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Mitcham regeneration - frequently asked questions

Mitcham Carnival

Making the right decisions for Mitcham’s future is a priority for Merton Council. The council is ensuring that the decision on how to progress the regeneration of Mitcham is absolutely right and in line with residents’ aspirations and expectations, as any decision we take now will affect the town’s long-term future.

We are working in partnership with organisations including the London Development Agency (LDA), Transport for London (TfL), Merton Partnership, local businesses, voluntary groups, landowners and residents to develop a strategy to revitalise Mitcham town centre. We want our partners and organisations to come up with an action plan that is going to meet the needs of residents and businesses and move the development of Mitcham forward.

We want to ensure that businesses' and residents’ views are taken into account. Any plans for the future development of Mitcham will therefore take into account the feedback from businesses and residents in the 2004 consultation and subsequent discussions at various local meetings. Any planning proposals will also be subject to further public consultation, as is the norm.

Below are some questions and answers that we hope will help you understand the regeneration of Mitcham and how it will progress.

  1. How can we make the most of what Mitcham currently has to offer?
  2. What are the current plans for Mitcham?
  3. What progress has been made so far
  4. Creating a safe environment is important to the regeneration of a town. What is the council doing to improve safety in Mitcham?
  5. What is a dispersal zone?
  6. Part of any regeneration must include working with local businesses. What is Merton Council doing to support local enterprise?
  7. What other improvements has the council done to push forward the regeneration of Mitcham town centre?
  8. Good transport provision is vital to a town’s regeneration. What is the council doing about improving public transport in Mitcham?
  9. Will residents have the opportunity to raise their concerns about any future development in Mitcham?
  10. Is the council working with other organisations on the development plans?
  11. Are there plans for the wholesale redevelopment of Mitcham or will redevelopment happen gradually?
  12. Will there be a tendering process for any redevelopment work in Mitcham?
  13. Who owns the land in Mitcham?
  14. What is an option?
  15. How does the current economic situation affect plans for Mitcham?

Mitcham Common dog walker

1. How can we make the most of what Mitcham currently has to offer?

One of Mitcham’s main assets, which is still not fully utilised, is its market square. The council wants to maximise its potential and make the rest of Mitcham as attractive and appealing for shoppers and businesses. Mitcham also has historic pubs, a recently renovated Grade II listed clock tower and the borough’s only Grade I listed building, Eagle House (London Road).

Dragon's Den contestant and entrepreneur, Rachel Lowe formally opened the relocated Mitcham market on Thursday 5 March 2009. The new Market Square has been created in response to residents’ requests for such a public space and a programme of work is in hand to further improve this historic site. Lavender pots have been planted on Fair Green to reflect historical Mitcham along with the installation of extra seating and litter bins. The Clock Tower has also been refurbished and the four clock faces can now be illuminated at night.

2. What are the current plans for Mitcham?

The plans for the town centre come in two parts:

  • Supporting business success and encouraging greater community cohesion
  • Enhancing the buildings and layout of the town.

The council is committed to providing for businesses and the local community and to making the town centre as an attractive and vibrant a place as possible where people can visit and shop. The programme to upgrade public spaces, create a safe environment, improve local shopping facilities and enhance pedestrian access and public transport is well underway.

3. What progress has been made so far?

Upgrading public spaces (the public realm): In consultation with the Mitcham Society, the council identified four entry points (gateways) into Mitcham. Signs have now been installed welcoming people into the area, helping to create a sense of place. The gateways are located at:

  • Figges Marsh roundabout
  • Three Piece Pond roundabout
  • Vestry Hall intersection
  • Market Square entrance

Market: Dragon's Den contestant and entrepreneur, Rachel Lowe formally opened the relocated Mitcham market on Thursday 5 March 2009.

Improving local shopping and other facilities: The council is providing £50,000 capital funding for the Town Centre Improvement Grant scheme which will help individual retailers to improve their shops over the next two years. Some contribution from the shop owners will be required. Capital funding provision will also enable work to take place to improve empty shops on a temporary basis with murals and displays.

The council is also looking at the possibility of providing access to public toilet facilities in partnership with existing shops and pubs.

4. Creating a safe environment is important to the regeneration of a town. What is the council doing to improve safety in Mitcham?

The council has installed good CCTV coverage and is working with Safer Merton to ensure that Police Community Support Officers and street wardens regularly patrol the area.

Safer Merton has implemented a dispersal zone in the town centre, which has proved to be an effective tool in tackling anti-social behaviour.

5. What is a dispersal zone?

The police can direct individuals to leave a particular area which has been designated a dispersal zone. The zone could be as small as a cash point or shopping arcade where groups often gather, or it could be as large as a London borough, as long as there is evidence of anti-social behaviour. Merton Council must also agree on the dispersal area.

6. Part of any regeneration must include working with local businesses. What is Merton Council doing to support local enterprise?

Merton Means Business, formerly Mitcham Means Business, aims to develop and market the business community and enhance the skills and experience of the local labour force.

We are based at the Generator Business Centre Office at 95 Miles Road, Mitcham.

7. What other improvements has the council done to help push forward the regeneration of Mitcham town centre?

  • Public Realm: De-cluttering of street furniture, gum removal and painting light columns
  • Mitcham Gateways: Quality signage at the entry points to the town centre
  • Town Centre Grants: Grants for shop-front enhancements
  • Empty shop-fronts: Murals and displays to improve appearance of vacant shops
  • Public Toilets: Community public toilet scheme
  • Management: Continuing Town Centre Manager
  • Market Stalls: Refurbished market square and investigating new purpose-designed market stalls with storage
  • Lavender: Relocation, refurbishment and replanting of lavender pots
  • Business Support: Merton Chamber until 2009
  • Home Zone: Laburnum Estate Home Zone play area improvements
  • Signage: Legible London style signage on Fair Green
  • Regeneration: Development of longer-term regeneration of town centre

8. Good transport provision is vital to a town’s regeneration. What is the council doing about improving public transport in Mitcham?

