April 20th – WVBA meet with Cllr Alambritis
This town hall meeting was an important step in addressing the commercial challenges of trading in Wimbledon Village.
WVBA & Merton Council Meeting notes
Meeting of the WVBA and Merton Council meeting held on 20th April @ Village Hall
Present: Councillor Alambritis (CA), Adrian Mills (AM), Stephen Hammond MP, 40 representatives from WVBA members and affiliates.
1.0 Introduction (AM)
Introducing CA and thanking CA for attending. AM gives a short overview of why there is a need for this meeting with 33 business having left in last 2 years based on;
- High Rents
- High Rates
- Restricted Parking
2.0 Questions from the audience (AM) and answers by Cllr Alambritis (CA)
Is there a negative perception of Wimbledon Village at Merton Council?
- No animosity. The whole borough is treated the same.
- Parking chargers do not go to Merton Council. Across England, Parking meters & fines generate £9million of which £8 million funds the Freedom Pass and £1million towards road maintenance.
- Council is very concerned with current 11 empty retail spaces.
Could we look at a car park under Wimbledon Common as per Hyde Park.
- Merton Council will entertain the idea and CA brought along the Hyde Park proposals from the 1970’s as an example. There is a huge cost element and CA happy to discuss further with WVBA.
How often are the streets cleaned?
- Currently Merton Council experiencing capacity issues with 40% budget cuts. There is now a new cleaning contract in place and the Council hope to see an improvement across the borough.
Saturday Parking is draconian with not parking between rush-hours times (7-10 and 4-7 ) on the High Street which is not relevant on a Saturday, can they be removed?
- TFL responsible for parking restrictions along major bus routes. Merton Council & WVBA will need to consult with TFL.
- Looking for devolutions of power down to local authority in the future to avoid consultation with TFL.
Can we extend Parking from 1-2 or 3 hours? Could this be done when up-grading machines to take new £1?
- Merton Council will consider this which will involve a consultation with Merton’s Head of Parking.
Can we extend free parking to 30mins?
- This is a cost of £75k in lost revenue. Will need to see where this gap can be made-up.
- 9 of the 33 free Merton Parking zones are in Wimbledon Village.
Can we relocate the electric car charging bays as we never see them used?
- Electric bays in line with Mayor of London scheme
- 300 electric bays in Merton
- Will look into having them moved to a less pinnacle place
Footfall dropped since parking meters introduced on the Causeway. Can it be reduced?
- Merton Council will look into this and the markings on the road.
The current system of basing rents on rentable value is unfair as businesses do not grow at the speed of house inflation. What can be done about this?
- Windows increase rentable value if you can see inside, hence many shops spray images on windows to reduce visibility.
- Rates set by central gov and currently local govt, have no powers. In 2020, local authority hoping to have more power
- Currently WV is the only area in Merton excluded form discounts or concessions
- Council will consider extending discount and hardship relief to the Village
The petition to reduce the speed to 20mph has critical mass, what are the next steps?
- WVBA need to meet with a Council Member to progress this.
3.0 Suggestions from the audience
- Some streets behind the High Street are quite and could look to see if extra parking bays could be created to counter the revenue lost with extending free parking.
- The narrowing of the street from the Rose and Crown to Dog & Fox which could:
- Create more parking diagonally
- Slow down cars
4.0 Next steps;
AD to meet with CA to meet to progress the following;
- Remove Saturday restrictions of 7-10 and 4-7 on the High Street.
- Start consultation with Merton Parking dptm to increase parking from 1-2hrs possible 3hrs and 30mins free parking.
- Identify areas where extra parking could be created to help negate the £75k loss of rev from extending free parking.
- Re-look at Causeway/ Camp Road parking
- Look at electric bays and if they can be removed or possibility or sharing with the taxi rank as they’re so infrequent and power is close.
- Look at shared use of resident’s bays
- Narrowing road between Hamptons and Dog and Fox.
- Discounts/ hardship relief schemes
- Look into next steps for 20 mph.
5.0 An up-date on the above will be on June 28th – WVBA Networking event
Images are courtesy of Karine Torr from Darling Magazine
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