Forest Hill and Sydenham win Portas Pilot bid

Sydenham and Forest Hill have succeeded in their bid to win "Portas Pilot" funding to rejuvenate their high streets. They will be given £100,000 to deliver three projects designed to increase high street occupancy and footfall.

The Forest Hill Society describes the three schemes:

Jack & Jill
Two high street shops will be renovated for creative community engagement, exhibitions, showcasing local products, business workshops, ‘pop-up’ events and as a Town Team base

Shop Revolution
A high impact project with lasting sustainable benefits will renovate up to 12 vacant units, letting them to an eclectic mix of businesses and organisations, including successful Market Makers traders on a Pop Up or trial basis.

Market Makers
More than a market, this will build on the success of the Forest Hill Food Fair, to pilot markets on a rotational basis across the area, with the aim of finding long term tenants for our vacant units.

Congratulations to the team behind the slickly-produced bid. It will be fascinating to watch the projects develop - hopefully there will be many lessons to be learned from their experience.

The BBC reports that the full list of pilot areas includes:

Ashford; Berwick; Braintree; London Road in Brighton; Hatfield; Royal Leamington Spa; Lodge Lane in Liverpool; the Cut in the Waterloo area of central London; Forest Hill in south London; Chrisp Street, Watney Market, Roman Road in Tower Hamlets, east London; Loughborough; Lowestoft; Morecambe; Rotherham, and Tiverton. 

The funding for the three London areas is to be provided by the Greater London Authority, while the government will put up the remaining £1.2m.

23 comments:

Chris said...

Brilliant! Congratulations to all involved for their hard work.

Ben H said...

Thought Forest Hill was already quite nice? Gym, nice pubs, cafes, diverse retail and supermarket. They even have a Maplin!

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, but they also have quite a low occupancy rate.

kolp said...

Fantastic news for Forest Hill & especially Sydenham. They made a compelling case.

In terms of what this means for Brockley.
Brockley Market is going to have to really pull out the stops. Continue to improve, market itself define itself as distinctly as possible. Ma

The Forest Hill Food Fair, has loads of similiarities with BMarket but it being in the station carpark is even easier to get to for passing/travelling trade.

Brockley Nick said...

I doubt Brockley Market need worry about a market in Forest Hill - there is room for both and Brockley Market is not particularly accessible for FH residents. I can't believe it gets more than a tiny fraction of its customers from FH / Sydenham.

Brock Olly said...

Not convinced the Cut near Waterloo needs this. It's a thriving little stretch with plenty to keep both the organic and honest fayre (?) brigade happy.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, on a "needs" basis, you'd struggle to make the case for Leamington Spa and Lowestoft as well. But I guess the bids were considered for their ability to prove the concept and deliver good results, rather than to help the most desperate cases.

Quorn said...

Interesting isn't it. Now Kolp is a red blooded capitalist supporting a "rival" market that will force another local enterprise to "up it's game". It would be remis of me to point out that perhaps local convinience stores also have to reposition themselves if supermarkets arrive and people prefer to use those. Welcome to competition.

(should just say that Kolps analysis is flawed anyway but worth pointing out the contradictions none the less)

Fattyfattybumbum said...

Leamington Spa is a lovely town and hardly needs this either. Weird how some of the chosen places aren't bad as it is.

Anonymous said...

A shame Honor Oak Park Parade did not make a bid - or perhaps they did?

Anonymous said...

Brockley Road could have made a bid too I think ... Oh well, I'm hoping any improvement to the surrounds (ie Forest Hill) will bring benefits to Brockley too.

Brockley Nick said...

Re: Brockley Road and HOP parade, I think the pilot is designed for "town centre" locations, rather than individual parades. Also, the occupancy rates on Brockley Road are actually pretty good.

Robert said...

I think there might have been a case for Lewisham Way - though Brockley Road would have been a harder pitch. We could have made a case through Brockley Design Project for Lewisham Way - though we are not quite ready with our evidence and proposals just yet. I hope that we can make a bid in the future. If anyone would like to get involved to help work on such a proposal, please get in contact through the website.

Similar to Lewisham Way, Sydenham used to have a thriving high street with a Department store - so I think it is great that they have recieved some help.

kolp said...

I accept that my argument as it stands is not complete. The observant will see that the comment, was truncated...anyway

The point I'm making is that, both markets are essentially local markets but in terms of passing trade and people that come from outside of our beloved S.E London, a swish Forest Hill market is a more attractive option, because it's easier to get to plus they can combine a visit to the market with a visit to the Hornimann & pop into any of the spruced up retail outlets that the Portas bid will allow.

This doesn't mean BMarket will die but it may well suffer relative decline. Right now that market is very highly regarded and occupies a unique position in S.E London.

It may well lose some of it's sparkle and become just a local market serving us, rather than an attraction that brings people into the area.

Ok? (no time to proof read).

Anonymous said...

I guess this that old political ruse of proclaiming a great issue of national concern.

Then pronouncing an initiative that solves the problem to great acclaim....in areas that are carefully selected because they are easy to improve and therefore demand fewer resources.

That is just posturing and political grandstanding.

Improving our dying shopping streets needs a lot more than this.

Brockley Nick said...

@Kolp No, that doesn't sound plausible at all.

If people in this area want a trip to a rival market then Borough Market blows all rival options out of the water. Not only that, but people can make a day trip of it to Tate Modern, the Globe, the Design Museum, etc, etc. And all these wonders are accessible via an 8 minute train journey from the station directly opposite the market: St John's

Despite the presence of Borough, Brockley Market has gone from strength to strength. Why would the presence of a modest market in a less accessible place be a great threat. People come to Brockley Market because it is awesome and Brockley rocks and mostly, they are people who live relatively locally (a short walk up the hill from Lewisham or Deptford) or who want to meet Brockley-based friends.

For someone who is always making pleas for community cohesion, you certainly do enjoy stirring.

kolp said...

le sigh...i think the most diplomatic thing i can say i that i operate on a different level of consciousness...

over and out!

Welcome to 2012 said...

Yes, you operate on a level of consciousness where Brockley Market can thrive despite nearby alternatives like Lewisham, Deptford and Blackheath markets, but decline because of a little market in Forest Hill.

Anonymous said...

I would say that the low cccupancy rate in Forest Hill is largely a function of too many units.

If you add them all up along Dartmouth Road, London Road and Perry Vale there are loads.

This is one of the reasons why the Forest Hill Society's objection to one of the units along Dartmouth Road being turned into a bar was such a crazy decision.

Independant Impact Assessment said...

a) Will Brockley market (BM) lose customers who came from Forest Hill - doubt there are many existing visitors to lose as its not an easy trip.

b) Will BM loose Brockley based visitors to FH - unlikely as BM is big and well loved. FH would need to be a bigger/better market to have any real impact.

c) Will BM loose visitors to out of town visitors - possible but I suspect the number of out of town visitors to BM is reasonably low as a percentage, and most will not repeat visitors.

So some competition but not a massive impact...

Now, play nicely children...

Anonymous said...

What a waste of public money, literally and metaphorically it's window dressing, pure and simple. Look at the shops in Athens, that will be our high streets soon.

Mb said...

Literally I understand but don't agree. Metaphorically? Nope don't understand. Not sure why the comparison with Greece is useful or relevant.

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