Death of a salesroom

The last shop on Brockley's historic high street has been allowed by the Council to be converted in to flats. The shop, at 91 Upper Brockley Road, in the Conservation Area, had two offers from businesses that wanted to take it on, but a Lewisham planning committee last week have given permission for the new landlords to convert it to residential use.

One of Lewisham Council's stated aims for the borough is to prevent it from becoming a dormitory area, dominated by residential property and without local business infrastructure.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do the mean "become a dormitory area"? Isn't that what we've become?

Anonymous said...

We certainly are a dormitory area, and the Council is making sure that no forces can take us back to shopping locally

Mb said...

Certainly are? Don't know about anyone else but most of my shopping is done locally as is some socializing. It's not entierly bleak.

TJ(O) said...

Yes Mb but the council are notoriously hypocritical - look at the huge domitory they are building by the station.

pacman said...

It feels like this borough is being eaten alive by flats.
Pubs, dog tracks, cinemas, pools, adhesive factories, victorian shops- flats, flats flats.

Tamsin said...

Asked by higher eschelons of government to provide a certain amount of housing our council, rather than dragging its heels, leaps to attention, salutes and commits itself to exceeding the quota by I think it was about 40%.

I don't know whether it is short-termism - just handing the land over to private developers is simple - and so what if they want to build flats because that is where the money is thought to be - or long-term planning - dormitory blocks full of dinkies will be maximum council tax for minimum drain on council resources in the future.

(I enjoy being cynical!)

Anonymous said...

Loads of private landlords, but not much Council development.

The Cat Man said...

theres lots of empty shops around the station, whats the problem?

Medieval said...

The area around the Brockley Jack Pub is Brockley's historic high street not some railway and canal based upstarts to the north.

drakefell debaser said...

theres lots of empty shops around the station, whats the problem?

The problem is that they are empty.

Anonymous said...

hear hear catman (or here here), shopping locally can be harder work than driving to tescos or training it to canary wharf for waitrose, but its putting something back into the area not feeding the supermarkets...what we need are local shops selling good basic stuff, not twee pasta.

Welcome to 2010 said...

Anon, your point bears no relation to anything catman said.

We have shops selling basic things, including the Broca, Costcutters, Budgens, Tescos, Co-Op, gogis.

Maybe there's room for one more good-quality "basics" shop, but What we need are more specialist shops and businesses - and yes, "twee pasta" (whatever the hell that is) if that's what people will spend their money on.

Anonymous said...

No to twee pasta shops.

Anonymous said...

Where can I buy "twee" pasta in Brockley, please? Would love to get some. Bought some bow shapes in Costcutters at the weekend but that's about as fancy as it get round here.

Anonymous said...

make your own twee pasta

Nurse Ratched said...

All this talk of 'twee pasta' leads me to believe that the anonymi have neglected to take their medicine again.

Anonymous said...

I think the original poster was suggesting that the shops were twee, rather than the pasta itself. And that's an idea I think we can all get down and empathise with...

Headhunter said...

I'm always confused by all these people who want shops selling "basics"... What do you think Costcutter, Budgens, Gogis, Sultan Foods etc etc sell? If you're looking for a butchers, a grocers and a fish shop a la 1950s, it ain't gonna happen.

The demographic in Brockley means that the majority of people shop at Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco. Car ownership is pretty high and people are willing to drive to the supermarket for a weekly shop.

The only way a shop business model can survive in an area like Brockley is to offer something different that the churn and burn shops can't offer, hence the organic style SOTH, Broca Food Market style places which offer a more "boutiquey" experience. A basic grocers shop will not be able to compete on price with larger chains and therefore needs to offer something else.

I know there still is the odd butcher and fish shop across St Johns, Deptford, Crofton Park etc but the days when there was a parade of shops like this in every micro area are gone.

Wonders never cease said...

HH has just posted something sensible on this blog.

touching base said...

Yes indeed, but he loses some points for using the phrase "churn and burn".

Ed said...

Oh I don't know. Agreeing with HH a lot recently.

Anonymous said...

Has headhunter been to Deptford High Street lately? Countless butchers, and several fishmongers, plus endless grocers and hardware shops. The 1950s? I don't think so, just locals that appreciate something authentic and not packaged in faux trendiness.

Mb said...

This debate keeps reoccurring. Can we really force a mix of shops in a particular direction? We can influence it by planning regs but ultimately shops are commercial enterprises, if they attract customers they stay open. Deptford is a good example, who'd have thought that so many butchers could exist in such a small area? At tbe same time somewhere like Brockley Mess could clearly be twice the size and still be full. The twee vs traditional argument dosnt get us anywhere

Stating the obvious I know.

poop said...

Yeah it does feel like Lewisham has bent over forward and split its cheeks to accomodate this neverending round of flats.

