What's happening on the high street?
Lights, parking, signage, rents...
Christmas Lights - A big thank you to everyone that supported the fundraiser last Autumn, hosted by The Guru Restaurant and Watermans. Julia Quilliam and her team once again led the charge and supported by many other local traders did an amazing job in raising the many thousands of pounds required to put up the lights on High Street for a second year.
Car Park - The new high street car park has now re-opened fully tarmaced and looking smarter than ever. We hope this will be a real boost to trade in the western end of High Street particularly, which is now easier than ever to shop at, whether on foot, by bicycle or car. Shops in that area include Kempson & Beck, Prezzo, Grounds coffee and wine bar, Costcutter and Fantaseyes. It is not yet implemented, but parking should be free for the first hour, 30 pence for 2 hours and 60 pence for 3 hours, with maximum duration of stay of 3 hours -- so a shoppers car park.
New signage - Derek Collett and Andrew Dakershave been liaising closely with Paul Frangi at the Council who is leading work on improved signage for Brentford Town Centre. This should see improved signage for Albany Parade, car park listings at entry points to Brentford and town centre maps. We hope some of this will be installed in the next few months.
Boarded up units - Ballymore, who own the majority of the boarded up retail units on the south side of the high street, have now put them back on the market for rent. Please get in touch with the Steering Group if you know anyone with sound ideas for new businesses or contact Ballymore's agents directly.
War memorial outside St Lawrence's - Julia Quilliam, with the support of a cross-party group of councillors has secured funding of £25k from the local area committee to restore and relocate the war memorial to outside Brentford library. This should be completed by Remembrance Sunday 2009.
Rents, Conservation area status, widening pavement of south side and other issues - In response to a letter from Brentford Community Council and Brentford Chamber of Commerce to the local area committee last Autumn, Mike Jordan (Director of Environmental Services at LB Hounslow) presented to IBAC on 22 January 2009 and responded to members questions. For further information read pgs 1-6 of minutes of Isleworth & Brentford Local Area Committee - Cllrs Hardy and Dakers will be working with other councillors in the coming weeks to advance the issues discussed with Mr Jordan at the committee meeting.
High Street Redevelopment/ Ballymore - Mr Jordan has advised IBAC councillors: "A recent meeting was held with David Lunts, Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), at which this site was raised. Hounslow would be meeting the Agency again to discuss the delivery of a number of large sites within the Brentford area.... Mike Jordan suggested that the HCA was the partner to engage with and noted the housing emphasis in their agenda. He added that as ever, early progress would be impossible without a consensus among the Authority/ HCA and the developer, Ballymore as to what form the regeneration would take.... The Authority was promoting the phased rebuilding of the Town Centre to a human scale, as finance for an incremental approach may be more accessible in the current economic climate. Officers supported having a master plan but acknowledged that it could be implemented in phases. Discussions with Ballymore this week suggested the company was moving towards a phased approach – either due to “credit crunch” or due to the asking price for the remaining parcels of land. Mike Jordan acknowledged that some things would be harder to achieve using an incremental approach, such as a Waterman’s replacement....Mike Jordan indicated that the developer had instructed architects to resume work on the project and was anticipated to approach the Authority in the coming weeks with a phased proposal, reflecting the current economic mood." The High Street Steering Group will seek clarity from Mr Jordon and Ballymore on when the next meeting with the HCA will take place and continue to monitor whether sufficient officer time is being given to progressing this vital regeneration project.
Windows on Brentford Project - Sarah Hoyle from Brentford CLC has been working with young people and Allsigns Group (Commerce Rd, Brentford), with the support of Ballymore, to develop and install a series of artworks by young people in the windows of the derelict building opposite Somerfield. These will be unveiled on the afternoon of 26 February 2009.
STEERING GROUP MEETINGS After a slightly haphazard series of meetings last year, we are now fixing a regular time and location again.
Our first meeting of the year on 16th March 2009, 6.30pm at Watermans will be our Annual General Meeting (formal election of officers etc). The meetings will take place on the third Monday of the month thereafter, kindly hosted by Watermans - their continued contribution to helping progress the regeneration of Brentford High Street.
At the AGM decisions will be made on proposals from Peter Hughes (President, Brentford Chamber of Commerce) that the High Street Steering Group becomes a sub-group of the Chamber, a proposal fully supported by Andrew Dakers. The advantage of this is that the Steering Group will: 1) give real value to High Street traders that become members of the Chamber; and 2) have access to the infrastructure of the Chamber (i.e. organisation structure, banking facilities etc) for grant applications.
If you are a trader on the High Street, please help spread the word - forward this link and make sure other traders are signed up to the discussion list. Also, if you are a trader, please make sure your page is up-to-date on www.BrentfordHighStreet.com - any problems email firstname.lastname@example.org and update your entry on the Brentford TW8 directory.
February 21, 2009