashley Heller, who heads up Rediscover Mitcham, said: “We want to get Mitcham town centre right, so we’re spending a lot of time talking to residents and businesses and getting them involved in the consultation about the four design options for the Fair Green area. We had 1,500 responses to our first consultation, one of the most successful in recent times.
“Our studies show that the pedestrian crossings into the Fair Green need to be improved, and the green itself needs to be a vibrant, attractive and safe place to be. Through thoughtful design, we can achieve all this.”
What people are telling us
Those who responded to the council’s consultation are strongly in favour of revamping Fair Green, upgrading pedestrian crossings and improving paving, lighting and cycling facilities. There is also strong support for reintroducing buses only to the part of London Road which is currently pedestrianised, making it easier for shoppers who use public transport to support their local shops.
Mitcham Market – an opportunity for success
Residents want to see a successful market in their town. An expert on markets is working with the traders and looking at how they think the market could be improved. Weather protection, better quality stalls and lighting would all help towards making Mitcham Market a great shopping experience.
The council’s Ross Mitchell, who is overseeing community and business engagement for the project, says: “We want to make Mitcham the best it can be for the residents and businesses there. Our community activities and events over the past few months have been a great opportunity for us to hear what people think and see people enjoying their town centre.”
There is plenty more planned for Mitcham over the coming months including an Autumn Farmers’ Market and a special launch of the new market square at Christmas. Watch this space…
> Summer 2013:
Fair Green will be the first area
to benefit from improved design
> Early 2014- 2015:
Better road layout for Mitcham town centre
Find out more
Follow @OneMitcham on Twitter