I don't think that I have ever disguised my dislike of Wood Green High Street and it’s never ending pound shops, takeaways and betting shops - Tottenham High Road is almost identical. So fed up of sitting and moaning about it, this weekend I decided to take some action.
Many of you will be aware of the current discussions taking place about rejuvenating Britain’s High Streets with Mary Portas even being appointed government advisor to look into how we encourage more independent retailers back into the high St and we revive this great institution.
Yesterday I had a great conversation with Mary Portas and also the lovely chaps at the Big Green Book shop and with the Karamela cafe on Coburg Road to see if we thought there would be interest locally in creating something exciting on our High St.
This could be anything from helping independent retailers to set up shop in Wood Green and in Tottenham, to ask Landlords to let empty shops be used for pop up shops and to charge a nominal rent for them, to encourage more of a 'scene' in Wood Green and in Tottenham, we have some great things already going on at the Big Green Bookshop and at Karamela and at the Chocolate Factory and yet no-one really talks about them.
I am also keen to work with some of the bigger stores already located in the High St to get them to put their hands in their pockets and help us clear up the High St by donating plants etc to create a garden in the sky to rival Crouch End and the new Roof Garden project taking place in Dalston
I am not talking about gentrification here or turning Wood Green into the next Crouch End just about the community coming together and taking ownership of its High Street and the local area and making it a better place for everyone to visit.
I am sure that everyone has a lot of great ideas and if you would like to get involved I will be setting up a community working group it really doesn’t matter what your talent is if you feel that you have something to contribute I would love to hear from you. Karamela have very kindly agreed to host a get together. This is going to be a huge task but if we work together we can make change happen.
Ok so things are hotting up on Twitter - lots of interest from local residents and also a plea from Holloway Road to make their street nicer!
I have also e-mailed the Marketing chap at the Mall to try and get them on board to support and help out.
I have also emailed Lynne Featherstone and David Lammy for their support.
The Hornsey Gazette are also interested, what I really need is even mor support from local people - if you are small retailer who is interested in a pop up shop or have experience of setting up street markets or community programmes I need your help!!!!!! if you would like to follow me over on Twitter I am tweeeting as @fetherqueen
ok so things are hotting up with our change wood green campaign. Last night I had a brief chat with the organisers of the Cally Road festival and they are doing something very similar and revamping their area with pop up shops and encouraging more of a community feel. I am meeting up with them this week to get lots of advice on how they made this happen, they have also offered us a pitch at the festival to spread the Wood Green word!
As I said on the London festivals post the cally road festival looks fantastic - they have all sorts going on so do take a trip down and support them
we are now on email as well at firstname.lastname@example.org so get in touch if you want toget involved. I am hoping to set up an informal meeting next week for anyone who is interested.
you can also follow me on twitter @featherqueen
"I am not talking about gentrification here or turning Wood Green into the next Crouch End.." - thank God!
I don't enjoy visiting Wood Green High Road but clearly the punters like it - they vote with their feet like everyone else. If there are empty shops, by all means try to fill them - but you can't just go in and start evicting JD Sports etc.
By the way pound shops are cheap and with a lot of people in N22 / N17 without a lot of money I can't see their popularity dipping any time soon. And why should it?
um we are not about to evict anyone! thats not really how this works, all we are trying to do is to support more smaller independent retailers back into the high st and also encouraging punters to think about choosing smaller retailers and not just the high st giants.
Its also about creating a community within the area that we all live in and about supporting the exisiting opportunites within our area that people may not actually know exist.
Thanks for taking the time to comment though
Yes that's great but hang on a moment.
Where would these independent retailers and burger vans etc fit in? And who would use them?
Wood Green is full of shops. As far as I am aware there are no vacant lots. There is no room at all on the pavements for street sellers - it's a battle to get up to the mall on a Saturday - and the spaces in side streets are taken already by fruit and veg sellers etc. You say you don't want anyone evicted which I accept but what is your proposal?
Again all valid points,
The Meat Wagon isnt a burger van its a really sucessful pop up burger joint based in South London - if you read any review of them people from all over London flock there every night of the week to eat, this is true of many independent retailers of course it isnt just local people that are going to shop in these places half the point is to make it a destination shopping place to encourage people from all London to come and visit and enjoy.
There are actually empty shop units in Wood Green - the hotly debated empty old burger king unit opposite Turnpike Lane station is one, of course the hard part is negotiating with the landlord to use the space but its not impossible!
I have also contacted the management centre at the Mall to see how pop up space s could work for them as well - as I said earlier its not about forcing people out, its about working with existing retailers and offering a variety of experiences for people.
I think its a little offensive to imply that local people wouldnt use these facilities - most of the people I know who live in N22 and N17 (me included!)are professional who do have disposable income and tend to go elsewhere to eat drink and shop because Wood Green doesnt offer them anything. Besides which if we all sat there saying this won't work and we can't change something then nothing would ever happen - which is exactly why I want to make something change, this kind of movement is happening all over London, Wood Green should be part of it too.
Of course we are just at the start of our journey and working
You really think a burger bar is a good example of making Wood Green better ?
I don't think we are short of fast food joints or the attendant litter. I learned the other day that a burger pattie is at least 20% fat.
I was thinking of what I go to Tottenham Hale or to the West End for -
Computer shops - there used to be two
Decent selection of recorded music - and yes - the scores
Musical instruments - reeds, pickups, manuscript paper, etc
Wallpaper and paint
That's just a few off the top of my head - but please, no more food outlets.
I'm taking it that there's lots of unspoken support there for Tamara and all the energy she's putting in to try and find a way of making her neighbourhood better?
My Twitter feed has been going mad!!
just heard from the very fantastic meat wagon a pop up burger bar over in Peckham and they are up for coming to Wood Green - if anyone isnt familiar with them they do the best burgers in London and have had people travelling from all over to sample them.
Richard from Bowes and Bounds has also been in touch as they are doing similar there too - its great to know that lots of people within the community are thinking about similar things and trying to make a difference!