|Posted on Monday, 08 May, 2006 - 08:30 pm: |
Like everyone else, I'm a bit nervous at to what's to become of Aceri and McD's. Now, I know we are just a few people, but if we were to come up with some realistic ideas of companies that would suit the two spaces we could bombard them with emails about coming to Forest Hill.
I'm not naive to believe they would act on the wishes of a few voices, but, if we were persistent, it would at least alert them to the propects in FH.
What do people think? And any ideas which businesses would suit these size spaces with the sort of passing trade in FH?
Sainsbury has now bought the empty Morrisons/Safeway store in Crystal Palace and that was largely due to local people and businesses crying out for them (or Waitrose) to move in.
|Posted on Monday, 08 May, 2006 - 09:17 pm: |
It seems like a good idea. I don't know how active their property or business development people already do this research though. Perhaps they have already looked and decided "no"? Perhaps they would already be here?
I don't want to be negative but I'm not entirely optimistic that "the prospects in FH" are all that great.
It could be that entrepreneurial small businesses which knopw the local market are the way ahead, but Maccy Ds and Aceri are BIG units.
I think we may need more of a top-down approach to regeneration, masterminded by the council. Does anyone remember in I bthink The Times a couple of weeks ago about how they smartened up a row of shops in Forest Gate (appropriately enough!). This could work. An item for the agenda of the Civic Society...?
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 11:09 am: |
really great idea but I have one question, where will all the customers park?
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 11:10 am: |
People could walk to the stores/restaurants/bars!
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 11:12 am: |
Londondrz, I too have one question. Why can't the customers walk?
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 11:29 am: |
Because most people are by nature very lazy. I live in Waldenshaw Road and my wife has trouble parking on the road because people are too lazy to DRIVE to the Sainsbury’s car park. God help us if anyone suggested they walk. I know I am being cynical but there are only so many people who will go and eat out on any particular evening that live in walking distance and there are already any number of decent/semi decent places to eat. People who are attracted to a good restaurant that is out of the way (Barcelona) tend to get there by car. If I go to The Green or any of the Lordship Lane restaurants I go by car. Yes I could get the bus but I choose not to, does that make me a bad person, possibly but I still have the choice. My point is, if we had adequate parking that is well advertised then we are onto a winner, but no one does. When the new Sainsbury's opened they gave everyone a wonderful map of the store interior that didn’t even mention the parking at the back and as a result Waldenshaw Road and David's Road have Sainsbury’s shoppers vying for parking space with local residents.
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 11:43 am: |
They are big units but if you look at the Nandos growth story you will see that they have succeeded by occupying premises in lesser fashionable suburban areas. Judging by the number of people that get off/on the train at FH the area can provide such a business with lucrative footfall. Take a look at FH on well-known property websites and there are a large number of properties under offer in the 200-350k range. With money in the area, the right demographics and cheaper leases than nearby E. Dulwich I reckon FH would be a savvy location for a food chain not limited to serving takeaway chicken.
Emailing companies for the vacant premises is a great idea. Not only are we drawing their attention to a research opportunity for them but there cannot be a greater encouragement than having your potential market begging you to open up shop. Would there be any objections from the Webmaster if we were to post a generic email to send to appropriate personnel and their email addresses for readers to copy and paste?
As for the council 'masterminding' a plan, I'd reserve my pessimism in this area. How do you expect a council that can't provide public services competently to regenerate the private sector in the area? This really is cloud cuckoo land imo.
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 12:15 pm: |
"I live in Waldenshaw Road and my wife has trouble parking on the road because people are too lazy to DRIVE to the Sainsbury’s car park"
- I suspect it's because the car park's full?
"As for the council 'masterminding' a plan, I'd reserve my pessimism in this area. How do you expect a council that can't provide public services competently to regenerate the private sector in the area? This really is cloud cuckoo land imo."
-We can but dream. It's an aspiration, an ideal, rather than a realistic hope at present. Still, they do collect the bins now! The Forest Gate shop regeneration is one that the Civic Society could take forward though.
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 12:17 pm: |
I also agree a Nando's would be OK. Why not? The location could be right. They do tend to go for slightly more modern and funky premises though. Perhaps they could tart up Maccy D's.
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 12:25 pm: |
Hilltop, agree with most of your points apart from Sainsbury's car park being full. On a number of occasions (because it gets on my goat) I have not been able to park on Waldenshaw or David’s road have gone to Sainsbury's car park and parked there. May have been 20 cars there in total on the last 3 occasions. Have also had a number of people ask me where the parking is as they have driven up and down the road trying to park. Nando's is a pretty good idea just as long as we don’t have anymore takeaway/fast food establishments as I hate picking up McD's/Southern Chicken etc litter out of the gutter outside my house.
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 12:59 pm: |
If you own one of those vacant site, you can propose new franchises for Nandos @
I wouldn't mind a Nandos in FH. The one in Camberwell is fine, and provides another eating option.
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 01:19 pm: |
The UK outfit isn't franchised though... suggest contacting using the UK site rather than the .com
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 06:23 pm: |
Forester asked "Would there be any objections from the Webmaster if we were to post a generic email to send to appropriate personnel and their email addresses for readers to copy and paste?"
No objections here - sounds like a good idea.
