Highgate of course has two high streets – the Village High Street and Archway Road – both of which need support in this challenging retail climate. The decline of the High Street makes regular London and national news, with many reports documenting the issues and problems which include rents/rates, congestion/transport and online shopping.
More than 40 people joined us to hear our two speakers who explored the challenges and offered us examples of successful projects around London: Jamie Dean leads on the development of the GLA’s High Streets programme and Jan Kattein, an architect with specialist knowledge in high street regeneration and place making.
Debbie Bourne, Of Butterflies and Bees, gardener, community activist, and part of Transition Kentish Town, curated the evening inviting us to envision a High Street of the future before we joined one of six themed tables where ideas were shared and discussed. Our themes were Transport, Businesses, Intergeneration and Sharing, Sustainability, Experience and Future 1 and 10 years.
Key themes at recurred during the evening were:
- Landlords/councils to support independents/pop-up, young businesses (vs empty shops) and businesses to work together
- New spaces and shops for skill sharing, advice, learning and experiences (vs just retail)
- Making links between generations, social and community spaces
- Improving Pond Square as the ‘heart’ of the village – seating, planting, fountains, events
- Improved public realm – better pavements, new civic space where 271 bus waits, signage, art and pedestrianisation (even temporary)
- Sustainable transport (vs pollution and congestion) electric buses, trishaws and bikes, modern tram up the hill.
More than 100 ideas were collected and our hope is that we can have another event in September to take some of these forward. If you are interested in seeing all the ideas please, here is a complete list of ideas, grouped into themes.
Let us know if you are interested in getting involved in taking them forward by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org