Anonymous said...

The difference between Deptford High St area and Brockley are the residents and their differing requirements. That is stating the obvious. An establishment like the Mess wouldn't last long in Deptford.

Anonymous said...

No, but a larger one would survive in se4. It's customers who decide what shops they need.

Tamsin said...

But Deptford has the market where - reality or not - the perception is that on fruit 'n' veg, kitchen equipment, soap powder, etc. the prices undercut the supermarkets. Therefore - one stop shopping - while you are about it go into the butchers and fishmongers (that also give the impression of being more competitive on price than quality).

That is the sort of thing that can continue as a suvival from the 1950s - it could not start up cold.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon "It's customers who decide what shops they need."

To a point this is true. But as a customer, how can I express my desire for a shop that doesn't exist? I would buy plants and equipment from a good quality local gardening shop. But there isn't one, so I can't.

All I can do is express my desires on this site. But anyone daring to say they'd like something other than a newsagent is accused of being twee.

It needs entrepreneurs to take the plunge before customers can support them.

Brockley Nick said...

"An establishment like the Mess wouldn't last long in Deptford."

The Deptford Project is doing very well.

Headhunter said...

As Tamsin says, larger commercial centres like Deptford, Catford and Lewisham itself are able to sustain independent foshmongers, grocers and butchers simply because there's a large throughput of people and a large number of shops. I don't think Brockley or Crofton Park's tiny parades could sustain these without them offering a different type of shopping experience, ie the organic boutique or cafe or bar/restaurant.

Having said that I suppose Nunhead has a couple of good shops - a fishmonger, a butcher a baker but again it's a fairly busy road and bigger commercial centre than Brockley.

I just don't think every little micro centre in SE London (Brockley, Honor Oak, Crofton Park et etc) can support lots of little shops like these, people are too willing to jump into their cars and bomb it down to Tesco.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Nunhead is busier than Brockley, but people know they can have a better 'experience' in the fishmongers or the butcher or the bakery, and buy food of a better quality for the same or less money.
Paris is a good example of a series of micro centres that mostly thrive.
But Nick is right it is the residents that often decide what the area is like not the council. There used to be a garden centre in ladywell near Gordonbrock, now flats I think. The English just aren't that interested in their food so long as its cheap. Look at the (Turkish) Lewisham Food Centre open 24/7 and always busy.

Anonymous said...

"It needs entrepreneurs to take the plunge before customers can support them."

That's a bit rich Nick. Don't you mean "other" entrepreneurs?

Brockley Nick said...

No I don't think it's a bit rich.

a) As I have bored you about before, we did try to locate in Brockley first off. In this specific shop, which is why it's so frustrating to see it be allowed to be converted.

b) I'm not criticising anyone for not opening in Brockley. I'm stating an obvious fact, which is that it takes two to complete a purchase. A buyer and a seller. Without shops, local shoppers can't put their money where their mouths are.

Tamsin said...

And the possibly rather idealised view regularly presented on "From Our Own Correspondent" and "The Food Programme" and the like - that the average person cooking for the average European family cares much more about what they do than is the case in the UK and takes time to go to the local market for fresh regional ingredients. Although a recurrent theme is also that this is changing as supermarkets, particularly Carrefour, inexorbly march in.

Headhunter said...

I think central Paris has fewer large supermarkets or even space for them and rents are generally lower so small shops can thrive. There are also lots of small retail unit spaces in Paris as Parisians tend to live in apartments built above commercial premises which us Brits are not keen on doing, it's actually more difficult to get a mortgage for a flat above a shop in the UK, isn't it?

Anyway, I expect that the further from central Paris you travel, the less picturesque and boutiquey things become with large Carrefour supermarkets taking over

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Interestingly Supermarkets are now looking at building residential units above their shops.

Forest Hill Sainsburys is an example and the europeam supermarkets; Lidl for examples are doing this even more.

The tea factory is a local example of apartments above retail units.

Anonymous said...

According to statistics from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), Deptford has lost 70 per cent of its pubs in the last decade.

The latest to go is the John Evelyn on Evelyn Street which has been sold off by owner Admiral Taverns to the firm behind Paddy Power bookmakers

The company was set up by a consortium of property investors in 2003 and currently has hundreds of its pubs available for sale.

It is a sad end for the Deptford pub, renowned as the place where playwright Christopher Marlowe met his death in 1593 following an argument over a drinks bill.


http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/8445130.DEPTFORD__Pubs_being_wiped_out_by_bookies_and_flats/

Headhunter said...

Yeah, there were (still are?) plans to rebuild the big Tesco on Old Kent Road with flats on top a while back...

Anonymous said...

We should all aspire to idealised views.

Anonymous said...

Interesting application to open a flower stall on the waste land by the bus stops at Lewisham Station.

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