Brockley Economics: Supply-side

So there are people in Brockley - young people, people with families, people who work from home, people with money - who are not really catered for by local business. Hence the childless and the child-encumbered are at war in the Brockley Mess and the temporary closure of Le Querce causes mass-hysteria.

There are one or two decent spaces in awkward locations, like the Tea Factory. There are awkward spaces in decent locations. There are small spaces that are shrinking to the point where no-one will be able to use them. There are places like this one, whose landlords are trying to turn them in to housing. There are others, like this one, where the landlord is trying to sell the freehold, something beyond the reach of most start-up entrepreneurs. There are new spaces being built to meet planning requirements, but where the evidence suggests businesses are reluctant to locate. There are incumbent businesses that never open, but which can't be let to others and then there are stalled refurbishments.

Finally, there are a few promising projects in the pipeline, but no progress yet. This year could have been the year when a load of new businesses sprang up in response to the East London Line.

But right now, if you wanted to open a new restaurant, bar, clothes shop, butcher or greengrocer, your options are severely limited. Where would you go? Where could you go?

Even this place, which we understand is actually of a decent size inside, is unavailable because it has problems which owner Network Rail doesn't think would be economical to remedy.

Instead of the white heat of the private sector being unleashed on SE4, almost all of the good news this year has been provided by the public and voluntary sectors. According to the government, turning off all that pesky public investment will allow private companies and voluntary organisations to flourish instead. Let's hope so.

But until Brockley can provide good-quality space, in good-quality locations, of the right size, with attractive streets that customers want to use, the Brockley economy will fail to cater for the pent-up demand, buggy-wars will continue at the Brockley Mess and every child who has a birthday party in the area will be given the same three presents from Magi, for want of other options.