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Topic: Palmers Green Shop-owners, Landlords to REVAMP

Palmers Green Shop-owners, Landlords to REVAMP
06 Feb 2018 22:52 #3602

Joe Mark O'Connor Joe Mark O'Connor's Avatar Topic Author

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How Palmers Green once looked.... so sophisticated with Shop-owners full of pride with their shop-fronts, Landlords maintained there characteristic buildings with care and being surrounded with abundance of greenery....

Newly built Cycle lanes and removal of rails is neither here or there... it does not take us away from the miserable rundown exteriors and the limited of greenery and blooming colourful flowers that not only combats pollution but also beautifies the greyness of PG, cycle lanes has not encouraged Shop-owners nor landlords not even Enfield Council to come together to make those improvements that are desperately needed to bring back shoppers back on our high street...high streets need shoppers without them we will sadly end up loosing our community.

Waltham Forest have had a regeneration to there shopping area because those representing it cared...shop-owners and landlords have said it has made a huge contribution all around yo their businesses which has increased trade...and the same can be applied to Palmers Green if those in Enfield Council cared enough about the area they are representing....its all about having ideas and innovation....

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Palmers Green Shop-owners, Landlords to REVAMP
07 Feb 2018 09:37 #3603

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Thanks for posting those photos Joe - is that your own book or is it from the Library? Could you share the title and author?

Again, I agree with your comments that the high street needs investment and keeping the centre a thriving place for locals to meet and interact preserves our community. Re Walthamstow sT James Street regeneration project, the funding came from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In Leyton part of their funding was from TfL, part was from the GLA High Street Fund (which closed in 2015), part was from the Heritage Lottery Fund Townscape Grant scheme and a small part from the Council itself (probably earmarked pre austerity really biting) - and all of these grants had in mind that Walthamstow and Leyton were run down boroughs right next to the Olympic Stadium and therefore very likely to be seen and visited by tourists, foreign dignitaries and Olympians etc. Clearly there was decision to spruce the place up before the guests came over and saw the state of us!

The Heritage Lottery Fund townscape grant in its old form has now closed, although we believe a new version will be coming forward. Palmers Green would probably qualify on on the basis of its architecture, but having worked with the Council last year on taking a bid forward to the HLF for this grant, at the pre-app stage we were advised that Palmers Green wouldn't qualify as it was not a deprived enough area. Deprivation is measured on a national index - it's not a comment on whether the businesses are struggling enough. The bid would have cost a significant amount of money and volunteer hours to compile, but the idea had wide Councillor support and was taken forward by LBE council officers to the HLF. For now, that route is closed.

Perhaps there will be opportunities for various grants for PG, but there is also the responsibility of the landlord for the proper maintenance, repair and appearance of the buildings under their ownership. Property ownership is a responsibility, not just an income stream. Even where repairing obligations are passed down to tenants, the landlord needs to make sure the obligations are enforced.

It shouldn't take a Council policy to make a landlord realise that 6 satellite dishes on the front of your building is ugly. Streets in a Conservation Area or an Article 4 would have to place dishes on the rear of the properties, but why can't that idea just be subscribed to voluntarily? Similarly, rotting windowsills, dirt build up, inappropriate windows, dangling wires, sagging roofs are all evidence of poor maintenance. The quality of tenants and therefore their covenant strength (i.e. how likely they are to pay their rent for the duration of the lease) is dictated by the quality of the accommodation. When space becomes available and needs to be let, investment is required to make sure the building presents at its absolute best. That attracts the best tenants and the best rents. Landlords that are able to get together can share the cost of facade repairs / scaffolding costs etc. and benefit from the economies of scale. Its also a benefit to have a plan for the street as a whole, so it looks harmonious. Collaboration can make that happen.

The question for business owners will also have to be, what can they invest in improving their appearance? Project managers on HLF schemes I mentioned above say a more period style shopfront can be installed for c. £5-7K - varying depending on size and design. Perhaps some existing businesses will make that investment in the belief that it will attract them more business. It certainly seemed to do so in Walthamstow where footfall increased by 20%. Perhaps the landlords can contribute? They benefit in the long term by investment into their building. Maybe landlords could undertake this work on their vacant units as they could expect to attract the type of tenant who would be willing to pay more or choose their unit over someone else's because of the better design and 'kerb appeal'. Maybe by making some small efforts in this direction, new businesses will come in and invest themselves in these changes. There are lot's of opportunities for change that can come from within the business community. As residents, I think we have to support them with our custom and our feedback.

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Palmers Green Shop-owners, Landlords to REVAMP
07 Feb 2018 09:59 #3605

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FWIW I understand Cycle Enfield is looking at the installation of planters to combat the scourge of drivers parking in cycle lanes with the complimentary benefit of a prettier greener environment with the ability to absorb some of the pollution.

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Palmers Green Shop-owners, Landlords to REVAMP
08 Feb 2018 12:52 #3608

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I seem to recall that some time ago LBE was involved in a scheme to improve shop fronts (not locally), but it didn’t take long for subsequent changes by owners/tenants to undermine the effort.

