The Brockley Central Interview: Cllr Heidi Alexander

Councillor Heidi Alexander is the Deputy Mayor of Lewisham and Cabinet Member with responsibility for regeneration in the borough.

She agreed to an interview about the future of Brockley with us last week and we have already featured a couple of the things we learned from her on the site here and here.

When we first mentioned on the site that we’d interviewed her, we were immediately asked whether it was good or bad news. The answer is, it depends what you’re expecting.

There were no dramatic revelations about exciting new developments in Brockley or promises of millions of pounds of investment in our public spaces. There is a long list of things that need fixing in Lewisham and not many of Brockley’s faults are currently at the top.

However, she had a clear understanding of many of the challenges the area faces and offered to take further action on some of the issues raised. Most encouragingly, she has offered to walk around Brockley with a few readers of Brockley Central who can highlight the issues that matter most to them. That’s something we are hoping to bring you more news about very soon.

If the key to achieving real, long-term improvements is for the community and the Council to be aligned and working together, then what Cllr Alexander had to say is good news.

Here’s part 1 of the interview…

What is the Council’s vision for Brockley?

We think Brockley’s future is as a vibrant local centre with shops that people want to use, small cafes, restaurants and galleries. Some of that is already there, but we think there’s potential for a lot more.

We’re starting to see the evolution of Brockley. Many of the people now moving to the area have more time and more money to spend locally. There’s great residential architecture and the East London Line is opening up new possibilities.

So what is the Council going to do to help encourage that change?

Well, we have to get the basics right. That means improving the general quality of the environment. Satisfaction rates in terms of street cleaning are already good, for example.

We’re also about to introduce timed waste collections along parts of Brockley Road[see here], which will improve the high street – it’s been very successful in the other parts of the borough that we’ve carried out trials.

Hiding the bins near the sorting office, improving Coulgate Street through the My Street Makeover initiative – that’s the kind of thing we need to be doing more of.

We’re pleased to hear you say that it’s important to get the basics right, because everyone we talk to about the area – from residents to shop owners and estate agents – says that the poor condition of Brockley Road is a major barrier to improving the neighbourhood. What can you do for Brockley Road?

Firstly, we need to promote sensitive development in the area – only granting planning permission for buildings that will enhance the street. Secondly, we want to provide business advice for local entrepreneurs. We’re re-structuring the Town Centre Management team – the previous manager was too spread out geographically to provide the support the area needs. The new council officer, Julie Such, will be a more familiar and accessible face in Brockley.

I recently met with the London Youth Support Trust, a charity which works with young entrepreneurs to provide affordable business premises. I think there is an opportunity to bring more of these businesses to Brockley and I will be speaking to them about sites in SE4.

I live in Hither Green and the areas around Hither Green and Brockley stations are very similar. Some great work has been done by committed local groups [in Brockley’s case, the Brockley Cross Action Group] in both areas, making small scale but important changes.

We need to support these groups, but people need to remember that the Council has a lot of competing groups banging at our door all the time. My advice is, if you’re not getting the response you want from the Council right away, keep banging on the door, it will pay off. People can always contact me through my website if they feel they’re not getting the response they need.

Another of the basics that needs to be got right is the state of our pavements. What works are planned in this respect?

The total amount of money available to resurface roads and pavements in this financial year has not as yet been set (we need to work out how much money we can afford to borrow and this will determine how far down the priority list of pavements we get - the priority order is determined by a rather complex formula. There are some pavements in the top 50 of this list in the Brockley, Telegraph Hill and Ladywell areas, however, there are no guarantees at this stage that we will be able to afford all of this work.

The real glimmer of light relates to possible works on the pavements in Coulgate Street as part of a one-off scheme. We are looking at ways of completing works to the proposed ramp to Brockley station this year (with possible landscaping to follow at a slightly later date) and we are keen to carry out some pavement works on Coulgate Street to complement the improvements in accessibility to the station. Funding needs to be identified for this and council officers are working upon this at the moment.