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 - 06:30 pm: |
|Posted on Wednesday, 10 May, 2006 - 03:02 pm: |
That sounds like a great idea - lets drum up some business. We are desperatley seeking a replacement for some boards! Who needs the lewisham council (we're virtually in Southwark anyway according to their radar), only the people of Forest Hill it seems can make the place better.
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 11:14 am: |
I noticed last night that the MacD's premises is up for sale with freehold. Maybe it's worth just supplying Nando's with the agents details? Does anyone know the asking price + premises sqm or other details?
Any other realistic suggestions other than Nando's?
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 11:18 am: |
I noticed last night that yet another fast food chicken licking shop is opening next door to Provender's in Dartmouth Road. As if we don't have enough of them already!
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 01:12 pm: |
Oh No .
Who for gods sake eats that rubbish. Surely the government should encourage healthy food , they should tax this garbage.
Next to Provender , a lovely cafe and shop , what a shame
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 03:10 pm: |
Provender stuff really needs some more E-numbers!
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 03:39 pm: |
I am a great fan of Provender. E numbers or not.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 May, 2006 - 04:55 pm: |
Maybe when the Forest Hill Society gets up and running we can help establish a framework for the FH Town Centre and assist with place marketing- if not too ambitious. I assume we still have a TC Manager, although I have no idea who they are or what they do.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 May, 2006 - 11:09 pm: |
South Lewisham Town Centre Manager (covers Forest Hill, Sydenham, Bellingham, Downham, Honor Oak)
Seems she has quite a large area.
But from the Borough Council website:
Lewisham has been developing it’s town centre management programme over the last six years, and now the main borough retail centres of Lewisham, Catford, Deptford, Forest Hill, Sydenham, Downham and Bellingham have dedicated town centre managers.
|Posted on Tuesday, 23 May, 2006 - 12:34 pm: |
You wrote the following earlier this month:
"I think we may need more of a top-down approach to regeneration, masterminded by the council. Does anyone remember in I think The Times a couple of weeks ago about how they smartened up a row of shops in Forest Gate (appropriately enough!). This could work. An item for the agenda of the Civic Society...?"
I've just signed up to this forum but I kept the article.
The article was from the Evening standard on 3rd May, written by Jane Barry. I can scan it and post it if we have that facility on the forum, but I'll try and summarise it below.
Woodgrange Road in Forest Gate was a "tatty" shopping street with run-down old VIctorian buildings and struggling businesses. It was a fairly good target for the bulldozers as a result, until English Heritage and Newham Council stepped in.
Basically, both parties put up a budget of £750,000 each to contribute to the refurbishment of all the shop fronts. In effect, they provided 95% of the money to repair structural defects and decorative stonework, and to give shops "a co-ordinated look [of sorts], with new awnings, shutters and signs".
Jane Barry goes on to say that "key to the project's success was getting all the shopkeepers to participate, to avoid a piecemeal effect."
It seems that there were three key agents involved: Newham, English Heritage and Jake Stafford of Frederick Stafford Planning, the latter managing to persuade each shopkeeper to put up 5% of the cost of doing up their property.
English Heritage have since had their grant funding cut, but the guy in charge of this project, Charles Wagner "hopes other councils will regenerate historic High Streets using Woodgrange Road as a model - "We don't have the money, but we have the expertise and influence. [...] We want to give away the technique, so others can do it.""
It seems that with a relatively small investment, a lot of private money comes in, with shops investing in their interiors too.
Perhaps we can can get Julie Sutch from Lewisham on board...
|Posted on Tuesday, 23 May, 2006 - 06:12 pm: |
Julie Sutch is apparently trying her best to get funding for this type of thing in Forest Hill. Unfortunately though, she's fighting a losing battle with places like Deptford being awarded the lion's share of Lewisham's regeneration budget.
|Posted on Tuesday, 23 May, 2006 - 07:42 pm: |
We can help Julie Sutch put her case to those in power at the Town Hall by contacting her with our gripes and suggestions.
|Posted on Tuesday, 23 May, 2006 - 08:59 pm: |
You may get funding for Forest Hill now if the Mayor wants to get labour councillors elected at the next election.
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 07:19 am: |
As Mayor apparantly lives in SE 23 , Tyson Road I believe , should be pouring money in
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 02:46 pm: |
Concerning the Council’s priorities – I don’t really know enough about planning decisions etc. but although I hoped Labour would be re-elected in Forest Hill even I can see that FH has been a low priority for the Council over the years. I have the impression that there is a belief in some areas of the Council – not, I am sure on the part of local councillors of any party, who know better, and have votes to win – that Forest Hill is ‘middle class’ and therefore undeserving. This is extremely misguided for two reasons: one, the ‘middle classes’, whoever they may be, pay their Council tax and are as entitled to a good environment as anyone else, and two, you only have to walk around the place to see that there are very large numbers of people whose incomes and standard of living would not be described as ‘middle class’. If the Labour Council regarded Forest Hill as politically expendable, they now have their result.
