Saturday, August 09, 2008

All Change on Ladywell Road

Ladywell Road has seen a number of changes over the last few weeks and there are a couple more hopeful developments in the pipeline.

Firstly, of course, was the long-awaited re-opening of Ladywell Tavern. Ute and I had Sunday lunch there a few weeks back and it is a great improvement - a much more relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere - the kind of place you could happily go and read the Sunday papers by yourself and have a coffee, without feeling intimidated. The new owners are very keen for it to be part of the community and tentative plans are already afoot with Ladywell Village Improvement Group (LVIG) to host a Ladywell Beer Festival there at some point in the future. Good food and decent wine and beer too.

Next up, Oscars has now opened on the site of the former International Minimart. Once again, a complete transformation. Part deli, part cafe, serving paninis, cake and ice cream, plus a range of decent bread. Beautifully done, with a lovely garden to the rear and nice touches such as the mosaic by the entrance. Good luck to local resident Petra who is behind Oscars and also active in LVIG.

Thirdly, YOGIS newsagents changed hands this week, with the previous owners moving to Lee Green after 30 years running the business. The new owner, Kaidaya, is keen to make a few changes and expand the shop to the rear. I dropped off a copy of the results of the survey that LVIG did about Ladywell Road, but now might be a good time for lots of people to go along and ask him if he is thinking of selling some fruit and veg (and then supporting him if he does!).

Shop Local in Ladywell Bags
There are a very limited number left now - just a dozen or so scattered between a few of the shops. Most of the money has been collected and banked now and a second order will be placed soon. Feedback so far has mostly been asking for longer handles for the next batch - anything else? Although we didn't make any profit out of the first batch, we did prove wrong all those who said it wouldn't work and the scheme couldn't compete with the bags sold at supermarkets etc etc!

Finally, I don't think I've mentioned that way back at the beginning of July I organised a walkabout in and around Ladywell Road with Deputy Mayor Heidi Alexander, highways officers and representatives from Ladywell Society and LVIG. It was a really useful to have Heidi there as well as officers, and for residents to explain their concerns and hopes for the road. Perhaps as a result of our previous walkabout and various casework enquiries (or perhaps just a happy coincidence), highways have submitted a bid for £250,000 to TfL to make improvements to the area along Ladywell Road. We will find out in November if they have been successful. If they are, highways will carry out a feasibility study and possibly do a consultation to coincide with the Ladywell CPZ consultation next spring. Highways issues raised on the walkabout included:
  • the railings
  • traffic speed
  • the need for a safe crossing at the end of Algernon Road
  • uneven paving (the patch outside the drycleaners that has been roughly tarmaced over for ages is waiting for Thames Water to come and sort it out. Every two weeks or so highways come along, inspect and fine Thames Water, but they still haven't sorted it).
  • parking: residents' parking and the need for short-term parking for shops
Other issues raised included:
  • long-term empty premises such as Nightwatch and the Snack Bar which bring down the rest of the street
  • the run-down state of Coral's building with empty flats above (with all the money they are draining from the local economy, you'd think they could at least restore the top half of the building and rent the flats out really)
  • the possibility of a Christmas market by the station, like Brockley had
  • the garages site on the corner of Malyons Road (planning permission was granted a few years ago for flats and retail premises, but no approaches have been made to planning yet to do this)

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