Friday, March 14, 2008

Great turnout for meeting to set up new Ladywell community group

Pictured: Tattoo Parlour window and Sunrise Ceramics' wares.

More than 60 local people turned out for last night's meeting in St Mary's Centre to discuss concerns about Ladywell, in particular the shops and premises on and around Ladywell Road and to set up a new community action group. This was in spite of the wet weather and the fact that a number of local people went to the planning committee meeting at the town hall that was on the same evening.

I won't go into a lot of detail now, as more will be forthcoming when the results of the survey etc have been analysed and the group has got established but I was delighted at the level of enthusiasm and determination to improve things. The new owners of Top to Toe hairdressers were the only business people there, but I know a few other businesses, particularly the dry cleaners and Masons are keen to support as much as they can.

Des Kirkland from Brockley Cross Action Group gave an inspiring speech about what they have achieved in Brockley and made useful suggestions about being realistic and setting short-term goals that can be met, as well as more ambitious medium and long-term ones. He also talked about plans to expand Brockley Max Festival to venues in Ladywell this year, if possible. The head of economic development from the Council also came along, and the two local Safer Neighbourhood Team PCs. It was interesting that a number of people said they feel safe in Ladywell compared to other places they have lived and while some people wanted CCTV, others were very much oppsed.

There was general consensus that:
  • We have a number of highways issues that need addressing (too much traffic, too much pavement parking, lack of short-term parking for customers, too much commuter parking, uneven pavments, unsightly railings).
  • We want a fruit and veg shop and or deli/wholefood shop.
  • Residents would shop more locally if shops sold what they wanted to buy, were reasonably priced and marked prices on goods (one guy related with great indignation how he was recently charged 59p for a Kitkat and once paid £9 for a watermelon at the now closed deli/continental food market!).
  • People would like to see another cafe/bar, but don't want any more take-aways or hairdressers.
  • People are sick of the sight of the empty shops and are keen for them to be brought back into use (Newsflash: environmental health have finally agreed to take action against 46 Ladywell Road, aka Nightwatch - fingers crossed it might prompt the owner to do something positive with the place).
Lots of people signed up to the e-mail list - Lara, who also facilitated the brainstorming part of the meeting, will be adding people to the e-mail list soon, and sending round notes from the meeting. The Ladywell community website is also going to be developed soon. Hellen is going to be analysing the results of the survey (approx 150 returned - much higher response rate than the average Council consultation!) and producing a report to circulate to residents and businesses and we'll take things from there. You can join the e-mail group here and the Facebook group here.

Anyway, feeling very inspired about the potential of this group, need to keep up the momentum now . . .

1 comment:

Brockley Nick said...

Hi Sue

Congratulations on getting the group off the ground. It would be great to see some co-ordinated action between Ladywell and Brockley on issues that matter to both groups.

I'll give the group a plug on Brockley Central.