top of page

About the Project

How it Started

The initiative behind the project has come from the dedication of local people who want to see positive change in the area. Local residents Martin Miranda Antelo and Toby Podger-Taylor have been leading this drive, workshopping and developing the idea with Merton Council and local stakeholders over the past year. They successfully applied for funding from the Mayor’s Office as part of the Good Growth Fund, to carry out  a detailed research study exploring the potential of the former bus stop toilet block site and the possibilities for its future use.

What is the purpose of this work?

The design team, led by Okra, has been commissioned by Merton Council to work alongside the existing project team and carry out a study of the former bus stop toilets building and the site around. The main aim is to understand the options for how to creatively bring this unloved space back to life as something which will contribute positively to the community of Pollards Hill. This future use should be driven by the priorities, needs and aspirations of local people. The ambition of the work is to find a sustainable use for the space and develop a well designed, community focused project which can hopefully be implemented in the near future.

Project Timeline

Phase 1 - Spring 2021

Community Engagement & Local Research

At the start we will first explore the local area and research what local people need by speaking to as many residents of all ages and backgrounds as possible. We'll be speaking to key local organisations, businesses and other stakeholders too. We will explore of the capacity for the re-use of the existing building and the opportunities for the site. Once we’ve collected your ideas, we’ll look at them in more detail and decide which ones we think are possible. We hope to identify possible local people or organisations who may wish to operate the space in the future.

At the end of spring 2021 we hosted Pollards Pop-Up, find Newsletter 1 here.

Phase 2 - Summer 2021

Options Development & Public Action Testing

We will use the information you have given to us in the first engagement phase to test possible options for the re-use of the space. We will share these proposals with you for further feedback. Using safe methods to do so, we plan on carrying out Action Testing – this will include opportunities for local people to get involved with testing ideas for the space, through workshops and activities in and around the site. It will be an opportunity to test specific local ideas and work with local people who may wish to operate the space going forward.

At the end of summer 2021 we hosted Pollards Pop-Up, find Newsletter 2 here.

Phase 3 - Autumn 2021

Detailed Design & Strategic Planning

Using the information from the second phase we will work to create a detailed design proposal for the site and share this with the local community. We will use this phase to work out a future plan for the site, including how a building project might be funded and delivered alongside the developing a strategy for the future occupants and use. The intention is to use this information to progress the project to enable delivery in the next few years. 

At the beginning of 2022 we completed the study, please see our presentation here.

Project Team & Partners

Design Team


Design team lead, specialising in architecture, engagement, urban research and educational outreach, Okra are a multidisciplinary design studio based on the Old Kent Road in South London. Through each project Okra apply their expertise to open up the built environment to all: strengthening, celebrating and empowering communities. Okra are interested in using their skills to help make creative local projects happen and think there is a lot of potential for this site in Pollards Hill to be something great for the community!


Design team collaborator on the project, Counterculture LLP are a strategic creative consultant, working in a number of fields including community engagement, business and financial strategy and project management. On this project Counterculture are working closely on the community engagement and the strategic planning aspects. 

Project Partners

The project is being commissioned by Merton Borough Council, with the aim of animating the bus stop building, as a locally-managed space that helps bring the community together. The project is also being supported by Merton's Young Inspector's team along with Future Merton, Regulatory Services Partnership (Air Quality) and Merton Public Health.

The project is being funded by The Mayor of London and The Local Enterprise Partnership for London, as part of the Mayor's Good Growth Development Funding, along with additional funding from Merton Borough Council. 

More information can be found on the following page:

Please feel free to get in touch with the Future Merton team at

bottom of page