It’s also interesting you mentioned sensitive development, because one of the frustrations many of us feel is that planning regulation enforcement along Brockley Road in particular is not strong enough. As a result there are many, many poor-quality shop fronts which put-off other businesses from moving in next door. How seriously does the Council take the issue?

It is a very important issue – if there is a contravention of the planning regulations, please highlight it to the Council enforcement team and we will investigate.

Well there have been a number of complaints recently about the new signage outside Speedicars on Coulgate Street. It seems in clear contravention, and the Council say they are investigating, but we have to wait and see whether anything will be done…

I will look in to that issue myself and let you and your readers know as soon as there is any development.

That would be great, thanks. A much bigger problem is the number of shops that are either completely empty or give the impression of being active businesses, without ever actually opening. It makes the ‘shop local’ ideal a little tricky.

I hope this is an issue that our Town Centre manager will get to the bottom of. The changes to business rates which are due to come in to force soon will help, because landlords will be forced to pay rates, even on empty properties, providing a bigger incentive to let them out.

As an authority, we have a limited range of powers at our disposal to intervene. But if landlords break health and safety or security regulations then we can take action.

Part 2 coming soon…

87 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well this is a turn up. I was moaning how I despair of our council. That betting shop on the Homeview site is slap in the face to the community.


Also whilst the Tea Factory building is fairly stunning design. I went past today and noticed the materials used for that acqua cladding, look waterlogged. Is this style over substance?

Brockley Kate said...
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Brockley Kate said...

Interesting stuff, and really good to know that Cllr Alexander is interested in Brockley's future. Sometimes I fear that the area is overlooked by local bigwigs who are more fixed on the issues around central Lewisham.
Hopefully BC readers will get in touch with her to let her know what their priorities for the area are - and this walkabout idea sounds really great, count me in.

Looking forward to reading part 2 of the interview!

Anonymous said...

I can't say I blame them for levering help towards Lewisham itself - having walked round it a few times, I wouldn't begrudge it of a bit of a spring clean!

At least it's not Peckham... can't imagine how you'd sort that out without dropping a bomb on it. The Rye area by the station is an absolute slum.

The Cat Man said...
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The Cat Man said...
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Opening anon said...

Good news that the town management set up is being restructured. I really do hope that Julie Such makes herself known, either by blogging or posting here or in the SE4 magazine.

Oh yeah, where was Nick's column in that mag this issue? Often it's the only thing I find worth reading.

That magazine really is quite dire? It's pretty enough on the cover, but the contents? It has very little local feel, apart Nick's bits but now even that's absent.


Frankly that magazine needs an editorial overhaul, the layout and the formatting is just... well. It's better than nowt I guess.

ends rant.

If Brockley is always going to be last on the list of priorities in a needy borough, that's more reason to give the residents more autonomy. I feel like this area is held back by the council.

Look at the max, and the licensing issues. Why couldn't the council expedite the process to help us out?

Brockley Nick said...

@Opening Anon - glad you enjoy the column, it's the first time anyone's ever mentioned they'd read one - I was beginning to wonder...

Its absence this month was purely down to me being swamped and not meeting the deadlines. Whether I'll be allowed back in after that aberration, I don't know! ;)

Monkeyboy said...

The Aqua cladding is copper? doubt it's water logged, the green oxidized surface amy pick up water but would not penetrate I'd guess.

The Cat Man said...
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Anonymous said...

As opposed to...

Anonymous said...

you're good.

Anonymous said...

That was supersonic editing, I was thinking might it not be the PPP?

another day, another name said...

We should not forget, and I'm sure we won't, that Cllr Alexander is a career politician and her interest in Brockley, and indeed Lewisham, is transitory and can be abandoned when opportunity presents itself.

another andy, another pie said...

Does that matter? Really?

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me why a ramp up to Brockley station needs to be 'proposed', as it seems to me that I walk up one every day?

Confused of Brockley...

Anonymous said...

It takes 10 days to get a licence for an outdoor event. Hardly unreasonable.

Tamsin said...

Are you sure? As I recollect it Lewisham say they like to get receive any TEN 21 days before the event and there is a notice in the Telegraph Hill Park saying Glendale want forms etc. completed 8 weeks in advance.

