As part of a borough-wide investment programme in its town centres, Merton Council commissioned Jan Kattein Architects to deliver an ambitious town centre regeneration project at one of the key borough gateways. The project comprised 3 main components:
– a new borough-wide shopfronts design guide SPD (supplementary planning guidance)
– conversion of a disused bank premises into a creative exhibition, event and performance hub, Crown House Creative
– improvement works to nearly 40 retail premises including extensive conservation works to Morden Court Parade, an impressive art-deco building marking the gateway into Morden town centre.
Our multilateral approach was designed to bring lasting transformative change to the retail sector in Morden and across the borough, setting a very visual precedent of how sustainable change can re-invigorate town centres. In the course of the project we worked closely with retailers and restauranteurs, cultural and arts organisations, residents, neighbours and council officers, ensuring that the project’s aims and ambitions are informed by local stakeholders. Future Merton, the Council’s regeneration initiative has wide-ranging plans for the borough with a broader cultural offer, an extended leisure offer, heritage protection, town-centre regeneration and thousands of new homes. The Morden Retail Gateway project sets a precedent for a sustainable approach to urban change, valuing existing built heritage but also existing retailers, local residents, long-standing business and pioneering arts organisations.
The success lies in the careful co-ordination between individual requirements and an urban-scale vision, conservation priorities and contemporary business needs. A good balance between these apparently conflicting parameters has brought about a project that has transformed the appearance of the town centre, is helping retailers to maintain competitive in a challenging market and has sown the seeds for new, cultural and creative acivities to help shape the future of the high street.