As for the shopping centre - however much money you put in and however many shops you create, you can’t make people go shopping in them. I have lived here a long time now, and have seen so many supposedly ‘desirable’ shops and cafes come and go, that I can only come to the conclusion that not enough people want to use them. I have some ideas about why this may be, in comparison with such areas as East Dulwich, which is often put forward as an example we should imitate. This is only based on impressions, it would be interesting to know if there are any facts to back it up. In East Dulwich and similar areas there are a lot of young single people and couples without families, many earning good salaries, and living in small houses and flats at a high population density. They have the time and disposable income to spend in cafes, delicatessens and ‘lifestyle’ shops. In Forest Hill there are many people who live in nice houses and have good incomes, but they are mainly families with children, who do not have the same disposable income or time to support such a shopping centre. Also the population density is lower, therefore fewer people to spend money. What do others think of this view?
My own opinion is that in Forest Hill we need to have a small number of basic shops, and turn all the rest into residential units (as in Honor Oak Park) or commercial premises other than shops. Then there would be more people around – and maybe the odd nice café or delicatessen might survive?
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 04:16 pm: |
Totally disagree on the demographic point Melissa. The people with time and money are in Forest hill and more and more are oving in - the problem is that there is nowhere to spend the money other than in about 2/3 places. I would love to see somewhere like Jam Circus or Moonbow Jakes in Forest Hill. One of the things I really miss in SE23 is somewhere chilled out to go for a leisurely breakfast on a weekend morning. It used to be a regular fixture of my weekends but here we only have greasy spoons.
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 04:22 pm: |
I absolutely agree - empty shops = we have more shop units than we need. If we are not to make the place look ugly, though, they need to be converted properly. This is only fair on the people who live in them as well as those of us who just have to look at them.
I see "tha yoof has spoken" at Honor Oak and passed judgement on a particularly croppy conversion by defacing it. Whilst I tend not to credit such people with a great deal of intelligence or discernment they do tend to concentrate their efforts on things which are neglected or merit dizrespectin'.
This does fall to the council as it is their planning policies which keep things in redundant retail usage.
The council does tend to neglect the middle classes as we give every appearance of being able look after ourselves, whereas others are need various degrees of looking after. Our needs are less but more subtle and the consequences of neglecting us less obvious - instead of some perpetrating some outrage as the underclass surely do if neglected we just gob off on websites like this.
But we do pay for it all and would like just a few little things done for us thankyou very much.
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 04:32 pm: |
I think we can expect improvements in Forest Hill driven by increased spending power when the East London Line opens and attracts people who work in Canary Wharf to live in the area.
I would expect entrepreneurs to be aware of this and open up the sort of places that those people would like to use.
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 04:41 pm: |
Melissa - I am 26, no kids and work in the city. Both my neighbours are similar in terms of demographics. Judging by the people who get on/off the train every day with me we are not alone. I think the area is changing quickly and whilst it may have traditionally been family-orientated FH has a lot to offer young couples with high disposable incomes except the amenities to spend their money in.
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 05:00 pm: |
Yes, true it is changing, but not perhaps not yet enough to make a 'critical mass' that would ensure prosperity for these businesses. I don't know how long Bosco and Forester have lived here - as I say, I have lived here a long time and have seen so many promising places start up and fold. But maybe it is on the way - believe me, I would LOVE to have a thriving centre and good places to chill out...
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 08:58 pm: |
Forest Hill IS changing. There will soon be around 100 or-so new apartments and live/work units in the strip between the Dartmouth Road shops and the railway line. These properties will no doubt attract mainly young single people or couples who are too into their work and lifestyles to get bogged-down with loads of kids. A great many of these people will be tied to the area for most of the time and there will be a tangible demand for some of the types of businesses that many of us have been yearning for.
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 09:32 pm: |
It might be worth welcoming some of the residents of the new Sainsbury's development to Forest Hill. I've heard that there may be some 20 somethings inhabiting this development. Those 20 somethings may just have bought on the strength of the potential of this little known gem in south-east London - Forest Hill!!!
|Posted on Thursday, 25 May, 2006 - 09:24 am: |
Melissa - I've lived here for 4 years. INthat time I too have seen places with potential open and close. However, those very same places have been ill thought out and folded for a good reason. We only have to look at the Dartmouth Arms for an example of how it should be done. Think about your audience and spend a bit of money. It's not rocket science.
|Posted on Thursday, 25 May, 2006 - 12:43 pm: |
The Dartmouth Arms has a large car park which is a considerable advantage over every other shop in Dartmouth Road/London Road!
|Posted on Thursday, 25 May, 2006 - 12:53 pm: |
Maybe the Dartmouth Arms has done so well because it has a large carpark! Quite an advantage over all the other businesses in Dartmouth Road/London Road ....
|Posted on Thursday, 25 May, 2006 - 01:17 pm: |
What drinking and driving . Not a good idea.
Surely SE 23 has a large enough population to be able to walk to the centre.
|Posted on Thursday, 25 May, 2006 - 03:32 pm: |
What is this obsession in SE23 with driving everywhere! With the greatest of respect to other establishments in Forest Hill, adequate car parking is not what lets them down!
|Posted on Thursday, 25 May, 2006 - 04:25 pm: |
I only go to the Dartmouth because of the car park. In other respects it is rubbish as there are no fruit machines, no-one's up for a fight and I'm not even sure they do alcopops.
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 12:12 pm: |
If there was more parking available, we might entice people from other areas to come and shop in Forest Hill. After all, we have some lovely individual shops in Dartmouth Road but people are not prepared to come from East Dulwich or surrounding areas by bus to shop. That is the beauty of Lordship Lane, there are so many side roads to park on.
