Four more years before Merton Civic Centre revamp starts

After more than a decade in the pipeline, plans for the regeneration of Morden town centre seem to be progressing – but it could be another four years until any work actually starts.

On Monday, November 11, Merton council’s cabinet agreed to start looking for a third party developer for the scheme.

At the meeting Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for regeneration, described the current shopping offer in the town as ‘drab’.

Last September he said he was confident that work could start in 2021 but according to the latest report this has been pushed back to 2023.

The council first carried out consultation on the project in 2008.

As part of the regeneration it is expected that 2,000 new homes could be built, of which 40 per cent would be affordable.

Mr Whelton said: “We know that Morden desperately needs to be improved.

When you walk outside Morden station and see that wall of buses pumping out diesel fumes, it is not the most advertising site.

“So when you arrive in Morden you don’t tend to stick around.

“Alongside delivery of up to 200 new homes, it is essential we improve the public realm.

“We’ve got the only National Trust park (Morden Hall Park) in London which brings people to the area but the retail itself is drab.”

Much of the land in the development zone is owned by Merton council and Transport for London. But there are more than 350 different leasehold and freehold owners in Morden.

And to gather the land needed for the town centre regeneration Merton Council has successfully bid for a £54.5 grant from the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Land Fund.

Council leader, Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “We are on the cusp of setting an exemplar for suburban model design and linking a National Trust park with a great town centre.”

The procurement for a development partner is expected to open in early 2020.

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