Limbo shop watch

Brockley is cursed with far too many limbo shops: shops which are neither open nor closed, but somewhere in-between.

Limbo shops offer no goods or services, but they do a very effective job of stopping anyone else from coming along and opening something more useful.

To the casual observer, a limbo shop will appear as though it's just shut for five minutes while the manager's popped out for lunch. But the manager never returns.

In fact, they can often appear that they are just weeks away from a grand opening, with building work in progress and people coming and going. Lights go on behind shutters, shadows play across empty window displays.

Sometimes we like to play the game 'guess the business plan', where we try to work out how the owner ever expected to make a living. Was it supposed to be an internet cafe? A money changer? A newsagent? An office? A restaurant? All of the above?

Ask Toes is one of the most obvious examples, but there are many more scattered along the likes of Brockley Road and Lewisham Way.

Happily, we've recently been able to strike one from the list. Yana, on Geoffrey Road, is an Afro-Caribbean beauty salon that was for months nothing more than a sign in the window, inviting people to come upstairs (an invitation which few seemed willing to accept), while the actual shop bit lay dormant. Now, it's open and actually looks pretty good - with staff, equipment and furniture, it's a proper shop.

Together with a decent dry-cleaner and a nice florist, it has the makings of a functional parade of shops. Although inevitably Yana's neighbours still include a fast-food place that has been shut for a year, while builders intermittently come and go, installing and un-installing the same counter-top, teasing prospective customers with the prospect of food, but denying them for eternity as the Harpies robbed Phineas.

We'd like to compile the definitive list of Brockley's limbo shops, so please post your nominations below...