Please take a few seconds and complete the Poll on the right hand column.
Retail is a hot topic for businesses and residents alike in Bankside. You probably know that some exciting independents have opened in Bankside recently – Contemporary Applied Arts, Woolfson & Tay and Albion amongst them – but did you know that soon there will be many more new shops and restaurants, over 25,000 sq m in fact, being built as part of new developments around Blackfriars Road and London Bridge?
Will these new developments meet the needs of local residents and workers? Should Bankside develop a retail ‘niche’ like many other parts of London? Do we need a joined-up retail strategy so that residents, businesses and community organisations here can have a say? We all shop, after all, so directly or indirectly retail is everyone’s business.
Better Bankside has set the retail ball rolling, starting with a lively breakfast workshop on 17 July with local businesses, residents, developers and property agents sharing their thoughts on what’s happening shops-wise here in Bankside and elsewhere. Chaired by Land Securities Development Director, and Better Bankside board member, Robert Hume, the event heard fascinating evidence from Antony Rifkin of Allies & Morrison Urban Practitioners on their research around the country and, from closer to home, Fran Tay of the eponymous bookshop, who told us how Bankside differs from their previous location in Bermondsey.
Lots of ideas were aired, including the need to make Bankside a more distinctive retail destination, the value of independent businesses to the neighbourhood as a whole, and the need to manage and influence the way retail here evolves. We have a few tools at our disposal already – from developing planning policies in the emerging Bankside Neighbourhood Plan to opportunities for practical initiatives such as promotions, retail mentoring and encouraging people south from the river – and following some inspiring discussion several people said they would like to get more involved in making this happen.
Even if you missed that event it’s not too late to get involved. We’re already planning another workshop to take the ideas forward – if you would like to come along, or get involved in a new group helping to influence retail in Bankside now and in the future, please contact Danielle Cohen, dc [at] betterbankside.co.uk
In the meantime, you can take the poll and tell us where’s your favourite place to shop in Bankside!