Work starts on new-look Putney Exchange
Published: Monday 11th March 13
Work has started on improvements to the Putney Exchange Shopping Centre, expected to boost local trade and attract more shoppers to the town.
The work will include the demolition of two empty shops, previously occupied by Thomas Cook and Millets, and the creation of a two-storey extension at the entrance of the Exchange to house a large new store for fashion retailers H&M. This is expected to open in spring 2014.
The stained glass feature at the front of the Exchange will be taken out for restoration, then returned to the centre of the new entrance.
The car park is being extended and six electric vehicle charging points will be installed in partnership with Source London. There will also be new toilets and a new baby care suite open from May 2013.
The new-look Exchange is part of a package of improvements to the town centre aimed at improving shopping, cutting congestion and reducing pollution.
As well as the new electric vehicle car charging points, the council has lobbied Transport for London to bring in new hybrid buses on Putney routes. Bus traffic has been identified as one of the main causes of the town high pollution levels. New trees have also been planted and the riverbus service to Blackfriers will increase in frequency.
The pavement and road layout around the station in the High Street is being altered to improve traffic flow, and street clutter such as railings have been removed to reduce congestion for pedestrians. Network Rail is planning to remodel the station entrance to create more space and better passenger facilities, and the council has commissioned a feasibility study into creating a new station entrance in Oxford Road .
Meanwhile a new-look post office has opened on the Upper Richmond Road with more modern facilities, longer opening hours until 7pm on weekdays and improved accessibility.
Putney is also one of the towns chosen by government housing minister Mark Prisk to join a pilot project to improve the UK 's Town Centres.
Putney will be a Town Team Partner, which means the Town Centre Partnership will be able to access a support package from the national Association of Town Centre Management, including advice from top retail experts, and a £10,000 government grant to put plans into action.
The government grant money will be held by the council, but how it is spent will be decided by the partnership. A range of possible projects are being discussed, aimed at making Putney more attractive to investors and shoppers.
The council's business spokesman Cllr James Cousins said:
"2013 will see a whole host of improvements to Putney and the new-look Exchange will be a fantastic addition to the town centre. We know times are challenging for local traders, and that pollution is a real problem, but local people can be assured we are taking real and positive steps to make their town even better."
Find out more about Putney Town Centre at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/putney.
The pictures show an artists' impression of the new-look Exchange, and the opening of the new Post Office, attended by postmistress Sangeeta Patel, Putney MP Justine Greening, council leader Ravi Govindia and local councillors.