Eight storey office block and supermarket to be built on Worple Road
CGI of the planned 8-storey block of offices in Worple Road. Picture: Lidl GB.
August 19, 2022
Lidl has been given the green light to knock down an “eyesore” building in Wimbledon town centre and replace it with a new office block and supermarket. But residents fear the development will overlook their gardens and make their homes “darker and gloomier”.
The current office block on the site was built in the 1980s and was home to Lidl’s head office. The company moved to a new headquarters in Tolworth in January 2022.
The plans for 19 Worple Road were approved unanimously by Merton Council’s planning committee on Thursday night (18 August). The planned eight-storey office block received around 40 objections, including from The Wimbledon Society and other local residents’ associations.
The current block provides 68 spaces for cars but all car parking will be removed in the new scheme. Instead there will be more than 100 bicycle parking spaces, mostly in the basement.
Despite supporting the plans, Edward Foley from the Merton Park Independent Residents’ Association, said it was a shame there was no underground parking provided for blue badge holders.
Olu Johnson, property director for Lidl GB, told the committee: “The existing building is 50 years old and was the Lidl office for 20 years. Having worked there myself I can confidently say that the building is no longer fit for purpose.
“Our proposals will give Wimbledon town centre a boost by providing grade A office space and a new Lidl store offering customers more choice.” He said the new building would be more sustainable and the shop would provide around 40 new jobs.
Daniel Wade from the Wimbledon Central Residents’ Association said locals are concerned that their rooms would become “darker and gloomier” as their homes would lose light from the building. In an objection letter The Wimbledon Society said the office block would “overlook” homes and gardens in the area, adding: “The feeling of being overlooked would be most intrusive.”
At the meeting, Labour councillor Martin Whelton, said, “I think this scheme would add significantly to Wimbledon town centre. the current building there is an eyesore, in my opinion. It is not energy efficient, and it’s not fit for purpose.”
Fellow Labour member, Councillor Michael Butcher, said, “Wimbledon has become a hotspot for office space. I think by approving this application we would be sending the right message that Wimbledon, and the borough, is open for business.”
Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter