Brockley Business

Last I heard, my gym makes money. Yours doesn't. My gym's worth over 4 million dollars. Your gym isn't worth four. I have shareholders. You haven't even got cup holders. I earned this body, and I built this temple with nothing more than some elbow grease and a little can-do attitude... and yes, a large inheritance from my father, Earl Goodman.
- White Goodman, Dodgeball

Enterprise UK has published their report of the recent Enterprise Brockley evening, which is good, because we were too busy talking to take proper notes.

You can read it here, including a summary of the interview with Simon from Geddes.
We were asked to do the interview even though we are not qualified to give any advice to small businesses in Brockley – having spent three years operating in the “pre-profit” stage, so familiar to e-trepreneneurs.

However, we said on the night that even though we can’t monetise the site, if we can help local businesses to flourish, so that we can eat, drink, shop or get our hair cut locally or see free performances by local artists, well then that makes us truly rich. And we half-meant it too, although it wouldn’t kill you lot to click on an ad from time to time.

The report is comprehensive, but for us, there were some points which stood out:


For high street businesses there was a clear desire to improve parking on and near the high streets, by introducing more short-term parking and loading bays.

Links with local academic institutions

A number of businesses expressed a desire to work more closely with Goldsmiths and Lewisham College, particularly with regards to recruitment. They are a talent pool which is not being tapped properly at present and it is difficult to identify the right people to talk to.

Office space

There is a shortage of office space for sole traders and very small businesses. One person chose to locate in Deptford because it was one of the only places nearby that offered live-work space. Another had located in the East End because it had an enterprise hub that allowed her to hot desk in a way that wasn’t possible in Brockley (she had conducted a thorough search). This is particularly pertinent, given that live-work space is what’s being proposed at Martins Yard.

Financial support and advice

Not all sources of financial advice are equal. South East Enterprise was singled out as the most useful local resource. There is no definitive, regularly maintained database of commercial property in the area.

Town Centre Managers

There was a desire to have more regular contact withthe TCMs in Brockley and Ladywell and it was suggested that help with negotiating leases would help new businesses. However, there was a strong feeling that businesses should work together more closely, rather than relying on the Council – that regular networking could and should play an important role in co-ordinating group action on key issues.

Brand Brockley

Despite being an undiscovered jewel(TM), those members of the public who know Brockley love it - or if not love it, then have a peverse affection for it. The Brockley brand is good for business, even if it is hazily defined.


Reg said...

Nick - "Office space. There is a shortage of office space for sole traders and very small businesses."

If this is so, why has the owner
of 1-3 Ashby Road, an office building, been allowed to change his rates from business to domestic - and all sanctioned by Malcolm Smith, Head of Regeneration?

I believe that this is change of use by the back door and it should be challenged. In this instance it leads to - yes you've guessed - a loss of office space through surreptitious change of use. the council no longer wants an office space there, so what does it want?

barryls said...

Definitely a lack of affordable office space.

We had to locate our office in East Dulwich as there was nothing in Brockley or Honor Oak Park.

Nylon Cube said...

Very accurate write up of the feelings expressed at the event, thanks Nick. Having been so inspired I'm sorely tempted to open my own incubation space for businesses in Brockley, if only there was a god location!...

Anonymous said...

NIck - get some decent adds (eg debt reduction ads are probbaly not likely to be something lots of readers are keen to click on) and maybe they'll be clicked on (maybe).

Brockley Nick said...

Anon, google reads the contents of the page and matches ads to the conversation, so you get the ads you deserve ;)

Anonymous said...

Would the holistic centre on the Brockley Rd parade be suitable for a small business seeking office space? It'd be great to find something half-decent to do with it, to get rid of those godawful broken shutters.

Anonymous said...

Also, hotdesking space and small office units could perhaps have been a good use of that church opposite the Brockley Mess, which has instead been let/sold to a church ...

Brockley Nick said...

It's not office space per se that they said Brockley was lacking.

It's live/work space and shared space, where you can turn up, plug in a laptop and begin, use a meeting room and then go again.

I would expect that holistic centre to become a shop once it's remodelled.

Anonymous said...

Are there plans to do something with that place?

drakefell debaser said...

Either Brockley has gone global or Google is a bit knackered because it just brought up an advert for office rentals in Tokyo.

drakefell debaser said...

Nick, do you know if there has been any progress with the Martins Yard development?

The Cat Man said...

We will soon (hopefully) have the new live/work units in St Martins Yard - looks like the council got the right idea for this space even if it seems to be lagging the current need!

I can rent out my front room for £100 quid an hr

Anonymous said...

I am similarly looking for office/workspace space and am similarly finding a great lack thereof in Brockley.

Fortunately the new Overground line will allow me to broaden my search outside of the borough.

Brockley Nick said...

Try OneSE8 in Deptford - practically Brockley.

Anonymous said...

I am looking for a proper office, with a fair amount of space.

Not one of those 'expensive flat with space for a desk with a drawing board' funky designer lifestyle opportunities that property marketing bods dream up.

Living in your own workplace is often a false economy. It tends to sap productivity.

You have to go all the way to Deptford to find anything cheaper and that tends to tatty, insecure and reserved for 'creative workshops'.

An office of a few hundred square feet with secure access, broadband, a loo, somewhere to park, somewhere to recieve visitors, have meetings.

Brockley seems to have few business units and most require a commitment to a lease that works out at least £1200 a month.

Getting a workplace for a reasonable rent is a substantial barrier to anyone starting up.

Anyone got any suggestions on places that do not involve a commuting Hell?

Anonymous said...

What about the offices on Brockley Cross above what used to be the florist - are they still available? I seem to remember the rent sounded quite reasonable, but that might just have been for a broom cupboard of course.

Brockley Nick said...

@Sue those offices are now home to the van hire company that uses the surrounding streets as its parking lot.

Anonymous said...

Are we trying to turn Brockley into Canary Wharf.

Anonymous said...

@Anon seeking an office

There's an A1/A2 use on Mantle Road with Pavilion. £650 pcm, 401 sq ft.

Or you might approach Housemartins about the unit at the base of the Tea Factory. It's up for sale at £80, 000, but has been vacant for ages, so they might take a rental.

An incubator is a good idea, and roll on St Martin's Yard, but current space is not fully used at the moment: couple of places around Brockley Cross, some on Brockley Road, etc.

Mb said...

You could be right. I heard a bloke on the train saying that Goldman Sachs were looking to base their European opperation in the old holistic center.

Headhunter said...

That bloody D&M Van Hire or whoever they are are annoying, they litter Manor Ave and all streets around Brockley with nasty great Transit van things. Bloody ugly and stops people who actually live there from parking their cars. An argument for a CPZ.

The Cat Man said...

Do they fit in satelite dishes?

Tommo said...

Personally I'd be in favour of a CPZ or at least a 1 or 2 hour limit on parking round Coulgate Street/Brockley Cross.

People seem to think it's fine to park on pavements and double park in the road - understandable really as the authorities do nothing to stop it.

Anonymous said...


Ed said...

CPZ for residents and short stayers. D&M should pay for parking if it forms part of their business.

Anonymous said...

There should be a special offence

'parking an ugly vehicle on the public highway'

Anyone who appreciates the aesthetics of motor car can point out some particularly offensive specimens of conveyance that blight the roadsides of Brockley.

Anonymous said...

Lack of office space: What about the commercial building on Malpas road being converted into apartments. And again a massive commercial area at the top of St Norbert Road adiacent to the station is being converted into apartments.

Harefield Mews is being converted in apartments.

Finally what are the plans for the MOT center in front of the barge?

Brockley has plenty of areas the would be fantastic for businesses of all sorts but they all are getting converted into apartments. Even some of the shops on brockley road have been allowed to be sliced off so that the back is converted into apartments.

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that the main trend in property development is that turning pubs/offices/banks/schools/shops/restaurants into small flats is a sure fired money spinner.

Dormitory suburbs with big stores for shopping and trains into central London for work.

I look forward to the day when the tide turns, broadband delivers and it becomes viable to work locally instead of in one of the central London anthills.

If this recession cuts deep enough, it might just nudge it in that direction.

Maybe a lightbulb will switch on in the heads of the property developers and Brockley will sprout small, perfectly formed offices instead of yet more flats of ever decreasing porportions.

I have a dream...

Blake said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Monkeyboy said...

Ah, I see the five year plan to extend Brockleys hegemony to the USA has entered it's end game.

Brockley Central Label Cloud