The project will assess the health of each of the five borough town centres – Putney, Wandsworth, Clapham Junction, Balham and Tooting. It will then draw up a vision, identity and strategy for each town centre.
The project is expected to continue through the summer with a final report due in September.
The town centres all have active Town Centre Partnerships and some activity. In Wandsworth a £40m redevelopment scheme is currently being carried out at Southside (pictured).
Putney has been named a Town Team Partner, which will attract a package of support, including a government grant and is getting road and pavement improvements and a station upgrade. The Putney Exchange is also being enlarged and improved.
Clapham Junction has had extensive road and pavement improvements, including a new diagonal crossing, to make it more attractive to pedestrians, and a half price parking scheme is being piloted in Tooting
Wandsworth Council and The Balham Partnership secured £1.9million from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund programme and match funding to improve and promote the town centre.
The council’s business spokesman, Cllr James Cousins, said: “The UK’s town centres are facing unprecedented challenges: an increasingly competitive business environment and changing shopping habits mean their future likely lies with a model that is quite different from what exists today.
“Our town centres are important places to shop and do business, but they also have a crucial role as defining and acting as centres of their local community. Ensuring the balance of both will be critical to their future.”