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TOPIC: Regenerating Palmers Green town centre

Regenerating Palmers Green town centre 11 Apr 2018 19:00 #3792

I thought this reply from Peter George was worth posting.

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the quality of the shop frontages in Palmers Green. Supporting and enhancing all our town centres is high on our agenda. The quality of shop frontages which you describe is indeed a challenge that all of the town centres in the borough face and have in common.

As you rightly say, we do have shopfront design guidance, which is on our website. We can and do still reference it, albeit it no longer currently has Supplementary Planning Document status. Going forward over the medium term, we envisage developing a suite of design guidance. We will revisit shopfront design guidance and its status as you have suggested, as part of this programme. More immediately, where breaches of planning control have occurred we will continue to look at enforcement action where appropriate.

In terms of reversing the current situation, we did (with the support of local group Palmers Green Reimagined) approach the Heritage Lottery Fund Townscape Heritage Initiative last year, to explore funding for a shop front grant scheme. Unfortunately such a scheme in the Palmers Green area did not fit with their funding criteria.

I don't know who the PG Reimagined group is by the way.

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Regenerating Palmers Green town centre 17 Apr 2018 13:48 #3797

Hi there - saw this article today in the Guardian. It suggests High Street transformation does not just have to be about retail but about developing a wider user experience. In addition to transforming the aesthetic (consistent well maintained shop fronts, greenery, less traffic) there is also the argument for changing the way in which we 'engage' with the High Street and empty retail units become spaces for opportunity.

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Regenerating Palmers Green town centre 17 Apr 2018 14:54 #3798

The mixed, ie not simply retail, is exactly where planning sees town centres headed, finally. It’s all come to a bit of a head now with the perfect storm of austerity / Brexit / rate changes hitting pockets, but what’s called the “polarisation” of high streets has been in plain sight for many years: that’s the internet combined with Westfield’s and the like stripping out high street business, leaving less demand for many items, effectively nil demand for a lot more, all resulting in a high street residual focus on in-fill convenience goods and non-internetable services such as haircuts. This follows the previous supermarket wave – go to Sainsburys at Winchmore Hill and you can see the previous history of our local high streets spread across its huge expanse of tarmac.

The London expectation (and plan) is for town centres to shrink in retail terms, to see housing within them as well as a whole range of mixed use outlets – entertainment, health, leisure and such. In places also add in a push towards a night time economy.

So at a base level a town centre generally will need to be a place where people will wish to go to and also to stay. Looking “nice” is therefore a necessary but not sufficient condition.

And the cycle lanes public realm investment helped with that. We’re also seeing new outlets pressing the same button, eg Chalk, Starfish and now Stage. The local business association are finally catching up and there is generic background planning being kicked around in the same direction.

We do have some big spaces (Starbucks, Multiyork, store 21 and the Fox non-pub section to come – and lets finally be in the world as it actually is and stop tabbing these and more with the cycle lanes to blame). Filling these with traditional retail is going to be some big ask so chances are some may well end up looking at a different type of service. Again, there is some activity in that area.

It’s very fast moving in retail now – much more so than normal – and the large names are struggling to dance. One big advantage for PG is its plethora of independents who can weave at speed and some of ours now are.

Outside missing out on a substantially greater public realm space at the triangle junction, so allowing for say a market, and accepting we will always have to live with an A road going through the middle of it, I’m more hopeful for PG now than I have been for close to ever. There’s a lot of understanding, energy and investment building behind the scenes.

If a shop’s looking good, or doing things well, then tell them, and if not, then tell them. There’s mutual benefit for traders and shoppers in getting things right, as well as it being good for PG as a whole. Just don’t blame the council or the cycle lanes, we’ve waste 4 years or so on that dead-end energy destroying debate, and now, finally a positive alignment is starting to emerge. Great if everyone assisted in pushing it along.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rebecca Singh, David Eden

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