Masterplan and Levy Consultation

The consultation has finished and a copy of the report can be found here:

Resources for Change masterplan and Levy Consultation Report


Last year the Draft Masterplan for the Commons was produced and we want your views on proposals for future management of our natural habitats, access and signage. We are also seeking opinions on the principle of increasing the levy, through which management of this important green space is funded.


Masterplan and Levy Consultation

Celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2021, Wimbledon and Putney Commons are among the UK’s most significant natural and heritage landscapes.  

With 1,140 acres of countryside in the heart of London, their varied, unspoilt landscape takes in woodland, heathland, grassland, lakes, ponds, streams and bogs, and their habitats are home to a diversity of wildlife. For these reasons, much of the Commons are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Whilst the Commons are exceptional for both their natural and cultural heritage, they are also invaluable as a green space for the community. The unique governance structure of the Commons has ensured the landscape remains wild and true to its natural form whilst supporting those who visit the Commons to exercise, encounter nature, and enjoy the wellbeing benefits of time spent in this beautiful outdoor setting.

The vital role played by the Commons has never been more apparent than in the last few years when the Commons became a lifeline for local communities during the lockdowns. Even before the surge in footfall that the lockdowns brought, however, it was recognised that the Commons were in need of a long-term capital investment programme in order to meet the requirements of the communities that use them.


In 2017, WPCC developed the first ever strategy for the Commons and the development of a Masterplan is intended to provide the long-term planning for this strategic framework. Funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the work was led by cultural consultancy Barker Langham, alongside landscape architecture practice MRG Studio, architecture and design practice IF_DO and historic buildings architect Barry Stow.

The Masterplan is the result of extensive research and consideration of the fragile balance needed to maintain the site for wildlife and people. The Masterplan assesses the investment requirements for both the natural and built environments of the Commons and the way in which these requirements will be met. Unfortunately, the project has suffered from delays due to both the pandemic and WPCC’s constitutional reform initiative. As such, the Masterplan has been progressed in two stages. Stage I focuses on the natural environment, encompassing both the conservation and access aspects, details of which are now being brought forward for public consultation. Stage II focuses on the built environment, progression of which is dependent on constitutional reform and as such will be developed at a later date.

Conservators support the increased focus on the natural environment that the Stage I proposals represent and recognise the investment needs in this area in part due to the impact of the pandemic but also the increasingly extreme climatic conditions.

As such, Stage I identifies a total of 21 projects that address opportunities for targeted intervention in the natural environment as well as investment requirements to improve footpaths, signage and bike racks. Total investment to deliver the projects is estimated to be approximately £4.1 million excluding professional fees, surveys, risk and inflation.

Details of the proposals for Stage I of the Masterplan may be found here.


The Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act of 1871 that established the Commons is clear in that a levy on properties that ‘primarily benefit from the establishment of the Commons’ is intended to serve as the principal means through which the Commons are to be financed. As such, the levy remains WPCC’s principal source of revenue, generating £1.26 million of £1.89 million of unrestricted revenue in 2021/22, the balance being provided by user fees, rental income, investment income and grants/donations.

Unfortunately this revenue no longer meets WPCC’s financial requirements and the long-term preventative maintenance of both the natural and built environments has suffered as a result. Financial resilience is needed to both deliver the Masterplan projects and support ongoing day to day maintenance of the Commons.

An increase in the levy is therefore deemed to be the most viable way of meeting the necessary investment and maintenance requirements. Conservators are therefore now consulting on the principle of increasing the levy in the order of £8 per year for a Band D property.

Details of the levy proposals are provided here.

Subject to the responses from this first phase consultation, a second phase consultation on a specific proposal to increase the levy that will include all 41,000 households in the levy area will be carried out.

It should be noted that despite any increase in the levy, WPCC will continue to rely on grants and donations for the delivery of major capital projects and has increased its focus on fund raising to help meet these needs.


For additional information, please do read the FAQ document which can be found here before completing the questionnaire.  


Launch of the Consultation - How to take part

To ensure independence and consistency in the consultation process, consultants Resources for Change have been engaged to conduct the consultation exercise. The consultation was launched on Sunday 25th September 2022, with the first of four on-site consultation sessions being held on Rushmere.

The next session will be held on Tuesday 1st November by the Windmill Car Park (SW19 5NQ) from 1pm.

Details of the Masterplan and levy proposals will be available for review. As part of this exercise, attendees will have the ability to ask questions and set out their views through a questionnaire. Please do come along and have your say in the future plans for the Commons. The dates of future on-site sessions will be published here and on our social media pages.

The on-site consultations are being supported by an online survey for those who would like to take part in the consultation exercise but aren’t able to attend the on-site consultations.

The survey can be accessed here

A public consultation meeting will be held as part of the General Open Meeting on 1 November.  Details here:  General Open Meeting