London Road was finalist in the 2014 Great British High Street awards – “Local Centre” category.
The awards are part of the “Great British High Street” initiative associated with Mary Portas’ government-backed drive to revitalise the High Street. Penny Mordaunt MP, minister for shops, presented the awards at a ceremony 11/12/14 in Westminster.
The regeneration of London Road has been rapid and obvious to all, and has bucked the trend for revitalisation which experts have said takes decades to achieve.
There has been a combination of factors coming together to bless London Road – the re-launch of the Open Market, the prospect of 351 students spending money (?) where there was a huge empty building, the arts-led revival epitomised in the Emporium, Council initiatives such as the Level, and Providence Place Gardens (still under construction), and the Portas Pilot project. The LAT too has played a significant part bringing together the various parties and, as a specific example, in challenging street drinking at the supply side, and participating in “Sensible on Strength” which has given the area a major lift.
The £83,000 Portas money has been well invested under the guidance of the Town Team chaired by Ann Townsend of London Road Traders Association – pictured above, right. Town Team Manager Joe Nichols made a huge impact with the visitlondonroad website, and various other marketing and promotional activities and actioning the whole Portas project. There has been a particular benefit to the area from the Town Centre Liaison Officers who have played a big part in making the area safe and feel safe.
Portas + Arts Council money combined to enable the uplift to Elder Place – the commissioned murals – which the LAT raised as an issue and did the spade-work for over previous months.
Thanks also to Council Officer Rob Dawson from the economic development department who has been a great support for London Road.
All in all, we have a lot to be grateful for in the London Road area – it has been becoming a better place for those who live, work, trade, and shop here.