As economic conditions continue to struggle back into life, the news from Wanstead High Street is – to say the least – mixed.
- Judith of Wanstead will be shrinking from its generous double-frontage to a single shop
- The Old Cottage Antiques is looking distinctly antiqued (not to say empty)
- L’Infinito seems to have turned out decidedly finito
- Rio shoe shop is heading off to
Not all is doom, however. The residents’ only parking restrictions on several streets are to end imminently, creating an estimated 120 spaces which will (in theory) be available for people making short trips to Wanstead High Street.
And in another sign of hope, Wanstead is to get its own Mary Portas-inspired “Town Team”.
This week it was reported that, despite the efforts, most of the dozen pilot towns across the UK under Portasâ€™s regeneration scheme had nevertheless suffered economically. However, the Town Team idea seems to be one with legs. Cllr Thomas Chan told Wansteadium that Redbridge plans to allocate funds to support the town centres in Redbridge, setting up Town Teams with membership drawn from businesses, public sector organisations, community groups and the community. “The Town Team idea recommends local town centres to work in partnership with all stakeholders in order to make our high streets more vibrant, improving not just footfalls but also promoting the cultural, environmental, health and wellbeing – among other aspects of the area.”
Views expressed this week on WansteadTalk.com are divided. User Am_Hayer wrote: “[The] state of the food scene in Wanstead is shocking. Shop/Restaurant owners need to seriously up their game otherwise the discerning consumer will continue to hop on the Tube and take their custom elsewhere. Orford Rd, Walthamstow, has managed to create an attractive little strip with good quality eateries. I struggle to find a single comparable example in Wanstead.”
Sean Farrell responded: “I think Wanstead shapes up quite well… [It] has to do battle with Westfield. Gioberti told me people were, inexplicably to me, spending a day at Westfield and having lunch there. I bet it’s partly to blame for the closure of the men’s clothes shop in Wanstead.”
Am_Haher replied: “Wanstead is now full of city professionals with deep pockets and high expectations. I suggest some of our local business people take a trip to Lordship Lane or Marylebone High St. See what these streets offer and the prices they charge. I for one think there would be nothing wrong with some of the better quality chains adding to the mix….Strada, Giraffe…”
In that, at least, he/she will be getting his or her way – Costa Coffee will arrive in August.