With lots of new shops being built around Brockley Cross and the future of the Homeview site still in the balance, we contacted Pavilion, one of the leading local estate agents, to find out how much interest in the area there is from business? Pavilion are currently the letting agents for the new units on Mantle Road [above] and recently negotiated the Degustation deal.
Here's the reply we got:
"We've been in the area for many years and, from a commercial point of view, it is very slowly beginning to take off. There is a belief about the area now and that is critical for business investors.
"In the past, very few of the businesses opening in Brockley were properly resourced, or run by experienced business people. That is beginning to change, although Brockley Cross is still many years behind where it should be. Crofton Park is obviously a much stronger commercial area, with a coherent high street.
"The two delis will be a roaring success - everyone wants one and currently, local people travel far and wide to get fresh food from places like the fishmongers in Nunhead.
"Brockley Road is held back as a commercial centre by the problem of commercial waste, with not enough attention given to this problem by the Council [there is a pattern emerging here] - there are too many large bins on the pavement.
"This is one of the reasons why most new local development has taken place away from the high street. At Mantle Road, we are going to be selective about which types of business we let the units to. The kinds of businesses we think would be right for the site include a sandwich shop, professional services practices such as lawyers or architects, drop-in services, such as delivery dry-cleaning and tailoring or an arts, crafts and stationary shop."
So, while there is interest in the area, it is still relatively low and constrained on the high street by the fact that many businesses simply don't want to locate themselves on a street dominated by run-down, infrequently-open, ugly shops and large-scale commercial waste bins, such as the ones outside the Sorting Office and the Brockley Barge. Without co-ordinated action to improve Brockley Road (officially the heart of Brockley Town Centre) progress on the high street is likely to remain slow and new businesses will locate themselves on side streets.
Thanks to Pavilion for their candour.