Kick in the teeth for Merton residents

Merton Council Leader Ross Garrod hit out today at the Government’s latest failure to support regeneration and homes for residents in Merton, after the Council’s bid for Levelling Up funding was rejected.

Merton’s bid for almost £20m of Levelling Up funding was to support the regeneration of Morden town centre, providing over 1,000 homes, boosting the economy, and creating a truly adaptable and sustainable town centre.

The Leader welcomed London’s eight successful Levelling Up Fund bids, but with six of them in the North-East of the capital he expressed disappointment that South London had missed out.

He also criticised the operation of the Fund, which forces vital community regeneration, housing and transport projects into competition with one another.

Councillor Ross Garrod, Leader of Merton Council said:

“This is Government kicking Merton residents in the teeth again. Merton was one of the first councils to declare a cost-of-living emergency and has found £2m to support residents through good management of its budget, yet, with inflation at over 10%, Government has ignored our request for support to truly level-up the Borough in the longer term.

“Our proposal would have regenerated Morden town centre, provided over 1,000 homes and boosted Morden’s economy, but after rejection by the Towns Fund two years ago Government has again today done nothing to create new homes and opportunities for Merton residents.

“While the decision to fund more services to Belmont station will improve access to south-west London, a new hospital will not open near Belmont before 2027 at the earliest, despite previous promises.

“I remain extremely concerned about the harm that may be caused to Merton residents as St Helier Hospital continues to be threatened with downgrading and closure of its A&E department.

“The way funding decisions for local projects are made must be overhauled. The ‘Levelling Up Fund’ actually works against levelling up communities by pitting them against each other in a fight for cash, when these decisions would be better made by local communities themselves.”