Regeneration project: North Cheam and Worcester Park
North Cheam and Worcester Park are getting a joint grant of £1.2m from Round Two Mayor’s Outer London Fund. This investment is helping to develop these two suburban centres, less than 1km apart, into distinct and inviting destinations. Traders associations and business networks are being set up to reinforce positive links between the two centres, and an exciting programme of markets and seasonal outdoor events is fashioning a lively, confident new identity for North Cheam and Worcester Park.
Regular markets and seasonal events are bringing new activity to North Cheam and Worcester Park. These include a monthly farmers’ market in North Cheam made up primarily of producers from within a 40 mile radius, and a regular market in Worcester Park which brings a range of food, craft and community stalls together every couple of months. Both markets are run by locally based charity EcoLocal. The programme of events in Worcester Park is complemented by occasional specialist markets, such as the French market held in Nov 2013.
Project Centre has developed an extensive programme of streetscape improvements to make Worcester Park and North Cheam more attractive. In Worcester Park 2,990sqm of new public space has been completed with new planting, upgraded pavements and signage, and a planned pocket park. Better street lighting, CCTV and loading bays have also been introduced. In North Cheam, investment will see the upgrading of planting and new mature trees at the cross roads, reconfigured parking and loading arrangements, and spill out space for shops to advertise their wares. Outline proposals for a programme of interventions along the route connecting the two centres has been developed and could be the basis of future works.
Major refurbishment of a parade of shop fronts on Central Road in Worcester Park is helping to improve the look and feel of the high street. Investment is going into 26 shop front improvements, a library sign and an art installation that transforms a flank wall into a community notice board. Further funds are available to support local traders with branding, window dressing, and light-touch shop front improvements. In North Cheam a similar approach will reveal and celebrate the 1930s suburban character of the centre. Newly created forecourts will improve the relationship between shop fronts and public space to better connect with passing customers and encourage trade to spill out.
The Outer London Fund has helped produce a programme of business support, developed in association with Sutton College of Learning for Adults (SCOLA). The first year has seen 150 people enrolling on practical courses and the direct involvement of 30 businesses. SCOLA has also introduced SHINE, the SCOLA Hub for Innovation, Networking & Entrepreneurship, which supports local enterprises from start-up onwards. SHINE has given budding entrepreneurs and local business people access to training, networking events, talks, workshops and business coaching surgeries, as well as offering hot-desking facilities and business support. SCOLA has developed a membership based business model which will enable SHINE to continue as a sustainable resource once OLF funding has ended.
Funds have been used to kick-start traders’ associations in both Worcester Park and North Cheam. These meet on a regular basis and run individual events programmes. Worcester Park Trading Association is giving visual merchandising training to members. Traders have also collaborated to develop a brand for their high street. Extensive discussions with the councillor-led project board, traders and the wider community have been vital in helping the team refine proposals so that they reflect local priorities.
Partners/client: LB Sutton
Funding: Mayor of London £1.2m, LB Sutton £730,280