Merton Chamber of Commerce represents 7500 businesses in the London Borough of Merton and has undertaken extensive consultation with local businesses in the areas that will be affected by the construction of Crossrail 2. We have worked closely with London Borough of Merton and Love Wimbledon and other organisations representing business during the consultation and our reply represents the views we have received from businesses in Wimbledon, Weir Road Industrial Area, Raynes Park and other areas that will be affected by Crossrail 2.
Over the last four weeks we have undertaken a survey with businesses and received 98 responses (click here to read a summary of survey findings). I have attached a summary of the findings. 53% of those surveyed said that if phasing and minimising the impact on business is managed well, Crossrail 2 will ultimately be good for Wimbledon. The key concerns from the Merton business community are:
• 75% of respondents were concerned about the impact on their local town centre
• 71% of respondents were concerned about the impact on traffic and congestion
• 52% of respondents were concerned about the closing of shops
Merton Chamber of Commerce believes Crossrail 2, in the long term, will have a positive economic impact in the London Borough of Merton. However there are three key considerations from now until its completion that we believe are fundamental to its implementation and the long term economic success of Merton borough:
(1) Keeping the borough working and open for business – with 7 to 10 years of upheaval, phasing of works to clear timeframes is essential.
We would also ask that detailed economic impact assessments, traffic and road management plans are drawn up and shared as soon as possible.
(2) Maintaining the number of businesses and jobs in the borough from now until completion – we estimate that between 3000 to 5000 jobs
(3) could be lost during the Crossrail 2 construction period, with Wimbledon town centre and Weir Road Industrial Estate being key localities where
the impact would be felt most. This would result in a negative impact on business rates income for the local authority, non achievement of town
centre and borough-wide growth objectives and could result in losing key employers and jobs. Housing should not replace employment land
and commercial buildings. The consequence is that the borough may never recover from this negative economic policy.
(4) Ensuring that Crossrail 2 design and build is complementary to and integrated with the Wimbledon Masterplan currently being developed by
London Borough of Merton in association with local stakeholders such as the Chamber of Commerce and Love Wimbledon.
As well as these 3 considerations we would also ask:
– that the plans for tunnelling be revisited to achieve a more realistic solution for the borough that supports the achievement of the 3 points above
– that the plans for Weir Road depot and stabling are revisited, taking into consideration current land values and the protection of that area as employment land
– that consultation and sharing of plans continue in order to reduce uncertainty and minimise blight
The Merton community is extremely well connected, knowledgeable and articulate. Working closely with the Council and key stakeholders, who provide an additional communication route to their stakeholders, will be paramount for Crossrail 2 in its success, in overcoming barriers and minimising blight.
Merton Chamber of Commerce
Other responses from Merton Council and Love Wimbledon
Crossrail 2 is set to be a huge project which will have a significant impact on Wimbledon town centre. In the long-term, Crossrail 2 will bring opportunities to the area. We are a pro-growth borough and want the best for Merton.
All parties at Merton Council support Crossrail 2 in principle, but not at any cost. The council has a duty to represent current businesses and residents of the borough and has significant reservations about the proposals. As they stand at the moment, they will cause an unacceptable level of upheaval and disruption for businesses and residents. The council recognises its duty to represent the people living and working in Merton. The welfare and interests of those who would be directly affected by the works and the eventual development will continue to be its priority.
Love Wimbledon is the Business Improvement District for the town centre and we represent 430 businesses and over 15,000 employees and growing. With over 60% of Merton’s employment in Wimbledon Town Centre, it is a crucial commercial and economic centre not only for the borough but for the wider area.
Love Wimbledon BID support Crossrail 2 coming to Wimbledon but it must not be delivered at the expense of the economic wellbeing of the town. Wimbledon already has excellent transport links which provide the means of us attracting skilled employees from much of London. There is pent up demand for commercial space in Wimbledon with many existing businesses looking to expand and many others outside the area currently looking at locating here if a suitable site becomes available.