A MAJOR move for funding to help improve the Anerley Road shopping area is being made by a newly-formed group of residents and traders.
Anerley Regeneration Project was formed last summer specifically to make a bid application for Bromley council’s shopping parades improvement initiative (inspired by the Portas pilot) – a fund of £250,000 to be shared among the 76 shopping parades that choose to apply – on a first-come-first-served basis.
The ARP say the poor appearance of the streetscape has been inadequately addressed for some time, leading to an impression of neglect. “Unlike more typical Bromley parades, Anerley Road is a long way from being at the stage of simply ‘needing’ heritage signs or a smart new bench as in the ‘catalogue’ with which we were provided!” say ARP.
The Anerley Regeneration Project believe that a wholesale re-envisioning of the parade would do much more than increase footfall to local shops. “It is our aim that the multi-dimensional aesthetic improvement proposed here would create a sense of place, instill an awareness of heritage and spur a renewal of civic pride that would reflect very positively on the borough as a whole” they say.
Among the issues raised by the Project – and their proposals – are:
LITTER AND FLY-TIPPING:
The piloting of a new, borough-wide strategy for fly-tipped domestic and commercial refuse.
“Resolving the problem of litter and fly-tipping was the number-one priority of most of those consulted. “The densely populated properties above shops on Anerley Road have no rear access and therefore no external refuse receptacle, and the footway is too narrow for the provision of European-style communal bins.
“The resulting accumulation of bags of rubbish around every lamppost, post box and pole on the parade gives the area a shanty-town appearance.
“To augment its current daily collecdtion of rubbish left on the footway, the council might usefully consider a strategy already operating successfully in Lambeth, Camden and Newham where residents and traders are legally compelled to put out refuse only at designated times (two hours prior to collection) and in designated places (on a particular refuse marker)
Improvement of communal recycling facilities:
“Residents who were issued with and make use of recycling boxes expressed dismay when the bid applicants informed them that the council does not separate recycled from general waste during its collections on Anerley Road because it has no brief to operate such a scheme on a street with no storage for containers.
“If their goodwill and compliance is to be maintained, the communal facilities at Ledrington Road need to be extended, improved and better publicised” say ARP.
RUBBISH COLLECTION: “Despite daily sweeping and bin-emptying, and weekly refuse-lorry collections, litter is a significant problem.
“More and larger bins placed at the following strategic points would make a significant impact: at the bus stops next to Crystal Creams (69 Anerley Road) and Tesco Express (72 Anerley Road), outside Miami Fried Chicken (67), outside Napoli Pizza (96) and at the corners of Brunswick Place, Crystal Palace Station Road and Thicket Road.
“Though more expensive than the open-topped Glasden Admiral bin, the Evolution’s covered top has the advantage of not allowing large bags of domestic or commercial to be fly-tipped within it.”
STREET FURNITURE / STREET CLUTTER:
“18 estate agents’ signs mounted above shops were recorded and investigated by the bid applicants, with nine being months or even years out of date. “These have since been removed by request. “A photographic audit undertaken of the parade shows there is little council-generated street clutter other than column-mounted Trimline bins at the bus stop next to 69 Anerley Road (which has no bin at the time of the submission) and outside Miami Fried Chicken 67 Anelety Road and Napoli Pizza 96 Anerley Road
“Pavement renewal was the second highest-ranking request of those whose views were sought. The concrete dished channel bisecting the pavement on the odd-numbered side of the parade no longer appears to serve any useful purpose and is an unsightly hindrance and a proven safety hazard, having caused several among those polled – including two of the bid applicants – to sustain ankle injuries.
“ARP call for the footway on the approach to the bus stop next to 69 Anerley Road to be relaid. “This section of footway has sunk and is frequently flooded and therefore impassable after rain.
“The parade has a high number of takeaways and planning permission has just been refused for another. “Regrettably, some customers, particularly those of Miami Fried Chicken, discard their takeaway boxes and/or contents on the pavement. This results in grease stains on the paving. “A deep clean would remedy this.”
The provision of more street lights on the odd-numbered side of the parade.
“Traders on this side of the parade note that there is an uneven distribution of street lights, with just four, in two clusters of two at either end (compared to the seven opposite), and raised concerns with regard to both property and pedestrian safety.”
