Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Community Action Group in Ladywell

On Thursday I had an informal meeting in Masons with a group of local residents concerned about the state of Ladywell Road. A number of people have expressed concern over the past few months (and years) about the number of empty shops along Ladywell Road, the range of shops, the state of the pavement, the unsightly railings and various highways and safety issues. Things have got markedly worse recently since the only shop selling fruit and vegetables on the road has closed, and there is a potential threat of the Post Office being closed too.

I organised Thursday's meeting to bring together people who had expressed concern, but also enthusiasm to do something about it. Anyway, I was delighted that 10 people attended who are all keen to get involved and do something to improve the situation along Ladywell Road. Des Kirkland from Brockley Cross Action Group also came along and provided an insight to what BCAG have done and how they got started, which was much appreciated.

Outcomes from the meeting, in brief:

  • We have agreed to form a group to work for improvements to Ladywell Road, kind of Ladywell's answer to Brockley Cross Action Group.
  • A survey is being put together, to gather views from local people on the shops and facilities along Ladywell Road, and what they would like to see.
  • A provisional date for a public meeting to formally launch the group and agree a plan of action has been set for Thursday 13th March, 7.30pm. Venue will hopefully be St Mary's Centre, but that's to be confirmed.
  • We haven't decided on a name yet, though suggestions so far include Ladywell Road Action Group (LRAG), Ladywell Action Group (LAG), Friends of Ladywell Road Shops (FOLRS), SOLVE (Stakeholders for Ladywell Village Enhancement), BLAG (Better Ladywell Action Group) or the 'We want a deli too, Brockley can't have them all' group. Any thoughts on these, or another name?
  • An e-mail group has been set up; to join the group, e-mail with your name and street name (to avoid spammers). You will then be forwarded the minutes of the meeting.
  • A Facebook group has been set up; join it here.
  • A website I've been cyber-squatting, is hopefully going to be brought into use to promote the group, but by someone with better website designing skills than me!
  • The group is keen to complement, rather than compete with existing groups such as Ladywell Society and to involve local businesses as much as possible.
  • Hopefully, among other things, the new group, along with local shops, will help sell and promote the Shop Local in Ladywell bags, which should be ready in a couple of months.

I left the meeting feeling very encouraged by the level of enthusiasm and determination among local people to do something to improve the area. I will of course continue my efforts to get action at a Council level to bring the empty shops back into use, for highways improvements etc, but sometimes it is much easier as a councillor to be able to show you are representing the views of a local group, not just your own pet concerns.

Finally, a reminder that any designs for the Shop Local in Ladywell bag should be submitted by Friday 18th January to or posted to Cllr Sue Luxton, c/o Governance Support, Lewisham Town Hall, Catford, SE6 4RU.

1 comment:

Brockley Nick said...

Good luck with the Action Group, please keep me updated and I will try to help promote it through Brockley Central.

If it happens, I hope it will work closely with the BXAG as they will have many issues in common...