Thursday, 22 December 2011

£500k "facelift" for Uxbridge Road abandoned

...due to lack of interest! Back in October 2008 our Council made half a million pounds available for businesses up and down the Uxbridge Road to smarten up their shopfronts and renovate the look of the street. £45,000 was there for the taking, each, in order to improve the shops.

The hope was to breathe a bit of life back into the main high street of Shepherd's Bush at a time when the cold winds of recession were already starting to bite.

At the time Councillor Nick Botterill, Deputy Leader of H&F said this:
“Small businesses and local traders are the lifeblood of our economy and this council will do everything it can to help them".

“Westfield London can act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of Shepherds Bush but this council will never forget the small and medium sized businesses that have historically given this area its edge.”
But - and here's the bit that amazes me - despite publicising the scheme directly to businesses and through the media not one business took the Council up on the offer ... and after three years the scheme has been shelved. The money has been withdrawn, and the oppportunity is now gone.

What were the businesses doing?! We've seen the emergence on neighbouring Askew Road a business network which seems to be going great guns and it surely can't be a total coincidence that that part of the Bush is now taking on a completely different air, winning rave reviews in listings magazines and with quality businesses beginning to invest in the road again.

The fate of this scheme seems to suggest something on Uxbridge Road might be needed too - unless it is to be completely colonised by fried chicken shops instead.

In the meantime, and just because it's Christmas, here's Monty Python's take on the Uxbridge Road:

10 comments:

  1. How could you improve on the fried chicken shops? They have already achieved perfection!

    What a feckless bunch of gimps.

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  2. I'd be interested to know the reasons the businesses turned those funds down. If there were an opportunity for it, I'd have done it in a heartbeat but maybe there is something I'm missing?

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  3. Assuming local businesses were aware of this scheme - and I didn't see any publicity about it - renovating the front of the shops takes time, effort, and is unlikely to draw in more customers.

    After all, one fried chicken shop is similar to another. One ethnic grocery store is relatively similar to another.

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  4. I dont think you could be more wrong if you tried - as the experience with Askew Road demonstrates!

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  5. I disagree, Chris. Yes... Askew Road is looking nicer - but that's NOT thanks to existing businesses improving their appearance, it's only thanks to more upmarket businesses moving in.

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  6. Agreed above. The sort of shopkeepers who open chicken take-aways and discount places just don't seem to be interested in improving their premises.

    Look at the row of shops that have been left to deteriorate that everyone is talking about near the market. The shopkeepers just don't seem to get it.

    It's to do with cultural expectations. But there are new businesses opening up with higher standards. That's when things change.

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  7. Re-modelling a shopfront costs money, time and effort even if it is subsidised.

    Your average 'ethnic grocery store' owner isn't interested in improving the environment.

    They don't seem to notice, let alone care. The sooner we get more professionally run shops in Shepherds Bush, the better.

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  8. Remodelling a shop, at best, will only get you new customers who are passing by. A few of them may become regulars, if they happen to live in the area. But otherwise they'll just move on. Thus the financial worth for remodelling is not proven.

    And that's before you factor in the requirement to shut the shop for two weeks - during which time your regular customers may drift to another shop and just end up going there repeatedly due to habit.

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  9. I remember a bit of publicity about it. It seemed to make business sense only to newly opening shops otherwise it was just appealing to a sense of "civic pride". If I remember correctly the subsidy was quite small & they seemed to be offering design guidance more than anything.

    Some of those shops look third-world & they just seem to have no interest in anything but cash. I don't think your average 'corner shop' owner would care. A lot of them don't even seem to want to keep the inside of their shops cared-for let alone the outside.

    Some of those shops in Goldhawk Road that are fighting demolition are like that. Where has their sense of "civic pride" been? Non existent until someone pointed out that the properties might be replaced. Even then they don't seem to understand that the condition of the shops affects the lives of other people. Their protestations are all self-centred ones.

    They don't seem to have a sense of responsibility for the common culture or heritage, just maintaining a daily turnover.

    We're taking their cash. To hell with their standards.

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  10. Askew Road Resident6 January 2012 at 16:27

    Upmarket shops in Askew Road? Pull the other one. That's only one, Ginger Pig. We have a new clothes shop and a liquor store. Another store at the end has cleaned itself up but that's it.
    We added a florist about 4 months ago too.

    What upmarket shops are you on about? Askew Road actually gives a toss about its appearance.

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