Bea said...

Confused of Brockley – the new ramp (which will be part of the re-landscaped Brockley Common) will be on a wheelchair friendly gradient. Currently it’s a steep push for wheelchair users/ buggies / bicycles.

There are plans of the ramp / new Common layout on the Brockley Cross Website but the actually landscaping has been delayed – there’s a fuller explanation of why somewhere on BC (should find it using the search function).

lb said...

I admit it's good that there's even a vague sense of a plan for the area, but why is it that nearly every council's 'vision' for an area that isn't a main shopping / commercial centre (everything that isn't Lewisham itself, in this case) always centres around the cliched triad of 'small cafes', 'restaurants' and 'galleries' and contains very little else? Are we expected to spend all our time eating tapas, caffeinating ourselves and politely smiling at hackneyed art? How many of these things does Cllr Alexander think Brockley could actually support, I mean, really?

I agree that the basics need to be got right, mind you. Personally, I think if people are concerned about the appearance of Coulgate Street, they need to stop cars parking there - this is the thing that makes the single biggest difference to a streetscape.

Anonymous said...

I guess you have to ask yourself what else there is in life that you could implement into a small village centre that is commercially viable?

Lap dancing club?

Drug den?

The Cat Man said...
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lb said...

I know nobody really wants to admit this, but I can't help feeling that the future of most suburban centres like this is largely residential - shopping and working patterns have changed too much.

One way commerce could be bought back into such area is to pedestrianise and then designate the space for a regular food / general market, but it's quite difficult to try and get these things going ab ovo.

Anonymous said...

I think its a shame that the existing ramp up to the station already has a sign on it announcing its last proud unveiling, and now people want to rip it up again.

Wheelchair users should build up their muscles a bit, would you prefer a quick heave up the slope or a long, slow trundle starting from half a mile away?

The Cat Man said...
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Brockley Nick said...

@lb - of course the future of Brockley is largely residential. But this community is perfectly capable of supporting a small collection of good shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.

Shopping and working patterns favour small shops for luxuries and conveniences as people get back from work late and want something then and there. A bottle of wine, some nice bread, etc. They don't want to go to the supermarket for that and they are prepared to pay a premium for quality and convenience.

And as our economy gets wealthier, there are only so many televisions you can buy, so people spend an increasing proportion of the disposable income on leisure activities - like eating out.

Tom said...

I am more sympathetic to the re-ramping project, but as long as it doesn't get silly. The ramp at Elverson Road DLR is completely mental.

lb said...

Well, it's more a matter of convenience. No-one has the time to hold down a job and spend time getting their basics from a series of separate local shops which may (or may not) be open at times convenient for the average commuter.

lb said...

Sorry that was to Andy.

I agree up to a point, Nick, but do you really think that many shops selling 'luxury' one-off purchases, outside normal business hours, can really survive, when there are several in competition?

Brockley Nick said...

@lb - every shop will need to find its own niche - I think if a direct competitor to any of the three new shops opened up, they would struggle. But there are other parts of Brockley (eg: Crofton Park) where similar shops could flourish.

There are plenty of businesses that would (in my view) do well if they opened up. A good butcher. A fresh produce shop. A garden / flower / interiors shop (like a less upmarket version of the place in Blackheath). A cafe offering activities for children (eg: pottery painting, etc), a cafe in Hilly Fields. A bar / restaurant on Brockley Road.

It's easy to say of course, but look at the new businesses that have opened in the last 12 months or so: Broca, Dandelion Blue, Degustation, Shop on the Hill. All appear to be doing well, generating lots of loyal customers. That surely suggests that any good new business would have a decent chance.

lb said...

I think a more upmarket (or just pleasant) bar would do well - for all our attempts to emulate Southern European 'cafe culture', what the British like to do best (given their climate) is drink indoors.

