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On the brink of a new beginning

So it’s all over.

It tends to leave me feeling a little flat while at the same time relieved that the hype is over. It’s a bit like ‘the day after the day.’ I just have to get through the New Year TV sales ads now to see normal life return.

My main problem is what to do
with all those Christmas presents that are nice but a bit superfluous to current needs. Too nice to throw away yet not useful enough to keep. I suppose they will go in the cupboard to join last year’s unwanted presents and those from the year before that - and the year before that…

What of the future? Wandsworth has a grand scheme to redevelop the Nine Elms area and the market. It will be the biggest project in Europe I am told. Promises are made that there will be all kinds of user friendly buildings and developments - a hub which Londoners can visit during the day and night for leisure and entertainment. Well, if it is anything like the rows of huge glass blocks that front the river in Battersea which are mostly devoid of human life there could be a problem.

In the autumn, Wimbledon had a conference entitled The Future of Wimbledon. There were all kinds of exciting ideas put forward; Lord Rogers made a suggestion that The Broadway should become The Ramblas of SW with its pedestrianisation. Theo Paphitis (of BBC’s Dragons’ Den) entertained every one with an outline of future and present retail shopping habits and poured scorn on the Business Rates which actually seem to destroy businesses rather than help them. For some reason the arts, which have had a successful revival locally, received a brief mention but were not held up for serious consideration as to how they might contribute to the regeneration of the Wimbledon of the future.

All in all, a successful and stimulating year with considerable hope for the future of our town centres. Let’s just keep the human touch is the plea. Hope springs eternal as my mother used to say.

Meanwhile, I have to clear up all this gift wrapping paper, vacuum the Christmas tree pine needles, find a home for the Christmas lights and attempt to close the cupboard door that is bursting with things too nice to throw away…

Happy New Year!

Tony Kane is founder of Time & Leisure Media Group and editor of the Wimbledon, Wandsworth and Putney editions of Time & Leisure Magazine.