The opening of Mitcham Eastfields station was a major milestone in the regeneration of Mitcham. A programme of improvements to the roads and pavements in the area around the station is is now complete. As part of this programme of works, clearer road signs were installed in April 2008 and pedestrian improvements around the station were made between April and July 2008.

The council part funded the Laburnum Road Homezone and improvements to St Marks Road. Funding from the council amounts to £260,000 for 2008/09 and £200,000 for 2009/10 and 2010/11. Contributions have also been secured from TfL.

Over the next six to 10 years the council would like to encourage its partners to develop a series of improvements for the road and pavement network. The council would also like to consider reverting from the one-way system into a two-way road system. Any development like this will only be possible if sufficient external funding is available to the council and if there were no serious objections to any proposals arising from a thorough consultation process.

9. Is the council working with other organisations on the development plans?

Merton Council is working in partnership with organisations including the London Development Agency (LDA), Transport for London (TfL), Merton Partnership, local businesses, voluntary groups, landowners and residents to develop a strategy to revitalise Mitcham town centre.

Merton Council is keen to work in partnership with all the organisations involved in the regeneration of Mitcham to come up with an action plan that is going to meet the needs of residents and businesses and move the development of Mitcham forward.

10. .Are there plans for the wholesale redevelopment of Mitcham or will redevelopment happen gradually?

We recognise that people want to live and work in a place that retains an individual character that is Mitcham. The town has a lot of history and this should not be concreted over, but celebrated in the town’s regeneration.

To ensure the town evolves there are two ways of progressing the regeneration of Mitcham town centre:

  • Develop it on a site-by-site basis.
  • Develop the town using one overall comprehensive plan.

For a potential site-by-site redevelopment 13 sites have been identified for regeneration. These are:

  1. Mixed use food retail anchor, London Road (Somerfield);
  2. Mixed use Gateway, London Road and Holborn Way (242-234 London Road);
  3. Large mixed use site, London Road and Holborn Way (Sibthorp Road car park);
  4. Triangular mixed use site, Majestic Way (Somerfield);
  5. White Lion PH, London Road (rear of building);
  6. Community facilities building, Majestic Way and Fair Green (former Sainsbury’s building);
  7. Mixed use site, Fair Green South-West side (Iceland);
  8. Mixed use site, Western Road (Blockbuster and Netto);
  9. Residential and parking site, Raleigh Gardens (Raleigh Gardens car park);
  10. Mixed use site, Western Road (Various industrial uses);
  11. Mixed use site, Fair Green south-east side (Langdale Parade and 225 London Road);
  12. New Market Square, south of White Lion PH (McDonald’s);
  13. Fair Green Extension and Enhancement, Upper Green East and West

11. Will there be a tendering process for any redevelopment work in Mitcham?

An open and fair competitive tendering process will be part of the overall regeneration project if the council needs to select a development partner or partners, which is required by law. No development partners have been selected to date and the council has not received any formal proposals from any developer as yet. The council is in discussion with a number of landowners and hopes this pro-active initiative will lead to further possible partners coming forward. It must however be recognised that any ambitions for a comprehensive regeneration approach to Mitcham must be taken in the context of the current economic climate.

The overall objective of the council remains to deliver a regeneration of the town, which the people and businesses of Mitcham can be proud of and is in line with their views and opinions expressed to date.

12. Who owns the land in Mitcham?

The council owns very little of the land in Mitcham (Sibthorp Road carpark, Elm Park nursery and Raleigh Gardens), which reduces its power to influence the regeneration of the town.

The largest site is owned by Asda - the freeholder and landlord of the Somerfield store - (Somerfield is its tenant) has expressed its continued commitment to Mitcham and the regeneration of the town centre. It is also keen to involve residents in any of its future proposals for a food store in the town. The company is keen to work with other landowners to come up with the best possible solution for Mitcham regeneration. Before making a planning application they are also keen to consult with the people of Mitcham about their wishes and aspirations.

The second largest site is owned by Stenham Group, a property fund manager.

Developer Metropolitan and Suburban (MSL) owns a number of options to buy a number of freehold and leasehold properties in the town centre.

13. What is an option?

An option is where a company or person offers to buy a property for an agreed sum or percentage of the current market rate. The offer lasts for a fixed period of time, after which it has to be renewed if the option is to remain open. The owner of the property is still able to sell their property, but if they do, the option is sold on with the property too.

14. How does the current economic situation affect plans for Mitcham?

We are all having to deal with a slump in the property market as well as a broader economic downturn. This kind of economic situation makes life difficult for everyone involved in the regeneration process – existing and potential businesses, home owners who may have been interested in moving to the town centre and banks and investors whose money is needed to fund the regeneration process, builders, planners and architects. Working with these partners, the council also has to deal with these conditions.

The current economic slow down is an opportunity for the council and its partners to develop a clear strategy for Mitcham so when the economy starts to recover it is ready to provide an action plan clearly setting out responsibilities and a realistic timeline.

Contact us

Mitcham Regeneration
Future Merton Team
Merton Civic Centre
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX

Telephone: 020 8545 3837 or 020 8545 4141
Fax: 020 8545 4160
Email: future.merton@merton.gov.uk

This page was last updated on Thursday 18 December 2014

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