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 02:21 pm: |
There is an enormous car park on Perry Vale!
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 02:31 pm: |
You , I believe , do not undertstand the mentality of most London drivers. They must park outside their destination. Walking is verboten.
I like a long walk.
By the way does this car park still charge ???????
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 02:44 pm: |
You're probably right Brian!
As to whether it charges I must admit I don't know - I only live a 10 minute walk from the station so the only time I ever go into the car park is when I go to pick up packages from the post office.
Even if it is, I doubt it's prohibitively expensive.
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 04:36 pm: |
Going back a couple of weeks, did anyone ever contact Nandos about the vacant sites on London Road? I thought someone was going to prepare a cut'n'paste email for us to lobby them with?
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 04:41 pm: |
Someone is always going to do something! why not be that someone yourself Jalapeno! Have to admit though, while I would like to see the sites occupied I'm not sure why anyone thinks Nando's is anything other than a glorified fast food joint
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 05:58 pm: |
Catford has a recently opened Nandos, this week one of those '99p' stores opened next door. By the way I think Nandos prefer corner sights as in Lewisham, Catford & Lewisham but the one by Southwark cathederal is an exception.
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 06:05 pm: |
For years (from the mid 80's?) a number of shops were empty in London Road. The solution seems to have been to demolish them and extend an existing store (Sainsbury's). Now other outlets have closed further along...ho hum. Apart from the road junction does Forest Hill town centre have a focal point?
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 06:43 pm: |
A rebuilt station (proper job, not a portakabin) in line with the end of London Road with possibly a hotel over the railway as suggested by Sydenham Society back in Feb 2001.
Remember the consultation run by Llewellin Davis during 2001/2 and the Supplementary Planning Guidance for Forest Hill adopted by Lewisham in March 2003? Cant remember?? Well it did happen and the SPG is still on the books.
Sydenham Society has been pressing the council for some action on plans for a new station - Len Duvall, GLA member for Greenwich and Lewisham is also trying to get discussions going.
Roll on the Forest Hill Society and further community pressure
|Posted on Friday, 26 May, 2006 - 07:41 pm: |
Could Pattrembath please explain for people not in the know about the complexities of these things (such as myself) how the council can have action plans for the station when it is owned by someone else (Railtrack?)
Also what evidence there is that there is a need for a hotel in Forest Hill - what market would it be aimed at?
|Posted on Saturday, 27 May, 2006 - 09:41 am: |
Lewisham is one of the major landowners around the station area - Portakabin site, car park etc; Network Rail is the other major stakeholder. These two have the potential to change the face of Forest Hill.
With regard to a hotel - I only said "possibly". This could be one method of connecting both sides of Forest Hill Station doing away with the subway. It could also bring people into the centre of Forest Hill improving the nightime economy and provide additional custom for local retailers.
Who might stay at a hotel in Forest Hill? Visitors to London using the fantastic transport connections both bus, rail and the East London Line to travel into London. After all when visiting major capitals abroad it is quite usual to stay out of centre, travel in to town off peak and return to use the local restaurants during the evening. There are hotels at Upper Norwood and Croydon. Why not Forest Hill?
|Posted on Tuesday, 30 May, 2006 - 11:05 pm: |
I have only read a few lines of this thread and don t want to insult anybody but I have a few questions? Marianne, why do we need residents of established surrounding areas to drive into Forest Hill and shop here when we can t stop the hundreds of residents going shopping, eating, drinking out there ? There are dozens of really nice "high Streets" or villages in London where parking is extremely difficult if you are not a resident or simply too expensinve yet we all flock there to meet our frineds for coffee, dinner, go to the local theatre or simply feel good about walking along a street filled with nice shops. So why can t we just do the same where we live? The Dartmouth Road in the evening is just a long horrible car park because people are far too lazy to walk to buy their take away food or rent a dvd. The area will never improve if we want to behave like that. We really need to decide whether we want an ugly and "lazy" town centre ( car parks at every corner) filled with cheap shops, dirty roads, a little bit like Catford ( again please don t take offence but personally I find it depressive) or we wish to grow a small town centre with a soul and an eye for details. And yes I definetely agree with Pat, there is no reason why we shouldn t push again with the station and hotel or whatver else project. The jubilee line extension has done wonders for some parts of London and the stations have won prizes. This is a good time to embrace the cause and make an issue of it.
|Posted on Wednesday, 31 May, 2006 - 09:48 am: |
What strategy do people think would be the most likely to produce a new railway station/hotel/shops etc.?
