So apparently Sidcup is on the up, this lesser known London Suburb has had a major injection of regeneration fund courtesy of the Mayor of London (OLF) and Bexley council matching their contribution.
£1.8m was awarded to Bexley council to help revive this once bustling high street.
A programme designed to help:
- Existing businesses who were struggling to stay afloat
- Expanding businesses: to increase the occupancy rate on the high street by helping small and established businesses who are ready to take that next step into occupying a shop of their own
- New Businesses: who are just starting out, possibly selling online, but wished to test trade in a safe retail environment with very low risks or overheads or for a service style business like a graphic designer or animator who would benefit from working alongside like minded businesses to share skills, knowledge and best practices.
The team, which was pulled together by programme manager Rod Lean, were all committed to the vision of the project and understanding the lasting impact this would have for Sidcup worked tirelessly to ensure a positive delivery was achieved.
The BBC featured the project on the 5th September during both their 1pm and 6pm news, which highlighted exactly how far Sidcup has come and the impact the regeneration has had on the high street.
As with most regeneration projects, getting local community buy in is always going to be your best ally however not always achievable.
It is to be expected that even carefully planned regeneration projects of this scale will pose some disruption, however the business person in me believes that it is a small price to pay in order to achieve long term growth and restore vibrancy to a once bustling high street. The customers are there they just need to be encouraged back to shop local.
Sidcup is one of the shortest high streets I have ever walked along, but the businesses are really friendly, from the likes of Kaz, from Kaz”s restaurant who would always keep a little look out for you if he sees a traffic warden sniffing around your car, to Jan at finally framed who is more than happy to lend you an easel for a window display, Mizen’s shoe repairs and key cutting service who would add extra holes to a belt or shoe strap for a simple donation into the Jimmy Mizen foundation fund, to Sue Batmaz a business tour de force who owns several businesses on the high street. .These are just a few of the 30 + businesses which have benefited from the Instore for Sidcup project in one way or another.
Saturday September 6th marked the celebration of all the regeneration work in Sidcup and the opening of The Learning Centre (TLC) formerly Adult Education.
My colleague who is too shy to be named and who would probably kill me… did an amazing job in organising the Big Dance Bus coming to Sidcup. The Big Dance kept us entertained for 4 hrs and even did the Electric Slide, yep the Electric slide came to Sidcup!
One of the many legacies of this project will be Sidcup & Co and one of the advantages of having a shop on the high street is being able to quantify the sales impact that events like these brings to the area, if Sidcup & Co sales were an indication of how much people and residents enjoyed themselves then the big dance bus coming to Sidcup was a resounding success.
If you would like to find out about the Instore or Sidcup programme please click here