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Public Realm Strategy


The London Borough of Merton has launched an exciting initiative to enhance the quality of its streets and spaces with the aim of developing and securing its role as a desirable and sustainable place for living and working in 21st Century London.

One of UK's foremost urban design practices, Gillespies, will lead this five month study that will involve consultation with residents, stakeholders and businesses to establish the opportunities and priorities for improvement and investment in coming years. Gillespies have designed many award-winning projects including St George's Square in Luton and Buchanan Street in Glasgow.

Merton: an environment for the 21st century

The team is keen to utilise its design expertise to ensure that Merton's commercial centres, streets and public spaces (the public realm) continue to develop as safe, attractive and vibrant places, which have a strong local character. Success in achieving these objectives will make an important contribution to increasing the borough's economy and ensuring that it is a great place to live, work, visit, shop and play.

The team believe that a key element of a liveable borough lies in the quality of the experience for residents, businesses and visitors in using the public streets and spaces. This can be, for example, the shopping or working experience we have when we park our car or arrive by public transport (or on foot or cycle), negotiate traffic, use street signage as well as the attractiveness of Merton's streets as we progress to a destination.

Merton's Public Realm Strategy will comprise of three key phases which include:

  1. A framework that sets out the vision, policy and protocols to ensure a cohesive approach for the future improvement, maintenance and management of the borough's streets and public spaces;
  2. A revised Street Design Guide that sets out the design standards for all street furniture, materials and other elements placed within the streets and public spaces to ensure that they are appropriate to the area;
  3. Individual proposals for the development and enhancement of selected places and streets in the borough.

In undertaking their commission, Gillespies, in association with the council, will carry out a critical review of the quality of the environment as it exists at present and the potential scope for improvements. The ideas generated will be shared through a series of workshops with a wide range of community and business groups which will identify an overall strategy for public realm improvements as well as some early pilot projects that could demonstrate the potential for further improvements across the borough.

The study which began in August is expected to be completed by December 2008. Updates on the progress of the project will be posted on this webpage.

Please see the project description for further information.

See Also

Contact us:

Future Merton
London Borough of Merton
12th Floor Merton Civic Centre
London Road
Morden SM4 5DX

Telephone: 020 8545 3837 or 020 8545 4141