Do we need to lobby the Mayor or our new Libdem local councillors?
|Posted on Wednesday, 31 May, 2006 - 10:03 am: |
I imagine any decision to build a new station at Forest Hill would be part of the East London Line extension project. Unfortunately, as it won't be a London Underground line, I think it unlikely we would get anything as well-designed as the stations on the Jubilee line extension, but you never know. The introduction of Oyster cards may have implications for the design and layout of (existing and new) stations if ticket barriers are installed, and I'm currently wondering what effect this will have on the small side entrances at Forest Hill and Sydenham.
|Posted on Wednesday, 31 May, 2006 - 11:16 am: |
Blushingnail has it - I suspect talks are on-going as speak about the future of station to be on the East London Line extension. Just because we don't know about it doesn't mean it's not happening. One would imagine that if you're going to move the station then you're into CPO territory and the preliminaries and legalities of that can take years so I would rather hope it's already in the pipeline if such a thing is planned.
|Posted on Monday, 05 June, 2006 - 05:56 pm: |
I totally disagree with Hiltop. The Dartmouth Arms' car park is simply not bit enough to do hand brake turns and race your mates in their souped up coupe's
|Posted on Monday, 19 June, 2006 - 01:01 pm: |
I was told by an estate agent at the weekend that Cafe Nero is opening at the old McDonalds site. Anyone know anything about this?
|Posted on Wednesday, 21 June, 2006 - 11:14 am: |
Caffe Nero is used as something of a barometer in the retail industry for how well an area is doing, so Caffe Nero is often followed by other slightly higher market retailers. If it's true, it would be a good thing.
|Posted on Wednesday, 21 June, 2006 - 02:02 pm: |
Agreed, Cafe Nero would be excellent addition to Forest Hill. Signals the rise of a 30 something trendy/ cosmopolitan area. Hopefully we will get a few more decent bars and restaurants if the rumours true....and maybe,just maybe, (though I seriusly doubt) the demise of the horrid Capitol pub.
|Posted on Wednesday, 21 June, 2006 - 04:42 pm: |
It would be great if this is true, however, was the estate agent trying to "pimp up" the area?
|Posted on Wednesday, 21 June, 2006 - 05:11 pm: |
Good spot, never trust an estate agent. They would sell their own grandmothers.
|Posted on Wednesday, 21 June, 2006 - 05:45 pm: |
I don't see why he would need to pimp-up in this instance, as he was giving me advice on letting my flat. (Not disputing this practice happens).
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 09:23 am: |
There is no notice of any application for permission to develop this site on the Lewisham Council planning website. The rumour could have come from a pre-planning discussion with a council officer or something similar - development departments of large chains and third party developers make it their job to check out vacant sites. Frankly, I would not get excited until we see a planning application coming forward.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 09:39 am: |
Don't know much about how the planning system works but why would this need planning permission? - there's no change of use and presumably any "development" would be limited to tarting the place up and would therefore be covered by a licence for alterations from the landlord, or if they are buying the freehold, they can just get on with doing it up.
Or am I missing something very obvious?
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 09:54 am: |
But do they need a planning application as it is not changing use (still a food service outlet)? [in which case, will we even get a say?]
It could be a good move for property prices because of the "barometer effect" but I am personally sick of the site of the same chains everywhere and would be disappointed to see another one here (although I like Caffe Nero coffee more than most others). I do think that we have the opportunity to become a slightly more "quirky" destination with good value, more bohemian independent outlets - they do not need to be expensive ones like the chains. We should really capitalise on assets like the artists on Havelock Walk and interesting shops like Mayo Maker, but we MUST support them with our business when they try.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 09:55 am: |
I walked past McDonalds this morning and the door was open and some chaps were wondering around inside. Not sure this confirms anything but it is none the less interesting.
Your planning assumption (Bosco) is pretty much spot on. Although the term 'liscense for alteration' leads me to believe you know more than you are letting on about property!!!
Anyway must ask this - who was the esatate agent in question?
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 10:12 am: |
FH1 - I didn't say I didn't know much about property! Just not that au fait with Planning!
Robwinton - you may not like the chains and on some level I agree with you. However, I do think that you need the chains for the more quirky outlets to be able to survive. Equally, if an area has a couple of the more upmarket chains then the more interesting businesses will see the area as one where they can do business without it being a huge risk. It is a total nonsense for people to think that there is no way that the two can co-exist.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 10:21 am: |
Bosco - only having a bit of fun with you.
Just spoke to the vendors agent (for McDonalds) and the freehold is under offer and is in solicitors hands. He would not tell me who with etc in true agent fashion. He did say that it was an investor but that means nothing in my humble opinion.
Therefore we should see some activity there in the very near future. It is unlikely that a new freeholder will sit and watch the property rot away. Fingers crossed its something positive. In terms of the bigger picture this is positive for FH as a whole as it means that there is investor confidence in the town.
I hope I don't eat my words on this one.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 10:22 am: |
True, but in FH we have certain limitations on space. One of the key problems for businesses here is the lack of large enough places that would make a coffee place / restaurant viable (arguably Aceri was too big and difficult to fill, and the new 'organic' coffee shop too small). If the chains come in, all the best spots will go and others will only pick up scraps. However, I take your point, something needs to kick start the process, but I hope that local entrepreneurs get a look in before it gets snapped up by chains.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 12:46 pm: |
This store is in the Forest Hill Conservation Area which means that there would have to be a planning reapplication if any business wanted to take over the premises and make any significant change - even, for example to put their own logo on the front of the store. As an example, Mackays have an application in at the moment because they want to change the style of their existing logo. If a chain like Cafe Nero wanted to take over the premises they would want to put their logo in place and therefore would need to apply to the local authority for planning consent. Which is why we should all keep our eyes on the Lewisham planning website - let's hope we hear some good news soon.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 01:25 pm: |
Well spotted must look at the UDP in more detail!