A good butcher might do well, and I'd be really happy if one appeared, but would be a serious financial risk to open - more so than a cafe or even a grocery-type place, I think. Butchers have been hit particularly hard by the recent loss of small independent shops, as it's a skilled business with fairly low profits to support a permanent premises (I'd add that buying meat from a butchers usually demands a certain knowledge on the part of the consumer as well - one we're rapidly losing).

A cafe on Hilly Fields would do well, but business would be largely seasonal, and based on weekends as few people work in the immediate area - unless there could be a way of opening some multi-purpose building that abandon the cafe side of things in the winter.

I think a big part of the problem is down to rents; recent years making property available for residential use has offered far greater profits than commercial rents. This doesn't just affect the commercial sector, of course. As someone who dabbles in an area of music that's best described as "uncommercial", it's been an ambition of mine to get hold of a rehearsal space, which musicians could hire out and which was open to the public, who could then go in and watch rehearsals (and proper concerts) for a very small fee. The problem is, the numbers just don't add up - to obtain that kind of space, particularly in London, is cripplingly expensive, before you even factor in the costs of staffing it.

patrick1971 said...

It's good that Cllr Alexander is doing these sorts of interviews and I was interested to read it.

But my heart does sink a bit when I hear the response, "just report it" when it comes to breaches of planning rules. Often people HAVE reported it and nothing has been done; it's gone into the council's black hole. There should just be zero tolerance for this sort of thing; why doesn't the council just send someone round to take Speedicars' sign down? How hard can it be?

Anonymous said...

I fear is places like Degustation are doing that well. It seems to be empty whenever I go past. I wonder if they'll still be here in 2 years.

The Cat Man said...
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jon s said...

I agree with LB,

As disposable income falls will people spend on luxuries or flitting from shop to shop to purchase luxuries? Particularly as in the UK our economy is disproportionately based on transactional services (the city, supermarkets, etc.) and a fair few small businesses on luxuries.

And before this turns into an angle for "unite the xxxxxxx" that's not what I´m saying, just that what Brockers Rd will look like is dependent upon disposable income, which is decreasing at the moment.

My ideal would be a few delis and bars with some SME professional services, e.g. graphic design, management consulting, architects, etc. Oh, and a decent supermarket chain or not.

SME Professional services would live and spend locally, aiding in supporting the businesses underneath them (business to consumer not business to business).

If the council really wants to help, give peppercorn rents for 5 years to SME professional services firms (with corporate mentoring from ex-big firm experts) and the rest will follow!!

Opening anon said...

I noticed the councillor's language, "report it" and "we'll investigate", rather than a more positive 'action will be taken'. It's implicit that the situation will be investigated. The process of investigation gives hope to contravening shops that they can possibly finesse the situation, make excuses and ultimately get away with breaking the laid out rules

As far as I'm concerned, either you've broken the rules or you haven't. All the council need to do is check whether you have or haven't then take the appropriate action .

It shouldn't be a long or drawn out 'investigatory' process.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon - I suggest you read the recent article about degustation on this site.

@jon s - I don't think the london economy is going to reach the point where enough people can't afford posh bread or a cup of coffee.

A chanel boutique might struggle though.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Nick, I don't follow. I've read it again. Are you suggesting that because Degustation has had a revamp they're doing well?

The Cat Man said...
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Anonymous said...

Hang on - My fault - I meant the other one - Dandelion Blue.

The Cat Man said...
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Brockley Nick said...

No anon I am suggesting that because the owner has told me that the business is doing well and that is why he is expanding his range, that is reason to believe it is doing well.

Personally, I have never been the only customer in the shop and I go in there regularly. Perhaps you pass it at off-peak times...

westsider said...

Anon, dandelion blue gets tons of customers, mainly 5-7pm. They also did great biz in the run up to xmas.

lb said...

I agree with jon s - the ideal way to stimulate a properly functioning local economy, if that was at all possible, would be to encourage small and medium-sized professional businesses into the area (the improving transport links could be one source of leverage here). If people actually work here, there'll be a knock-on effect for other forms of economic activity in the area.

This is why I think the 'cafes/restaurants/galleries' model trotted out in development plans is always something of a cop-out. It's basically designating an area as residential with a bit of small-scale, leisure-based economy.

