The Association was founded in the early 1960’s. It was brought about by the grant of planning permission, and subsequent building, of the block of townhouses in Belvedere Drive, opposite the end of Belvedere Avenue. This was regarded locally as totally out of keeping (Apologies to the current owners!).
The leading light was Ben Prowse who lived in Alan Road and who, I believe, was the first Chairman. The Association had the same aims as it has today with an accent on planning matters but was fairly quiescent. Subsequent Chairmen included Michael Allen, also of Alan Road, Michael Cooke of Highbury Road, and Cathy Williams of Belvedere Avenue who was an efficient and proactive Chairwoman.
In about 2007 an approach was made to Merton Council by the BERA Committee to close roads in the Belvedere Estate in order to reduce traffic which had increased as a result of the effective closure of Woodside at its junction with Wimbledon Hill. This approach was not communicated to the members of BERA. However, word got around, and “all hell broke loose”! Meetings were called by the Chair at one of which blows were exchanged! This culminated in the resignation of the Chair and most of the committee. Four people were co-opted to the committee, including myself, and Piers Stansfield became Chairman. The “new” Committee resisted the proposal for road closures. Suffice it to say that Merton Council, over the following 10 years, spent the best part of £1million engaging consultants to come up with ideas for reducing traffic in the Belvederes and conducting surveys of residents which always came up with a majority in favour of leaving things as they were. Finally the Councillor responsible for traffic called a halt to this after experimental road narrowings in Belvedere Grove and Belvedere Drive were removed and no more experiments were countenanced. But watch this space!
Meanwhile a group of residents had formed “new BERA”, with the sole aim of promoting road closures to reduce traffic; the sad result was to divide the residents into two camps pro and anti closures. Some years ago I met the leader of “new BERA” to see if there could be some rapprochement. Sadly the answer was “no”.
I retired from the Committee a couple of years ago and was delighted that several new faces joined the Committee. Under Susan’s leadership BERA has had a new lease of life. Planning, parking charges, licensing etc. all get her attention and Isabel Hammond is active in communicating with members.
We are fortunate that there are people like Susan who are willing to spend their time looking after our interests.
- Roger Chadder
Character and Ambience
To help to maintain the character and ambience of this area and of Wimbledon Village having regard to its status as a Conservation Area.
To foster a sense of Community in the area.
Support Local Residents
To keep local residents informed about potential threats to the area and to help members to resist developments which they may consider undesirable.
Recent significant endeavours include...
Engaging with local Councilors, Merton and other Residents' Associations regarding local traffic. We all want a "lower" traffic neighbourhood.
Working with other Residents' Associations, local Councilors and our MP to preserve the green nature of the Wimbledon Park Golf Course land from overdevelopment by the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Monitoring planning applications for both residential and commercial property to ensure the Village remains an area of residential character with a thriving business community
Scope of BERA
Alan Road, Arthur Road (from the mini roundabouts of St. Mary’s Road to the mini roundabout with Leopold Road), Belvedere Avenue, Belvedere Drive, Belvedere Grove, Belvedere Square, Cambisgate, Church Hill, Church Road (Village End), Clement Road, Courthope Road, Currie Hill Close, Haygarth Place, High Street (non commercial residents from Belvedere Grove to Lancaster Road), High Street Mews, Highbury Road, Lancaster Avenue, Lancaster Gardens, Lancaster Place, Lancaster Road, Leopold Road (from Arthur Road to Ricards Lodge/Vineyard Hill Road), Old House Close, St. Aubyn’s Avenue, St. Mary’s Road, Walnut Tree Cottages, Wimbledon Hill Road (between Belvedere Drive and Belvedere Grove junctions).
Our Committe Members
BERA Chair, Planning & Licensing
Anneke de Boer
Treasurer & Roads Co-ordinator