Residents have highlighted what is best about living in Merton and the priorities they want the council to focus on as we emerge from the pandemic and the council plans for the future.
During the spring, the council ran Your Merton – its biggest ever conversation with people who live, work or study in the borough.
Thousands of responses were received, with more than 10,000 people visiting an interactive website to give their views on their local area, plus a series of focus groups and a borough-wide residents survey of 1,000 people, culminating in the biggest single resident engagement project in the council’s history.
Green spaces & communities are most valued by residents
The two things valued most by residents – seen across all parts of the borough – is the abundance of high-quality open spaces and parks, such as Morden Park, Mitcham Common and Wimbledon Park.
Additionally, residents felt the sense of community is a major asset in their local areas, a sentiment that has grown as a result of the pandemic and communities coming together.
Litter, traffic and parking are targets for the council to improve
Clear themes have also emerged from the biggest listening exercise in the council’s history about areas for improvement.
With more people spending more time in their local neighbourhoods, residents have expressed frustrations about issues closer to home, including traffic and street cleanliness, particularly littering and fly-tipping, which continues to be an issue in some areas. Parking charges were also a concern, as was the volume of traffic on the streets.
Ambitions for the future are better high streets & improved open spaces
When asked about their priorities for the borough, residents highlighted high streets and open spaces, reflecting changes in behaviour arising during the pandemic, especially a desire to spend more time in local neighbourhoods. Feedback shows that residents want regenerated high streets that can be community hub areas as well as shopping areas.
The Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Mark Allison, said: “I ordered the biggest conversation the council has ever held with residents because it was vital to learn how the pandemic had changed what people want, and ensure residents’ views shape the decisions the council makes about Merton’s future.
“Your Merton has shown there is so much that people love about the borough, especially our green spaces, which are among our greatest assets, and our strong community spirit and desire to look after those who need our help the most, which supported the borough through the darkest months of COVID-19.
“But I recognise that there are frustrations too. While keeping everyone safe remains my top priority, now people are spending more time locally we need a greater focus on combating the littering and fly-tipping of a minority. That’s why the council has already released £250k to begin that work, while we look at longer-term solutions.
“We also need to listen to residents’ worries about traffic and the environment, and we will be looking at ways to reduce the number of journeys made by car and tackle the climate emergency.
“People told us that, as one of London’s greenest boroughs, Merton’s parks and open spaces should be at the heart of our ambitions for the future, along with revived high streets that are thriving community hubs where people can socialise and do business.
“Turning these ambitions into reality will be a challenge, but I want to thank Merton’s residents for their feedback. We will now draw up plans to deliver the future our residents want.”
Residents can view the full results and feedback on our website: www.merton.gov.uk/yourmerton The feedback will now be analysed in detail, before the council publishes a new community plan for Wimbledon, Mitcham, Morden, Colliers Wood and Raynes Park in early 2022.