Anonymous said...

Okay I stand to be corrected. It was simply an observation - and yes perhaps I go past at the wrong time of day.
On another note - is it something about blogs that makes people talk to other people as if they're a piece of crap. A change of tone wouldn't go amiss - that includes you Nick.

Opening anon said...

I think we set up a local think tank. I can see we have business minded people here, I am a good at strategy and marketing. We have journalists, we have artists.

The Cat Man said...

Anon, I think its because we are all so proud to live where we live so we all get abit emotional!

On a seperate note, I received my very first newsletter from the Telegraph Hill society in over 2 years. I just want to thank whoever delivered them for including my corner of the world. (west brokers).

The Cat Man said...

opening anon, great idea.

jon s said...

Nick, unfortunately I think the downturn will be uglier than people realise. Interest rates have to go up or the pound will sink like a stone, raising prices of imports.

Also, we must remember Brockers is starting to gentrify so disproportionately effected by the few cups of coffee less.

However if we add a 5 year timeline brockers is in a good position, the housing stock and transport will put brockers in an ideal position for new entrants to the workforce who are not saddled with debt from the downturn.

LB, hopefully we will get some SMEs before 5 years. We can also get SMEs by proxy, people who work from home a lot for larger B2B companies (like myself post September), particularly as companies try to cut costs by introducing flexible working (less facilites costs per employee)

Brockers hsa the houses and location, just hope we don´t have to wait 5 years before it takes off.......

Anonymous said...

House prices are going to go mental when the Brockley Express rolls through in 2010. Brox will also see a new type of tourist coming to its shores - one who was previously prevented from coming down due to standing confused at London Bridge wondering whether to get the train to Victoria, West Croydon, etc...

jon s said...

Opening Anon, look for an earlier post i did about a model cafe that would earn good money.

Seriously, I would be up for a local club (as long as it involved drinks and/or sport) that discussed and implemented local SMEs meeting infrequently. More rewarding than an investing club stock/comodity picking.........

Brockley Nick said...

@jon s re: uk economy. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe oil price oil price rises will continue inexorably, maybe we're in a speculative bubble. Even if oil stays high, maybe that means consumers will drive to supermarkets less. Manufacturers are already changing their processes to use less oil, so maybe inflationary pressures will lessen...

Who knows. But if the economy does nosedive, then I accept that many of our assumptions may have to change.

Brockley Nick said...

I also agree with the point about attracting more smes to the area. To be fair this is something that both john miller and heidi alexander said they wanted for brockley and it's why I think the plans to created a street of office / studios on the scaffolding site are so good.

Brockley Nick said...

One more thing: the think tank point echoes a suggestion made by Jo Hill of Open Gym fame - create a thread specially for entrpreneurs and small businesses to share ideas and canvass local opinion. I'm going to set that up asap. If anyone reads jemima kiss' "elevator pitch" blog on the guardian, I think something like that would be great. Will ask jon what he can do to make it work.

lb said...

Oh, I agree that Martins Yard could be very helpful in this regard - provided it doesn't end up going a mainly residential route, with a gallery or couple of artists studios tacked on as a sop (not mentioning the names of any other developments in this regard). Brockley doesn't need a great deal more housing stock, just as, if we're being perfectly honest, it doesn't really need any more artists or low-profit 'cultural' enterprises. What it does need, I think, is modern, flexible office space to encourage smaller businesses here and to diversify its economic profile. So, it'll be positive if Martins Yard does eventually offer this.

The Cat Man said...

There is also much more scope locally to caster for SME's - the site of the Brown Brothers warehouse is ripe for development.

That site looks a similar size to the scaffolding site.

Anonymous said...

But is anything happening to that site? Is it still being used?

tyrwhitt michael said...

SMEs, B2Bs I had enough trouble with Bimble.

No wonder I never learnt to text.........

tyrwhitt ali said...

jon s, my understanding was that luxury food and treats (can't think of a better way of describing them) tend not to be too affected by an economic down-turn as whilst people's expenditure tends to fall on big ticket items, such as new cars and holidays, they are more likely to spend on a bottle of good wine to go with Friday night's takeaway to cheer themselves up. I think somewhere Waitrose is a good example of this.

