That was the bid. We became one of the twenty seven pilot sites and granted £195,000 to make it happen. Nine months on – where are we?
Project co-ordinator Louise Brooks posted an update in the forum here:
The gist is that SEE3 has opened ‘Jill’ hub at 27 Sydenham Road (next to Snappy Snaps). Pop-up shops have appeared in Station Approach, Kirkdale and in Forest Hill. One, The Butchery, in Forest Hill has been a great success and is now establishing itself on a permanent basis to the delight of many.
The Sydenham Hub
The Kirkdale shop has closed but will be re-opening with a new tenant (presently trading from the ex-Floozone shop). Station Approach has closed as it has been permanently leased to another convenience store.
Does this mean SEE3 is only a partial success?
Well if you do it by numbers then yes. But that is not what SEE3 is about. It is about giving new people with new ideas a chance to try them out for real in shops between permanent tenants. Some will not catch the public eye and will fail. But without the great loss that would happen in a conventional start up. Those that succeed can move on to raising the capital to establish permanently based on a proven trading record.
It will give people wanting to enter retailing a chance to do something different, to take risks. The successes will bring something new to the High Street that has become so dominated by shopkeepers having to play safe or risk all.
Remember the problem with Sydenham Road and Kirkdale is not occupancy. Its very high compared to our supposed better off neighbouring Beckenham. It just lacks the vibrancy and diversity necessary to make it a destination to the benefit of all our retailers. Not to mention being the centre of our community.
Update April 12th
Clean-up day to get Jill looking pretty for spring and summer. Louise has promised an intriguing link-up with the Arts Festival. But what? All our inteprid reporter can report is that the SAF Director was out back auditioning our Town Centre Manager.
Station Approach, the first Sydenham pop-up