The parade on the west of Green Lanes was recently locally listed in recognition of the basic architectural form, but it’s clear that the condition of the parade doesn’t match this. A combination of decay and inappropriate alterations to flats and shops makes for an unattractive environment.

To mount an old hobby horse of mine, I find the number of solid shop front roller blinds most unattractive. Even in a Conservation Area such as along Aldermans Hill, the Council does not enforce its own planning regulations which ban them. There is no reason why, given the frequency with which shop fronts are changed, that sticking to the rules could at no additional cost gradually lead to better frontages. Similarly, the plethora of satellite dishes in flats above the same shops is against planning regs, but I can see that policing these is difficult given their ever-changing occupancy.

Enfield produced an excellent shop front supplementary design guide, but abandoned this in favour of a pretty useless set of general statements in the Development Management Document.

The results of the consultation in 2014 on Palmers Green Public Realm Improvements were not issued but Basil retrieved them through an FOI request which he turned in to an article at. www.palmersgreencommunity.org.uk/pgc/planning-all-subjects/pg-town-centre-improvements/608-residents-views-on-improving-palmers-green-revealed

The strategy for the consultation may still be of interest so I attach a copy.

This browser does not support PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it: Download PDF



I think that this then collided with the cycle enfield programme, whose public realm improvements are somewhat different and perhaps narrower. There will of course be even less council resource next year, but let’s not give up.

I’m interested in the recent attempt to get HLF assistance (which is also now reduced). Who drove this, who was involved?
Attachments:

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Palmers Green Shop-owners, Landlords to REVAMP
08 Feb 2018 14:01 #3609

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Picking up on Joe’s passion I wonder if there’s a task for him to gather and bring information back to PG? Nearby Myddleton Road won high street of the year in 2017, and that’s some achievement. Going back a good few years it was in a far worse state than anything currently imaginable in PG, while having low natural footfall, lacking draws such as banks, passing buses and more to boot. And yet it was turned around and now looks swell with new businesses regularly moving in.
How much of this turn around was landlord, or trader, or local resident inspired?
I guess the Community Association played a long-term backing role; grants may have been involved, while Nell and Mat in The Step were clearly key movers and shakers. An informal committee or two may have played a part here and there with several initiatives. I was most struck by its progress when Paul Handley decided on that location, rather than PG, when reorientating his Alexandra Park music shop towards Southgate, rather than its traditional source of Muswell Hill / Highgate, when opening a second outlet a couple of years back.
An area doubtless of rich data and proven success PG might learn from. One for Joe’s energy and enthusiasm to look at?

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Palmers Green Shop-owners, Landlords to REVAMP
09 Feb 2018 15:12 #3612

Joe Mark O'Connor Joe Mark O'Connor's Avatar Topic Author

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Hi Karl

I have found a great site for us all that love PG and want the best for it and to apply just get in contact like myself called www.rhs.org.uk/science/gardening-in-a-changing-world/front-garden-research/uban-greening-science

I have already given them my views on miserable unloved PG, limited of trees and also the removal of trees and no flowers, so the more people that participate in the scheme then hopefully we will see a more welcoming bright booming PG which indeed needs a lot of TLC, not just newly paved brickwork....

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Palmers Green Shop-owners, Landlords to REVAMP
10 Feb 2018 16:30 #3616

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Thanks Joe. I’m not sure that giving the RHS views on PG will be the most productive way forward, but my wife is an RHS judge so I’ll ask her. There may well be other, non-standard, routes towards greening: she is for instance currently working on a TV programme greening particular homes. Again I’ll seek advice. Certainly there seem many initiatives, even guerrilla gardening, to green places. She tells me Wimbledon high street has recently had trees down its length – I’m trying to secure photos. The mayor is committed to a 50% green / blue target for London to make us the world’s first national park city, which is excellent news, and the public realm is clearly marked down to make a contribution towards achieving that. Budgets are always one major issue however.

I don’t think many locals in my experience seem to disagree that a trick was missed when improving the PG public realm as part of the cycle lane exercise. I’m told for instance that new technology means that trees, and more particularly their roots, could have been safely run the length of the high street, one side or the other of the cycle lanes, without impacting on sub-surface utilities. Some sections are particularly grey, itself an unnecessary colour for the hard landscape used.

I guess there were many options should any available funds have allowed, and also had there been a calm, systematic approach to people having the chance to contribute knowledge – my wife, who it’s fair to say has extensive green knowledge and experience, with eg the National Trust asking if she would act as mentor to every one of their gardeners in the complete south east, simply walked on by having seen another woman harried outside the Fox consultation by anti campaigners; whereas I walked out of the one at the library not long after arriving due to one trader screaming like a banshee at a councillor. We lost a lot, and not only potential greening, from such positions and behaviour. Hopefully everyone can now move on from that and seek to improve outlook, trade, community and more from where we now are at.

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