Business Improvement Plans For Wimbledon

New district vision will improve the town

Detailed plans are now underway to make Wimbledon Town Centre a Business Improvement District (BID) by April 2012.

It would mean town centre businesses paying a mandatory levy on their business rates, creating a £400,000 annual income towards the BID's activities.

Diana Sterck, Chief Executive of Merton Chamber of Commerce, set out the benefits of a BID for the town centre at a recent business forum, including:

  • Guaranteed income for town centre to plan and implement positive change.
  • Provides a strong and cohesive voice for business in Wimbledon to lobby for change.
  • Opportunity to build on the existing work of Town Centre Management.

With BIDs already established in Kingston and Croydon, with another one forthcoming in Sutton, the Wimbledon Town Centre Management Board decided that Wimbledon must forge ahead with its own plans.

In assessing their vision for the town centre, businesses have been asked to review crime and safety, issues such as cleanliness and waste management, how pleasant the town centre should be in relation to open spaces and greenery along with promotional activity.

In the first session top areas for consideration were anti-social behaviour in the late evening, marketing and promotional activity and improving the look and feel of the town centre by creating more open spaces and seating areas. Further survey work through visits to local businesses and retailers and other group meetings will take place over the next few months.

Diana Sterck (left) said: "Activity in Wimbledon Town Centre is supported by a number of businesses to the tune of around £120,000 pa. With every business paying in, through a mandatory levy on the business rates, we anticipate an income of around £400,000 pa. This would provide a major opportunity for Wimbledon to build on its strengths to develop its reputation as a shopping, entertainment and leisure destination."

David James, Managing Director of Elys, is a core supporter of the BID, and said: "Our experience of BIDs in other town centres is that they add value and contribute significantly in creating an environment that businesses in the area can thrive in so I am very excited about Wimbledon’s prospects!"

The anticipated area is marked out below, covering around 550 businesses.

March 14, 2011