Thursday, October 25, 2007

Save our High Street

lIt is the clearest signal yet that the haemorrhaging of local retailers - first highlighted by the Standard's Save Our Small Shops campaign - is being given top priority at the highest level of politics.
The commission will be chaired by Northampton South MP Brian Binley and includes former trade minister John Redwood and Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, whose family run a newsagents in South Wales.
Non-political members include James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, and Lincolnshire Assistant Chief Constable Peter Davies. Mark Prisk, shadow business and enterprise minister, told the Standard: "David Cameron feels the vitality of town centres is crucial and has enormous social benefits.
"The work the Evening Standard has done has been really helpful in shaping policymakers' ideas.
"We should not be looking at this in the old way but with a new approach to politics that looks at issues in the round."
The investigation will be organised into five categories: planning, crime, retail competition from supermarkets and other chains, parking and transport, and local taxes and rents.
Mr Prisk said: "The intention is to identify the practical things that can be done to help. We need to find out how we can help them [small shops] to compete more successfully.
"Part of the problem is that government policy exists in silos. So, for example, the licensed trade doesn't come under the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, it comes under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. But it still affects small shops."
Mr Binley said: "We don't want to turn the clock back but we do want to restore town centres as the social hubs they used to be. In my town centre of Northampton there is only one independent retailer left.
"A lot of town centres have become no-go areas because of binge drinkers. We are now in a situation where it is impossible to start a small business in town centres because of the cost."
In a few days the Competition Commission is due to publish its findings into whether supermarkets are unfairly driving smaller rivals out of business. The Government has said it will make its judgment on the plight of small shops after this.
The Standard's campaign was launched in March last year in response to growing concern about the accelerating loss of small, independently owned shops because of rising rents, rates, competition from supermarkets, rigid council parking policies and red tape

Saturday, October 20, 2007

At the end of the day this High St is for locals. Locals shop, locals look for houses, they eat and drink down here. Another Estate Agents is not a bad thing, it shows there is growth in the area and that people are moving in and out. More people to shop in our exisiting shops. Yes there are enough cafe's, enough clothes shops, enough £ shops etc., but as long as the shops are let and people are shopping then I'm not complaining. Choice is a good thing and there is a choice of Estate Agents, so whilst people are looking around for a new house, they are also passing and entering through our doors. Lets try and find something new to moan about!

Loraine Outlet

Thank you for your email, I wish to point out a few facts, we as a partnership are trying to encourage Marks and Spencers and the body shop into the High Street and this will also encourage other blue chip companies to look at the high Street, we are in a fight at the moment where we are dealing with narrow minded people I.E the council who basically dont care about our High Street. Please remember we have to earn our living, we dont know how much we are going to take every week yet they know how much is in there bank account no matter what? this is not a lets see what we can moan about today thing this is sustaining our businesses for our well being. I hope you understand this and will be at the meeting on the 26th October where we need your support in getting blue chip companies into the High Street, any shop keepers who you know please encourage them to attend this meeting it will be for the good of all our businesses and numbers will tell if we can make this a thriving High Street, so please give this your best shot. We need the support

Paul Burke

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Planning Update

Basically, the Committee agreed the change of use for UK Salon to be an Estate Agents and referred the other application Halifax Building Society to Regulatory Committee to explore the retention of 35 as A1 use under a S.106 agreement. This has to be done at Regulatory, as Regional Planning Committees do not have the powers to consider S.106's.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We want a fair hearing

Dear Councillor,
I am writing to you before the forthcoming Regional Area planning committee Meeting on the 15th October 2007. While I am not trying to influence you in the important decisions which you have to make, I would like to address two applications which you have to consider.

The applications are:
Number 1639/07
Number 2541/07

When reading the agenda for the committee to consider I would like to bring to your attention:
Page 71 paragraph 2 of the Application 1639/07.
And page 75 paragraphs 6 of Application 2541/07

This information is provided by the planning section as advice for you as elected members of Redbridge Council and with the privilege of being on this committee, so you can reach a planning decision in the best interest of the local electorate.
Once you have read these two paragraphs, it shows clearly the information in the agenda is not correct and would greatly cloud your judgment. It also brings into doubt its credibility? How can the percentages used on these two applications vary so much.

In referring to policy CC14 and with reference to the primary footage this information does not take into consideration the following:
Rowans at 135
Elite at 105
Do D0 94
Proposed estate agents at number 84.
Which are still classified as A1 RETAIL?

Then please look at paragraph 4 page 70 and paragraph 2(1) Page 75 and how they contradict themselves.
With these flaws in the agenda how can you be expected to make clear judgements on these crucial planning decisions for Barkingside High Street?

We have been warmly welcomed by our local councillors and Lee Scott our MP but when we address non elected council officers we hit a wall of red tape and frustration. Are you aware that we as a partnership run a petition in Barkingside to govern what customers and local residents wanted from Barkingside High Street and if they agreed with our aims. The only shops involved were committee members of the Partnership which consisted of 6 businesses and over a 3 week period we raised 3000 signatures which proves the general public want a different High Street.

We feel very frustrated on how 105 High Street has been allowed to open, when the regional planning committee refused change of usage from A1 to A3/A5 and we are now told that cooking Egg Beans and Chips or a hamburger or an omelette is not cooking food but warming food, this is an insult to our intelligence. When we are also told by a council officer it is better than having an empty shop?
We as a Partnership want to work with our Local Councillors in the best interest of Barkingside. We have a meeting with our MP Lee Scott on the 26th October on ways to encourage Blue Chip Companies into Barkingside High Street which we feel will help to regenerate Barkingside but to move forward we must put retail back as the predominant role in High Street.
Paul Burke ChairmanMartin Nevile Vice ChairmanDaniel Kaye TreasurerElliot James Secretary