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So who’s got the perfect plan for our town?

When we first moved from a shared flat in Putney to Wimbledon it was a very different place.

My first impression on coming out of the station that cold January night was that Wimbledon was a rather dreary suburb, less interesting than Putney. The fast food burger bar opposite the station was the only sign of life after 6pm, apart from The Prince of Wales further up the road which looked much as it does now. Since those far off days Wimbledon has moved ahead and much has changed. The building of the shopping centre was a huge advance, as was the piazza outside Morrisons and the white office blocks on the bridge which have all contributed to a welcome change of character. The big screen during the tennis was the brilliant idea of the Love Wimbledon team which enlivens the shopping experience during the tennis fortnight.

Well, we can’t rest on our laurels. Further change is being considered. Merton Council in tandem with Love Wimbledon is planning the next seismic change in the SW19 landscape. What is planned? Well nobody knows because as Sally Warren from Love Wimbledon told me: ‘We want the change to come from the residents.’ From you, dear readers. A planning ideas competition has been organised to dig up some unconventional suggestions.

She was at pains to explain to me that all ideas and suggestions would be welcome, however loopy they might seem at the time. They can come in the form of drawings, plans, videos or poems. ‘Even from town planners and architects,’ she said with a smile. Paul McGarry, from Merton Council Regeneration said. ‘We want the new image of the town centre to be a result of what local people want rather than what town planners think they want.’ So, dear reader, get out that set of unused water colours and wilting squirrel-hair brushes, the kids’ colouring pencils and wax crayons and get designing.

‘We have to keep the vitality of Wimbledon town centre,’ said Paul, ‘because there are a lot of competitors on the horizon who could lure away our position as a successful shopping centre. We need to keep ahead of the game. What will the town centre look like in 2030?’ he asked. There are two competition categories, Rising Stars and Creative Communities, both with £2000 prize money.

The judges, including Alison Brooks, Paul Finch and Wayne Hemmingway, will announce the winning entries. The shortlisted entries will be on display in the BookFest Big Tent on Tuesday 9 October. See you there!

To enter the competitions register at Closing date: 15 September.

Tony Kane is founder of Time & Leisure Media Group