An open ideas contest has been launched to regenerate Wimbledon town centre in south west London
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The competition – backed by Merton Council and Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District – seeks proposals for how the busy retail district and transport interchange could evolve over the next 15 years.
Ideas generated by the contest will influence the brief for a town centre masterplan which will be commissioned by the local authority next year.
Entries should consider what Wimbledon will look like in 2030 and how the area will transform and respond to changing demographics.
Merton Council councillor Andrew Judge said: ‘We want Wimbledon to be the best place it can be – the most vibrant and attractive town centre in outer London.’
He continued: ‘Wimbledon is the only town in the UK with rail, Underground, tram and bus connections in one place. Crossrail 2 could bring unrivalled transport connectivity, making Wimbledon 12 minutes from Tottenham Court Road and 15 minutes to Euston and HS2.
‘We have to ensure Wimbledon is a place that can continue to welcome investment, with new businesses and cultural facilities.’
The competition – which is being run in partnership with the Design Council and New London Architecture – is divided into two categories with one open to professionals and the other open to everyone.
Individual practices, urban designers, town planners, architects, landscape designers and soon to be qualified professionals in these disciplines are invited to compete in the ‘Rising Stars’ category.
The winner will receive £3,000 and be offered an 18-month appointment as Wimbledon’s design champion.
The ‘creative communities’ category is meanwhile open to all individuals and groups. Entrants will share share £2,000 prize money for community projects.
Submissions may be in the form of poems, songs and abstract sketches as well as scale plans or 3D animations. A schools competition is also planned.
Entries will be judged on their quality of ideas and presentation, their ‘specialness’ to Wimbledon and their ability to tackle difficult issues such as transport congestion.
The competition judges will include Wayne Hemmingway, Paul Finch, Alison Brooks and Morag Myerscough.
The winners will be announced in October and entries will feature in an exhibition at the New London Architecture galleries in central London.
The deadline for submissions is 15 September.
Visit the competition website for more information
My kind of Wimbledon would be……..interview with judge Paul Finch
- How can centres become places which will meet the needs of future generations?
‘It’s question of identity and use, which affects not just Wimbledon but town centres across the country.We need to decide what they could really be. So instead of worrying about the challenges facing our high streets, we should see opportunities to re-invent our town centres for who lives or works nearby, or who visits.’
- How has the booming digital world impacted on our towns?
‘It has redefined the idea of what communities are, and the whole idea of public and private space has been turned on its head. Younger people don’t interact with a town centre in way our parents and grandparents did – at markets, shops, cafes and community centres. We need to find a town centre model which works for them too. So the competition is a good way to start thinking about this – and specifically about what Wimbledon town centre might change and improve.
These days a new visitor to a town can use apps and augmented reality to become as knowledgeable as a local about the place’s heritage, culture and good places to eat. But there remains an enormous interest, especially among the young, for opportunities to take part in events with lots of other people – whether it is watching sport or concerts on big screens, or taking part in public debates.
‘Maybe our town centres will become busier places for human interaction – something that has happened in cities since the Greeks and Romans. The good news is that can be protected from the weather much more easily than in the past, and can take advantage of digital communication to expand the range of what is possible.’
- Who can enter this contest?
‘This competition is not just about everyday architecture or planning, but about ideas. We want people to exercise their creative juices thinking about how people live and what is special about Wimbledon which can deliver the lifestyle they require.’