I'm willing to be corrected though!

The Cat Man said...

Anon, there are no publically available documents as plans/designs/final decisions have not been taken on the site.

Council members obviously have a view in mind for what they want to see happen. I have a view on this, but I strongly encourage others to find out themselves.

tyrwhitt ali said...

Apparently Radio 4 agrees with me! It must be true....

Anonymous said...

I think 'Bimble' is an old naval term for an aimless wander. Nick - any naval connections?

The Cat Man said...

tywitt Ali,

Economists use SIC codes in order to classify industry types. If economists are analysising a economic model they tend to generalise to say 'luxuary' or 'need' items - its kind of lazy but other economists tend to understand.

There is nothing wrong with your assessment. Ultimately it comes down to SIC classifications and as with any coding/classification regime there is ultimately some assumptions made.

Monkeyboy said...

My mate, an ex navy chap, introduced me to 'bimble' when describing a stroll.

Also introduced me to 'a big old unit' when describing a person who has pie eating issues.

lb said...

A quick web search reveals that it is indeed RN slang:

http://www.royalmarinesbands.co.uk/reference/Slang.htm

The cheek of it! said...

Is Brockley being besmirched here by our south east London bretheren, Peckham boys - The Metroes?

Check what the guy is singing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzXMBmvMgl4 or
Brockley gets a name check

drakefell debaser said...

It sounds like Brockney and they claim to hail from Pecknam going by their myspace page. The song is quite rubnish though, not very orininal....i shall snop now benore i nets carnied anay

The cheek of it! said...

The sad thing is they go against thing I believe in, in terms of what a good band is; originality, fresh sounds, inspiring lyrics...but I love them. They are just so funny, they remind of being a kid and being completely stupid.
One of the songs goes
"education is overrated and I'm the monster that it created" ... and that homework is antisocial. To me that's just superb, you've got to laugh.

drakefell debaser said...

I guess homework can be quite antisocial, I wish I had come up with that one in my youth. Fair play to them though as they seem to be making it and actually write their own material which can only be admired these days.

The Cat Man said...
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jon s said...

@tyrwhitt ali

demand for "treats" as a whole is fairly static, but significantly decreases from luxury brands and boutiques (as they cost more) and significantly increases from supermarkets, where you can stroll in and get whatever is on offer, hence it costs less.

Hence a patisserie is at risk, as is the luxury sausage market stall and florist. Tesco's and Sainsbury's aren't.

Actually beer has incredibly stable (inelastic) demand..........

The Cat Man said...

Jon S,

I would model a 'treat' as a contingent commodity. I.e. in relation to something else that wasn't a treat. For instance, to define 'wine' as a 'treat' would be contingent upon the supply of 'water'. If there was no water, wine would no longer be a 'treat' as people need to drink.

I can't really type maths symbols on here, but its something like:

commodity [x] = Wine[Water]

We then regress [x]. I would argue thats the true relationship we need to measure.

I got taught by Prof. Andrew Cheser, who was the head of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, is this how you go about doing it?

Tamsin said...

At Cat Man: It would have been the Hilly Telegraph from the Telegraph Hill Centre (the THS hasn't managed to produce a newsletter for quite a while - but then we haven't chased membership fees either...). Funny you should get one now and not last January or September. It is the same commercial delivery system - they must be doing different roads at random. Dare you tell us your road? It would help to know.

The Cat Man said...

@Tamsin,

I live on Revelon Rd. I was thinking of ringing up the number on the leaflet just to say thanks - I dont want this service to stop and have to wait another 2 years!

Quite a few interesting things mentioned on it. Surprised not to see any section printed for the TH Neighbourhood watch, or is that a seperate leaflet?

Hope you're having a good weekend!

Marisa said...

