Merton Council and Love Wimbledon launch Wimbledon town centre ideas competition

Merton Council and Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District are launching an ideas competition to ignite debate about how Wimbledon town centre could evolve and prosper over the next 15 years. 

Following the success of last year’s futureWimbledon conference, the competition kicks off 4 July 2014. The council and Love Wimbledon want to hear ideas from community groups, residents young and old, built environment specialists and businesses in the borough, about what Wimbledon town centre could look like, what amenities it should have and what type of buildings and public spaces could be developed in future.

The council is encouraging people who wish to take part in the competition to submit their ideas in whichever format they prefer. Poems, songs and abstract sketches are just as welcome as scale plans or 3D animations. A schools competition is also planned for later in the year.

Shortlisted entries will be showcased on the futureWimbledon website in October. The competition is being run in partnership with the Design Council and New London Architecture (NLA). A-listers in the design and architectural world, including, Wayne Hemmingway, Paul Finch and Morag Myerscough, will be judging the entries this autumn.

The competition includes the following two categories:

Rising Stars: for individual urban designers, town planners, architects, landscape designers and soon to be qualified professionals in these disciplines. First prize for this category is £3,000 and the opportunity to be a design champion working for at least 18 months with Love Wimbledon and the council’s regeneration team futureMerton. A further £2,000 will be available for other entries judged to be exceptional.

Creative Communities: for individuals or groups who have something to say about Wimbledon town centre. There is no requirement for professional qualifications, just great ideas. In this category, the judges will decide which entrants will share £2,000 prize money for community projects.

Judges will be looking for innovative ideas to tackle traffic management, environmental sustainability and ways of creating a quality urban environment where people live and work. Ideas may also consider the future of high street retailing, growing the local economy, promoting inward investment and considering how Wimbledon station may evolve as a world-class transport interchange as part of the Crossrail 2 proposals. Ideas about these issues and others that are generated by the competition will be showcased in the New London Architecture galleries and will inform the vision and brief for a town centre masterplan to be commissioned by Merton Council in partnership with local business and community groups in 2015.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration Councillor Andrew judge said: “We want Wimbledon to be the best place it can be: the most vibrant and attractive town centre in outer London. This competition is a unique opportunity for everyone locally to contribute their ideas about the future shape of this place we love. We have great heritage and culture, but we also have new tech companies and innovation. Wimbledon is already on the world stage and is a successful place for business and jobs and has a vigorous community and cultural life. But no town or city can stand still. We want Wimbledon to become even better as a great place to live and work.

“There is a huge potential to be realised in terms of improvements in design and landscaping design, which is critical to sustaining a thriving 21st century town. We know that Wimbledon’s demographic is becoming younger and businesses and other organisations want to locate and grow here.  Wimbledon is the only town in the UK with rail, Underground, tram and bus connections in one place. Crossrail 2 could bring unrivalled transport connectivity, making Wimbledon 12 minutes from Tottenham Court Road and 15 minutes to Euston and HS2.  We have to ensure Wimbledon is a place that can continue to welcome investment, with new businesses and cultural facilities. Making SW19 the place of choice in London to live and work will benefit the whole of Merton.”

“There are many people in Merton who are full of creative and innovative ideas.  We want to harness them all so we can ensure Wimbledon has that bright and dynamic future in which it can play its part fully in London’s creative, technology and business success.”

Love Wimbledon manager Helen Clark Bell said: “Wimbledon is an architecturally eclectic mix of shops, offices, homes and transport. This competition allows us to build on that mix discovering new ways and ideas to help us create an exciting masterplan for the future.”

Designer Wayne Hemmingway said: “As it stands future generations are going to look back at what we have let happen  to our town centres and wonder ‘what the dickens  were that generation  thinking?’. We know we need modern town centres fit for purpose – to live, laugh , dance , eat , drink , work and shop. This is an unrivalled opportunity to get the combined brainpower of a generation of creative designers and  architects focused on the ideas which will underpin modern lifestyles . I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with “

Design Council trustee, Paul Finch said: “This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the wealth of talent and innovation in current UK architecture, to people passionate about creating town centres that communities will enjoy for years to come. I encourage practices of all sizes to think about this competition as a showcase for their urban ideas.”

All the information about the competition and judging criteria can be found at: www.futurewimbledon.co.uk

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Note to editors

The ideas competition is not a consultation and is intended to gather ideas, aspiration and vision that will set the agenda for future planning and economic growth of the town centre.

About Wimbledon

  • Wimbledon has over 600 businesses, 420 of which are Love Wimbledon BID members
  • Wimbledon provides c30,000 jobs (Merton as a whole has 7,500 businesses with 57,000 jobs)
  • Our shop vacancy rate is low, below 10% (so we have a lot of thriving shops)
  • Office vacancies are only 8%, compared to 15-20% average; highlighting demand for more quality business space in Wimbledon.
  • Wimbledon has 3 swimming pools, 2 cinemas and 2 theatres
  • There are over 5000 parking spaces in the town centre
  • Town centre footfall is increasing by 10% per year

Already a vibrant and successful town centre, Wimbledon SW19 is Merton’s international brand and benefits from being known across the world as the home of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. The town is also Merton’s economic centre containing 50% of Merton’s jobs, with a transport infrastructure, including the potential of Crossrail 2, that makes it a great place to live and do business.

About Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District

Love Wimbledon is a Business Improvement District (BID) formed in 2012 after a successful ballot of the business community. Funded by the businesses of the town centre Love Wimbledon is working to improve Wimbledon, making it an attractive, safe, well presented location of choice for businesses, visitors and residents. We do this through events, promotion, partnerships and investing in Wimbledon’s Future. The key advantage of a BID is that it provides a strong collective voice from the business community along with a guaranteed, sustainable source of income to make a real difference to an area. The businesses backing the BID support improvements to what is already the 4th most popular inner London shopping destination, by taking advantage of the opportunities for the area – the BID provides the opportunity to drive this.

Details of Love Wimbledon BID’s activities:

www.lovewimbledon.org