Just heard that Haringey has refused planning permission for turning the shop at 51 Grand Parade, currently a Polish deli, into a third section of the adjacent Turkish restaurant. This probably isn't the end of it, but at least we know that the planners are listening to objections and abiding by their own policy of retaining diverse commercial provision.
Without intervention Green Lanes doesn’t stand a chance. Remember Cyber cafes? Back in the day every other shopfront seemed to be one. It was a bandwagon to be jumped on and when computing at home became cheap they folded like a house of cards. The worst people to decide what the best is for a high street are business people. They on the whole are very short sighted and follow what seems to be working for neighbouring businesses. That’s why GL is almost end to end eateries that all try to get a slice of a market that remains the same size.
I'm supportive of a guiding governmental hand, in theory, Michael. But is there much evidence of its proven efficacy to date?
Following the Portas project almost a decade ago, we had 'Town Teams' designed to respond to the high streets challenge. I'm not sure that got us very far. Have any of the UK initiatives had any real success. Have any of the approaches tried elsewhere worked? Perhaps they have, but I'd like to see the evidence.
I'm not saying that nothing can be done. Far from it. I'm sure it can. But I think it'll need real local leadership. The question is do we have it at either the borough or neighbourhood level? And are we prepared to contribute? Our current neighbourhood leadership decided to create something akin to what we have today. Is that what we want? If not, we have to be more actively involved. Is there the local capacity?
We've recently had the announcement of the latest UK scheme to save the high street - the £675 million Future High Streets Fund (something Harringay could bid for).
This latest scheme was based on some research that identified the factors that lead to high street success. They were split into those that we can realistically do something about and those that we can't. It then listed the top 25 factors that local areas can tackle.
Those top 25 are listed on page 12 of the attached report. It makes interesting reading and is worth considering in relation to Harringay.
But what is this intervention? Reserving premises for retail only works if people actually want to open retail businesses in them. I don't see any evidence that this would happen, and even if it did, that it would be more than just the usual mobile phone accessory shops etc that we already have lots of (in which case frankly I'd rather have more food options).
Ask yourself this question. Where do you actually spend your money? If you want to do something other than eat, who benefits from your cash? Apart from buying the daily paper and getting the odd thing at Iceland almost all of my money goes out of the immediate area.
I'm not sure that I agree that Harringay's high street is dying, Michael. It's most certainly undergone a significant shift. It's no longer a thriving local town centre. But, it is pretty successful at what those who've been shaping it, wanted it to be. It now serves as a hub for a population, many of whom don't live in Harringay but who who flock here to eat, groom, socialise and do some limited shopping, much as people do with Westfield, but the offering is different. It works as what it is.
With its high number of shop premises, an arguably somewhat forbidding linear format, lack of open community spaces, and proximity of other good 'town centres', there's a real challenge for it to regain its place as a retail shopping area serving a more locally-based population.
To an extent it can. The Use Classes order defines the types of business that can operate. While this order can not decide what kind of things a shop can sell it can be used to try and deliver a healthy mix of uses in a high street. At the moment A2, A3, and A5 dominate Green Lanes