Council announces post-pandemic plan after biggest-ever consultation with residents

Merton Council has announced a new long-term plan for the borough in response to its’ biggest-ever engagement with residents.

#Merton2030 will set the council’s key priorities, commitments and service improvements for the next eight years, and includes major commitments to housing, regeneration, keeping the borough clean and improving high streets, among other areas.

The plan is the result of Your Merton, which ran this summer as a borough-wide engagement to get people’s views on future priorities and how the pandemic has impacted their ambitions for the coming years.

More than 10,000 people engaged with the consultation, and more than 5,000 views were given. Resident feedback highlighted local communities and the borough’s open spaces as the things they value most about Merton, with transport and street cleanliness both priorities for improvement.

Looking to the future, people said they plan to spend more time living and working locally, and want to see a focus on regeneration of local high streets into places to socialise and spent more time, as well as more affordable homes.

The survey also took account of people’s priorities as a result of the pandemic, highlighting a disproportionate impact in the east of the borough, as well as impacts on young people across Merton who had their learning disrupted.

The 2030 plan sets out the initial steps the council is taking in response to the feedback, as well as setting longer-term themes for improvement.

Residents said they wanted high streets to be more community-focussed places, where they can spend time with friends and family. To help support this, he council will be investing into improvements across the borough such as more parklets (pavement areas for dining or other activity) which have been successful in Wimbledon, and recruit a dedicated Manager to help grow Mitcham Market.

The Morden Town Centre regeneration plan will be progressed as a priority after funding issues led to delays, including new homes, and the council will ensure the completion of the regeneration at Eastfields and High Path.

There is also a commitment to engaging with residents around waste & recycling issues, as well as an immediate investment of £650,000 into street cleaning & enforcement of fly-tippers.

The council will launch and promote apps for both reporting issues (Fix My Street) and to help connect residents to local businesses and companies, and will also plant thousands of trees across the borough to improve canopy cover.

In addition, to help to bridge the equality gap between the East & West of the borough it will deliver initiatives like The Workery, which offers free workspace to those who need it such as freelancers or business start-ups. Merton’s Health on the High Street programme will also be expanded, offering on-the-spot health and wellbeing advice to residents.

The full list of improvements can be found online at www.merton.gov.uk/yourmerton, and more details will be released over coming weeks.

Council Leader Mark Allison said: “Our ambition is for Merton to be a place residents are proud to call home, where their views are heard, and where people have equal access to skills, opportunities and support if they need it. Merton2030 is our initial roadmap to deliver that.

“The pandemic has had a lasting impact on many residents’ priorities, as well as their plans for the future.  That included things like better high streets locally with a wider range of things to do, cleaner streets and a renewed focus on making the most of local spaces and parks.

“We also want to ensure we have listened to those most disproportionately impacted by the virus, especially the elderly and vulnerable and those in the East of the borough.

“Merton2030 sets out a clear path towards listening to what people have told us, and delivering the things that will create the sort of place they want to live and work.”

You can read the plan at www.merton.gov.uk/merton2030

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