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 03:56 pm: |
I've just had a look at the Caffe Nero website and most branches close at 7pm, so they must just focus on daytime trade. I don't think that would be of much use in Forest Hill.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 05:01 pm: |
I'm not wildly excited about a Caffe Nero opening in the high street, but I guess it would be better than leaving the McDonald's site empty.
With regards to Nero being a draw for other businesses, one opened in Sidcup where I work a few months ago and the high street is still fairly drab with the same people shopping here and no signs yet of any upmarket retailers wanting to move in, but maybe it will change.
If the company does decide to take the old McDonald's unit it may well open without planning permission - it moved into the unit in Sidcup which was previously a convenience store without permission for a change of use or to change the signage. Its application for retrospective planning permission was then refused by the council but its still there so the company obviously doesn't worry about trivial things like planning permission!
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 05:23 pm: |
Emmi: how strange about the lack of planning application. I always imagine many of these types of chain outlets are franchises but the CN website says their stores are all company owned.
The CN website also sells branded cups and t-shirts, so if anyone can't face the disappointment of CN not opening in FH, they can always set up their own personal branch at home!
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 08:52 pm: |
I think I'll manage...
So saying, in descending order of desirability, it would for me be:
1. Good bar
2. Good restaurant
4. Cafe Nero (Cafe Nero might be better for the area but I'd use Nando's more)
6. Spearmint Rhino
8. Unlucky Fried Pigeon
|Posted on Thursday, 22 June, 2006 - 10:21 pm: |
Maybe the estate agent has been reading this forum where the suggestion of a Nero's was suggested back in March.
By the way is anything happening to the retail unit that's part of Sainsbury's?
|Posted on Friday, 23 June, 2006 - 02:42 pm: |
May be a coincidence, but I walked past Aceri at lunchtime and the grill was part way up and the door was open. Not sure if this too is being "checked out" for redevelopment? Any other news on this?
|Posted on Friday, 23 June, 2006 - 03:37 pm: |
I know that the town centre manager has been in discussions with interested parties regarding the empty shops in London Road. I don't expect they will be empty for much longer.
The discussions the town centre manager has are in confidence (so I do not know any more than that) and as a council employee she is not allow to post on public forums such as this. However, I don't think there is any secret that she is working to attract new businesses to Forest Hill.
|Posted on Friday, 23 June, 2006 - 04:18 pm: |
Well, it is a bit of a secret. Good luck to her but we might be forgiven for being unaware that work was going on behind the scenes given the number of longstanding empty units.
|Posted on Friday, 23 June, 2006 - 04:41 pm: |
Slightly off topic, but geographically around the corner, does anyone know what is opening next to the bra fitting shop on Dartmouth Road? Front has just been repainted and I think a sign was about to go up (but painted plain black at the moment). I think this was a training service provider before!?
|Posted on Friday, 23 June, 2006 - 04:46 pm: |
On http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/Business/TownCentreMana gement/ listed as one of the tasks of town centre managers is "Part of their remit is helping to bring vacant units back into use within the town centres..."
I think there is possibly more interest in the newer vacant sites than some of the older, smaller vacant sites.
|Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2006 - 09:23 am: |
Regarding robwinton's post the black sign has revealed the future of this retail unit: it will become the home of the UK's first condom shop!
|Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2006 - 02:13 pm: |
Perfectly fitting bras proving to be just too exciting I guess?!
Is this a wind up?
|Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2006 - 04:17 pm: |
I can see the headline in the local press "Forest Hill Goes *its Up after Co*k Up".
|Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2006 - 07:08 pm: |
It's not the first, there used to be a condom shop in Camden - maybe it's owned by the same people?
We do get an unusual assortment of businesses arriving in FH it has to be said. Fancy dress, bra fitting, now condoms.
|Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2006 - 09:35 pm: |
Please, let's not forget skis to be had from Finches
|Posted on Tuesday, 27 June, 2006 - 11:26 am: |
Walked past McD's this morning and they were starting to gut the place. I'm starting to get really excited now!!
|Posted on Saturday, 01 July, 2006 - 10:34 am: |
I am all over this. Apparently McD's has been bought by golfrate (of trocadero fame) and is expected to be turned into some sort of mixed-use scheme.
Could be another Saninsbury's - investor confidence is high in the Hill!!!
|Posted on Saturday, 01 July, 2006 - 11:35 pm: |
It seems odd that such a large organisation would invest in such a small space. Mixed use? What does this entail? Are you saying that might be buying up those properties down the rest of the parade (therefore including Aceri)? If so, that could be interesting, particularly with reference to the redevelopment of the whole station area, but I still don't see what they would be up to. Any thoughts?
|Posted on Sunday, 02 July, 2006 - 09:24 pm: |
Awaiting futher info I will keep you updated. I was surprised to hear that it was golfrate who had bought the property. All good stuff though none the less.
Yeah, mixed-use i.e. resi and retail etc.
|Posted on Monday, 03 July, 2006 - 12:15 am: |
As long as it's not an amusement arcade.
|Posted on Tuesday, 04 July, 2006 - 04:23 pm: |
Spoke to the retail guy who sold McDonalds again, it seems theres no definite plan at the moment, but the fried chicken place next door is for sale aswell - if you know where I mean? I have been told that if someone bought that as well a 3 or 4 storey scheme could be put together.