The commission of window vinyls to enhance the appearance of long-term empty units.
“Local resident Lee Newham, of Designed by Good People, who worked with the council on both the Bromley North Village branding and the Penge regeneration initiative (see http://whatifpenge.wordpress.com/tag/designed-by-good-people/), has advised the steering group on a number of ways to not only make empty units look more attractive but also attract potential lessees.
“These include featuring on vinyl sheets that adhere to and entirely cover the inside of a shop window magnified photographs of the historical street scene with alluring statements such as ‘Locals would like this to be… a bakery… a cafe… a greengrocer… to let this shop, call xxxxx’
FLOWERBED The recruitment of a new local sponsor for the flowerbed at the junction of Anerley Road and Brunswick Place.
”This flowerbed is in a prominent position on the parade and was until recently part-funded by corporate sponsorship, but this has expired. Crystal Palace ward Cllr Tom Papworth approached south-west London community-garden project The Edible Bus Stop http://www.theediblebusstop.org/?page_id=9 , which works with local people to plant up and maintain under-developed council land.
“Renewing this flowerbed will not only improve the aesthetics of the street, but give those without a garden a growing space of their own, promoting community cohesion.”.
COMMISSION OF A NEW MURAL…..
“The owner of the property adjacent to 69 Anerley Road has agreed to allow a mural depicting the local area’s history to be painted on his currently blank wall (planning permission for a commercial advertisement having been declined) as a display of civic pride.
“A professional mural artist, Angela Menezes, has been approached and has expressed an interest in enlisting the assistance of local youth to promote community engagement and help deter subsequent vandalism.
AND THE RE-COLOURING OF AN EXISTING ONE
“In 2007 a mural was painted on the wall opposite the far right corner of Crystal Palace station by a team comprising Crystal Palace park rangers and local children. “Although the design (depicting trains and dinosaurs) is apt for the location, mirroring that of another mural on the back wall of the park cafe, and also acts as signage to the park, it is faded and would benefit from re-colouring.
“The signage might also be usefully extended to point visitors to the National Sports Centre and the Capel Manor College mini farm, which are currently difficult for newcomers to find without asking for directions.”
In their application bid ARP has also said: “Anerley Road/Hill is a linear shopping parade on a radial route and, as such, enjoys high visibility from passing traffic. “A gateway to Bromley, it is a place where crucial first impressions of the governance and economic prosperity of the borough are forged.
“As well as attracting the custom of shoppers on foot, the parade has plentiful parking directly outside many of its shops, making it a convenient stopping-off point for vehicular trade.
“Crystal Palace station – which has experienced an increase in commuters since the opening of the London Overground line in 2011 – benefits from a surge of customers in peak hours.
“Anerley is an area of higher-than-borough-average social deprivation. “According to the joint strategic needs assessment 2011, Crystal Palace ward has the highest level of unemployment (along with Penge & Cator, Cray Valley East & West and Mottingham & Chislehurst North wards) in Bromley. “All of these wards currently have an unemployment rate that is higher than both the Great Britain and London average. “Properties above shops are, in the main, over-populated by transient tenants, many living in sub-standard accommodation.
“Despite being within a conservation area, the parade itself has been subject to underinvestment since the redeployment of the town-centre manager and, exacerbated by the economic downturn, has suffered high vacancy rates, frequent ‘churn’ and subsequent decline.
“That said, there are heartening recent signs of stabilisation and even, in the past six months, nascent resurgence. “However, this is tentative and piecemeal, and requires urgent nurturing if it is to continue and flourish.
“Although there is no formal business forum or residents group that currently represents the parade, there is considerable on-the-ground support and a number of vocal and active locals keen to play their part as community ambassadors in a regeneration project that is already informally underway.
“There are around 40 independent small businesses, two symbol affiliates and one multiple, Tesco Express, on the parade. “Eleven units currently stand empty.
“Since the closure of the sub-post office many years ago, there has been no social hub. “It is hoped that, by building on the positive relationship fostered over many months with Tesco, via both its chief executive’s office and area-management team, that one might be re-established in a new setting, with the store acting not only as a more proactive economic anchor, but also fulfilling its stated ‘community promises’ to be a good neighbour and have a positive impact on its environment.”