ACE - Cllr Drury reports back

Last night I attended a meeting of the Association for Commerce in Eltham which brings together traders in the High Street to discuss issues that are important to them. The main part of the meeting was a question and answer session with the local MP Clive Efford, the Editor of SEnine Mark Wall and the Town Centre Manager Alison Harris. There were a range of issues discussed, from trying to establish what each business was paying for its shop, the litter which makes the High Street such a mess and why the government was allowing shops to remain empty by giving their landlords a rates holiday as normal traders struggled on.

It was interesting to meet so many traders and discuss with them the way the High Street is developing. I spoke with the new landlord for the Old Post Office pub, who hopes to reopen it as the OPO in the next few weeks. He hopes to find a market niche between the Banker’s Draft and the Park Tavern, which sounds an interesting prospect with Steeley Dan as the background music. I also met the lady who is signing a lease on the Tudor Barn who hopes to use it as a café, community space, meeting rooms and a restaurant in the evening. I also spoke with a range of already established businesses like the landlord of the Park Tavern and the director of Direct Health 2000 and learnt a lot about people’s views and concerns at the current time.

I think the forum was really useful, with an exchange of views and an effort by Mark Wall to ensure everyone was pushing a more positive line about Eltham. I felt that everyone was a little unhappy that of the big stores only Sainsburys had sent a representative along. There was also a brief update on the current situation, the highlights of which were:-

  • There are currently 15 vacant business units in the main town centre.
  • London and Quadrant Housing Association have acquired the former Eltham Baths site and expects to submit a planning application for it in the near future which should include some sheltered housing for the elderly.
  • Greenwich Enterprise Board has submitted a planning application to redevelop the former Orangery as a new 2 storey building with space for 11 start up businesses.