Who knows - what will happen.
|Posted on Tuesday, 04 July, 2006 - 05:05 pm: |
This is a web page from last year re sale details of Favorite Chicken & Ribs property.
|Posted on Tuesday, 11 July, 2006 - 01:13 pm: |
How's about one of those Turkish style butcher, baker, herb and spice emporia, like they have in the centre of Lewisham ? It's about the right size. Good fresh, honest tucker without the fancy packaging and a lot cheaper than Sainsburys. They'd be situated in a position to challenge Sainsburys for passing trade too.
|Posted on Tuesday, 11 July, 2006 - 04:30 pm: |
I agree, they have a great mediterranean deli place in HOP actually. There is also a top quality bar in HOP these days, the Equal Bar - perhaps we could model our high street on our neighbours!?
|Posted on Tuesday, 11 July, 2006 - 10:32 pm: |
It's nice to see Yune on Dartmouth Rd doing a good trade since it's launch/refurbishment. Always made me slightly sad to see the previous restaurant there always empty.
The old motorbike shop nearby appears to be turning into a solicitors too, well according to the plannig notice in the window, better than an empty shop.
|Posted on Tuesday, 11 July, 2006 - 10:57 pm: |
Would prefer a motorbike shop to a solicitors though!
|Posted on Tuesday, 11 July, 2006 - 11:32 pm: |
Surely a solicitors (imho) is going to bring a touch more money into the town centre.
A small acorn grows into a...... and all that.
|Posted on Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 - 09:08 am: |
I'm amazed you see Bar Equal as a 'top quality bar', Djnever. I think it's a complete missed opportunity - all that "a little bit of Soho in SE23" rubbish, and their refusal to serve pints - it really winds me up. They've got a great location in an up and coming area and no competition for the commuter trade, and they're throwing it away by creating this poncy early-'90s-city-bar look, with prices to match. They should have a look at Jam Circus in Crofton Park - relaxed, friendly, modern, good food, live music, newspapers on the weekends etc.
Completely agree about the deli though - long may it continue.
|Posted on Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 - 09:30 am: |
Unfortunately more solicitors' offices do not really bring in more money. The way to "bring in more money" is to attract shoppers, diners, etc. from outside FH who spend their money here, creating jobs and encouraging more people to consider it as a place to move to. Can't imagine that a solicitor on Dartmouth Road would have that effect?! Then again, nor would a motorbike shop, but condoms ... you never know.
Hopefully a revitalised London Road, with fewer fast food joints and something like the Deli or a coffee shop will help. Going back to an earlier point, if it turns out to be a chain/franchise it might serve us better but does not attract outside money.
Regarding Yune, I hope to try it soon to see what it is like, but it does look good. Why is it that FH is awash with Chicken and Oriental food?
|Posted on Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 - 09:33 am: |
I'm with JBird on this one. Bar Equal is awful. Anywhere offering booze that close to a train station should be busy for at least a couple of hours every night, just by making themselves welcoming to the passing work force who might fancy a quick jar on the way home. Instead, you have to drink rubbish lager from carrafes (no pints available), listen to absurdly loud music (even when it's just you and the barstaff in there) and look at those god-awful paintings on the wall that they've got the nerve to want money for. Add to that the fact that they had the nerve to advertise themselves as a place to watch worldcup football, despite the fact that they only had a crackly old telly in a spot that made it all but impossible to watch, with reception so poor that the owner had to climb up onto the sofa to fiddle with the aerial, and you've actually got a fantastically bad bar. Frankly, I'm amazed that they stay in business, I've never seen it busy, whatever time I walk past. On it's plus sides, the bar staff are all great. Very friendly. Oh, another bad thing, no cheap bar snacks, you have pay almost £3 for a bowl of stale nuts rather than 50p for a bag of crisps. Soho in SE23, what a laugh.
I love the deli too, though. And the fancy furniture shop, but I can't afford to buy anything in it.
|Posted on Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 - 09:41 am: |
I "third" opinions on Bar Equal. Wot no pints?! The layout is also spectacularly poor.
|Posted on Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 - 10:01 am: |
I agree, I find it a bit of a try hard - and the ladies toilets wind me up by having 2 toilets in one cubicle!! It has a great spot on the high street and could be a lot more welcoming, much preferred the red room where you were able to sit outside in summer. Would not want to diss it too much though as having a bar at all is better than none -
|Posted on Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 - 10:16 am: |
Completely agree, Jem. I think the reason I feel so angry (!) about it is I'm passionate about HOP high street and really want it to thrive. I see Bar Equal as a great opportunity to lead the regeneration of the area, but it's just missing the point in so many ways.
People cite the closure of Cuba Tequila (I think that was its name) and Red Rooms and McLarens as examples of HOP failing to move forward, but I think it's much more about individuals failing to read the market properly. Why would you want to sit out on the decking at Cuba and look out at a bus terminus, portaloo and hand car wash place? It's carzy that anyone would think that. Why would you sit in McLarens and pay over the odds for a 'gourmet' burger that was anything but? The Red Rooms closure was a shame but didn't seem to have anything to do with its popularity - it was always busy when I went in there.
HOP has got so much to offer but traders need to be smarter and cater for all the residents - old timers and new comers - in an inclusive and quality way.