I find Cllr Alexander commitments to protecting Brockley's "vibrant local centre with shops that people want to use" a bit hypocritical when she backed the Committee's decision for the change of use of Homeview Video from A1 to A2. That's probably why she was sceptical about this interview as she thought she might be rumbled. Another betting shops/estate agent/financial services is definitely what local people did not want.

Brockley Nick said...

I'm not aware that she was sceptical about doing the interview? Homeview was a bad mistake, no doubt, but I don't think it was more than that.

Anonymous said...

Good job then that the councillor is making decisions on rational terms, rather than the emotional terms of bloggers. Evidently some local people do/will want a bookies, or there wouldn't be one there.

Some local people might not want you for instance!

Anonymous said...
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Marisa said...

Interesting that you had to remain "Anonymous" for such an emotional response. Makes me wonder who exactly you really are?

The application for a betting shop was turned down under the old legislation because of lack of demand. The judge under the new legislation agreed that there was no further demand for a betting shop but had to unfortunately judge his decision on a totally new criteria.

Anonymous said...

And what of the rights of the business?

If they want to take a punt ( ;-) ) on whether there's local demand or not, let them. That's what living in a relatively free society is all about - letting all, regardless of your particular views, have their fair go.

The Cat Man said...

If you want to stay in business you need to give people in brockley what they want.

1. Make the shop front nice. The one in abbey wood looked quite nice.

2. Contribute finance to local activities. Be part of the area, it will help your trade.

I have no problem with a bookies per se but please please please be part of the brockley community. The fact you are interested in the opinions on here suggests that you do want to join in. And I welcome you with open arms for doing that.

I actually hope you make a success of your business. Hopefully it will force e coombes to close freeing up a good sized unit around the station for cafe/greengrocers or something.

The choice is yours to make. Do the right thing and the community will be behind you.

Anonymous said...

I agree Catman.

Just out of interest, and this isn't an accusatory question but more of an open one: what do the delis, seed shops etc. contribute to the community?

Just checking there's a standard to live up to as they tend to get more vociferous support.

The Cat Man said...

1. The Seed Shop (i guess you mean't The Shop on The Hill) had a stall at the Xmas market.

2. The Broca, Dandelion Blue and Degustation all have leaflets stacked up/displaying/advertising local community events in their stores.

3. The Broca organised the Brockley Fun Run to raise money for the Brockley Common.

4. Pavillion estate agents are sponsoring the Brockley Max.

These are just four things that quickly came into mind. The key point is that all of them have played an active part in regenerating the Brockley area.

For instance, if we hold a xmas market this year, why not one or two staff members come along and advertise bets whether or not it will snow on xmas day? You could give the net proceeds to help the Brockley common project. It wouldn't cost you anything (other than a couple of hrs of staff time) and it would generate significant advertising/support from the Brockley community to help your trade. Remember, middle/higher earners like to place bets too.

At a minimum, you could ensure that leaflets for local events are advertised somewhere at the front of your store.

More seriously & economically speaking, betting shops are not seen as the type of activity that would regenerate an area. It doesn't have to be like that.

Most people are trying to regenerate Brockley for the better, to play a part you will need to be more community based, consultative and active in the community. As you are a betting shop, you have a slightly harder and longer journey to take to win over the local community.

I wish you well, and hope you take up the challenge. If I see you at the Xmas market, I will certainly be placing a bet in your store as a result.

Anonymous said...

lets not get too hung up on this, Shops sell stuff that people want - thats your basic bussiness plan. personally I'd like more of the deli type deal and less rubbish takeaways, but please! None of these enterprises opened with the specific purpose of enriching our lives, they opened to earn a living - nothing dirty about that. Some do make the effort to go the extra mile and that should be encouraged but I do think we over emphasise the 'comunity' thing.

Bookies are just rubbish though!

Tamsin said...

@ Catman on TH newsletter. Right, you are within the St. Catherine's parish boundary and the distributor got very negative feedback when he failed to deliver the Festival programme that far south. It's good to know he listened and I will tell him that it is appreciated.
Glad you liked the newsletter.

Brockley Kate said...

Hum well my grandfather was RN but I wasn't aware of picking up slang like 'bimble' from him ... Interesting to know though!

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