Introduction

Merton council, along with councillors, residents and local groups have long been interested in improving the condition and attractiveness of the verges and footpath that leads uphill from Wimbledon Town Centre to Wimbledon Village, which is also a key walking route from Wimbledon railway station to the All England tennis ground and the yearly championships.

The council, in conjunction with residents and local groups is now in the process of preparing proposals for the improvement of this important and attractive route – almost a linear park. We have been working to come up with proposals and now want to widen the scope of public engagement. Indicative proposals have now been prepared and we would like your views on what is planned.

Update June 2022

Officers have been working over the past few months to progress the proposed plans into a deliverable scheme to a realistic timetable. This update outlines the timetable and also the content of the proposals.

Timetable

All works will start after the 2022 Wimbledon All England Tennis Championships. 

The main civils works will structured into five Phases as outlined below, along with the restoration of the Toynbee Drinking Fountain and tree works:

Main Works

  • Phase 1: Walls – repair and reconstructions – July to August 2022
  • Phase 2: Footways - repair & resurfacing – July to August 2022
  • Phase 3: Entry Treatments – Woodside & Belvedere Drive – August to September 2022
  • Phase 4: Crossovers – Access to private properties – October to November 2022
  • Phase 5: Landscaping – Planting on grass verges – October 2022

 

  • Toynbee Drinking Fountain – Repair and restoration – July to August 2022
  • Tree Works – Maintenance and selective removals for planting – September/October 2022
  • New Tree Planting – Succession trees for removed mature trees – March 2023

Trees

There will also be tree works undertaken to both the trees and vegetation on the grass verges as well as vegetation along the boundaries of the footpaths.

A lot of work has been undertaken assessing the condition of existing trees and vegetation. It has become clear there has not been regular maintenance and assessment of the trees on Wimbledon Hill for some while.

This means that, in order to ensure the health of the majority of trees and the safety of pedestrians, as well as allowing for the range of sought after planting that is being proposed, there will need to be a reasonable amount of tree works undertaken.

Much of this will be to facilitate the landscaping and planting and to not impede the healthy growth of the main mature trees that define the character of the street. This was generally outlined in the proposals that were consulted on earlier in the year.

This will consist of the removal of a number of smaller trees that both impede the growth and health of more important trees and would otherwise make delivery of the planting scheme significantly more limited.

There are also a limited number of significant mature trees that are either near the end of their life or are sufficiently unhealthy as to present a potential risk in the short term. These will also be removed. Where they leave sufficient gaps they will be planted with succession trees that will grow to replace them in similar stature.

This will be most apparent towards the top of the Hill where two Locust trees will be replaced by an Oak and a Hornbeam. There will also be a new planting of a ‘Jubilee Tree’ as requested by some residents, which will be further down the Hill and a Whitebeam has been chosen for this.

Due to the timing of the project and to coincide with the best planting times, the tree removal will take place in the autumn and the replacement planting will take place in the following spring 2023, so there will be a short period where there will be a noticeable gap in the tree canopy.

The removal of smaller trees will also have a visual effect of thinning the canopy, as will the general maintenance work to the remaining trees which will involve some selective thinning and branch removal for both tree health reasons and to avoid damage by high vehicles.

This will benefit the new landscaping at low level on the verges, enable the street and footway lighting to be more effective and improve visibility and a sense of security for pedestrians during the hours of darkness.

The revised overall plan, planting plan and the tree works plan are available to download below:

Consultation

We invited feedback on the documents below that outline the proposals. The consultation ran from Friday 18 February to noon Monday 14 March 2022.

Please note that a response to any feedback will not be made directly. All feedback will be considered and where possible incorporated within the proposal. The website will be updated as the proposed improvements are progressed through its various stages.

Consultation results

The response to the consultation was positive, with 116 responses.  Of these 78% supported the project proposals with 11% against; 79% supported the planting proposals with 12% against; and 73% supported the seating and bins proposals with 10% against.  92% of respondents either live or work in Wimbledon. 

A number of additional comments were made, though none that showed a particularly strong recurring theme or opinion emerging.  There was some concern about narrowing the road junctions, but these will be designed to ensure traffic can continue to flow appropriately and safely.   

Non-metal benches were preferred and bins that were unobtrusive in appearance.  The importance of sufficient seating was also noted.  A few comments were made on the planting and tree pruning that will be taken into account when finalising the planting proposals. 

The project team will now be taking on board the comments from the consultation in developing the proposals and finalising a project timetable.  Details of this will be added to this project page when completed.

Documents

Background

This document sets out the analysis and approach taken in developing the initial proposals.

Main Proposals

This document sets out the main proposals to enhance the footway and verges, showing proposed works to trees, where bins and benches go, repairs to walls and other general enhancement.

Planting – Concept and Examples

This document outlines the concept for the planting proposals for the verges, and shows examples of other schemes to indicate how the verges are planned to look.

Planting – Planting Plans

This document complements the main proposals plans and shows details of where planting is proposed to go. It should be read in conjunction with the plants list.

Planting – Plants List

This document is a list of the proposed plants and details about them, including images.

Seating and Bins

This documents shows details of a range of possible seating and bins for the footway and should be read in conjunction with the main proposals document. One design will be chosen for resting seats and one for viewing seats.

Road Entry Treatments

This document shows plans for introducing narrowed entry treatments to Woodside and Belvedere Drive. They will be the same as or very similar to those at Alwyne Road and Compton Road.

Lighting Proposals

This document shows the lighting proposals for the street and footway. Although this is a separate project, it is included for completeness as it will also enhance the street.