More Wimbledon Street Advertising Is Looming

Claims that proposed new screens will block sightlines and impede pedestrians

Advertising board

Advertising screen in The Broadway in Wimbledon. Pic from @HaydonsNorth

Plans for six new, permanent, advertising screens in streets in and around Wimbledon are a step closer to reality.

Critics of the scheme to set up more advertising screens in Merton say they block sightlines, impede pedestrians and distract drivers.

But the screen planned for 173 Kingston Road, near the Merton Park tram stop, has been given "Advertising Consent" by council officers.

While full planning permission has yet to be granted for the new 'Street Hub', which would be nearly 3m (10 feet) tall and 1.2m (4 feet) in width, this moves it a step closer to reality. It would take up a patch of street that was once occupied by a tree.

It's one of a series of separate planning applications submitted to Merton Council planners for permission to install the screens on roadsides in Wimbledon town centre (see picture above), South Wimbledon, Raynes Park, Colliers Wood and Mitcham.

Applicant BT has submitted a document to the council explaining that each hub is installed at no cost to the council. They offer fast wi-fi connections for those who register via e-mail.

The council would get the use of 5% of screentime to enable them to publicise council services, as well as information such as weather and local maps.

Each hub can house monitoring for noise and traffic pollution. They also offer free UK phone calls and a 999 emergency button.

More than 400 have been installed around the UK, with some drawing attention to local drug issues through the misuse of the free phone call facility.

BT says they have worked with police and councils around the UK to help them develop a "proprietary algorithm and technical process" to automatically recognise possible misuse and block identified numbers.

But @sandra4mitcham said on Twitter: "They block sightlines, take up valuable pavement space, and distract drivers and cyclists. They have no place in the streetscape. @Merton_Council will get a new planning committee after the elections and these should all be called to it and rejected."

@HaydonsNorth said: "Not sure how these behemoth pavement blockers contribute to #HealthyStreets and #ActiveTravel tbh."

@savewimbledon added: "They’re an impediment to walking and obscure vision. All policies on healthy streets can’t be fulfilled with all this pavement furniture!"

@GrumpyoldGould claimed the existing hub pictured above on The Broadway makes a noisy hum that could disturb residents.

The hub already installed in Wimbledon town centre was listed for discussion on the agenda of Merton's planning committee on June 16. But it was at the end of the agenda and does not appear to have been discussed.

June 20, 2022