Sort it out, HOP dudes!
|Posted on Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 - 10:18 am: |
Go easy people!! Any high street needs a bit of diversity to be a success. Forest Hill has improved over recent years (old Malt Shovel or Dartmouth Arms anyone?), so given we have good boozers, I think a Bar Equal type establishment would be of benefit. Yes, pints this stale nuts that, but something that is not a pub with a lick of paint would add some much needed diversity. As for HOP, they do need a quality boozer, rather than 18 organic burger restuarants. What is the logic to set up a business where 3 already exist, but ignore the next shopping strip that has none?
Delis - Definitely needed. I've started going to Sydenham for this kind of thing as they have several shops that cater for non-Sainsbury's shopping. The organic cafe has some stuff, but not really enough.
|Posted on Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 - 10:26 am: |
I think that you've missed the point, Pvp. It's not the concept of having a bar rather than a nice boozer that I object too, it's the incredibly poor execution that bothers me. JBird is right about Red Rooms, they got it right by offering decent food and drink at the right sort of price for the area. Their offering appealed to new residents and wasn't intimidating to the old ones. As a result, they were practically full all of the time. Apparently, it's closure had nothing to do with business, but with the lifestyle of the owners (they had a very long commute to get there). Bar Equal seems to want to exclude the original residents of it's neighbourhood in an eager frenzy to appeal to the new HOP crowd, unfortunately for them, it seems to be driing their business down the pan. Diversity, yes, but get it right.
|Posted on Monday, 14 August, 2006 - 06:59 pm: |
I have just recevied an email from the nice lady at Lewisham Council.
[Edit by Webmaster: Remainder of post removed - see below.]
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 11:09 am: |
The above post was removed in response to the following request received by se23.com:
I am extremely concerned and dismayed that an email that I sent confidential and for the eye of the reader only has been cut and pasted on to the website under the New Shops/Restaurants London Road, by Ciccone.
Can you please remove this email and advise all users that this is not appropriate as my permission has not been given to use any part of my email that I was sending in good faith and by doing so, jeopardises any responses that I may give in the future.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course
South Lewisham Town Centre Manager
|Posted on Saturday, 02 September, 2006 - 11:25 am: |
Dear Julie (or anyone else...)
Any news on the McDonald's site that you can share with this Forum?
|Posted on Monday, 04 September, 2006 - 01:18 pm: |
The Old Dartmouth Arms, now that was a real pub, always plenty of space, cheap beer and a billiards table. Nothing that the new one can provide.
Yes dear reader we have done this before, but as this thread is rambling from one thing to the next, thought I'd put my two-pennyworth in. Newer readers may wish to add to previous discussion on the Dartmouth Arms contained in my classic Moor Park Tavern (not garage) thread, which it would be nice to reactivate.
|Posted on Tuesday, 27 March, 2007 - 05:27 pm: |
I see that the condom shop has now become a tattoo parlour. Fortunately a new barbers shop has opened up on Perry Vale for those in need of "something for the weekend".
|Posted on Wednesday, 28 March, 2007 - 08:37 am: |
I had not noticed not a dreaded tatoo parlour. Hopefully the bra fitting shop still keeping abreast of devolpments.
I have no problem people having tatoo's as long as they are covered up in public and they do not expect the NHS to remove them free of charge.
|Posted on Friday, 13 April, 2007 - 10:25 am: |
Anyone remember who the agent is for the Maccy D's site? I see Strada is on a drive to find A3 sites with 2000-5000sq ft of floor space... Forest Hill might not quite suit their target demographics, looking at their exisiting locations, but they do have one in Croydon
|Posted on Saturday, 14 April, 2007 - 12:15 am: |
Funny enough I dropped Strada an email a few weeks back informing them about this site and its potential. Clearly having a Strada there would be excellent - I did not hear back from them though! I think alot of you might be quite interested in seeing this - I found it on Mason Owens website ....£85K a year rent and about 18K rates ouch!!
|Posted on Saturday, 14 April, 2007 - 12:19 am: |
I once had a friend from ruralest northern Sweden who said the McDonalds in her town had to close a few months after opening when they realised that the people there just wouldn't eat without a knife and fork.
Is there not a TV programme yet where Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen, Jamie Oliver and 'Dr' Gillian McKeith will come round for half an afternoon and transform your high street into a strip of pink and brown polka dot restaurant/enema salons? There should be.
|Posted on Saturday, 14 April, 2007 - 01:10 am: |
£85k isn't actually all that much for the size of the unit. I don't think it would be this that would put off a serious operator like Strada.
However, it's a good indication that only a serious operator could take it on and also why places like Aceri were/are doomed to fail in this sort of unit.
|Posted on Saturday, 14 April, 2007 - 08:27 pm: |
who or what is Strada? do they sell burgers?
|Posted on Saturday, 14 April, 2007 - 10:02 pm: |
..err no, mid-market Italian chain operating in most gentrified parts of London www.strada.co.uk
|Posted on Sunday, 15 April, 2007 - 12:24 pm: |
100K a year plus a massive re-fit cost (prob about 1 million) for a 10ish year lease in an unproven market area would be a bit of a punt for any investor out there- but as you say Fhssec it will only attract the serious investor which is good and we can only hope someone like Strada will grab the bull by the horns. I think when the tube ext builds momementum new investment in the area will start happening.