Stockwell Street Development.

Thought I’d share a conversation I’ve been having with Suzana about the plans for Stockwell St Market. Most annoyingly I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw the plans for this recently – all I can remember is that I wasn’t able to see them very well but that I was staggered by the size of the footprint they intend to take over, erase then redevelop.

Wherever I saw them (and sorry, scratching the head just doesn’t seem to work) I am still trying to work out whether and if so just how much I hate them. I so love our scruffy, bitty, funny little market, that to see it all covered over like any other town in Britain hurts me. The plans aren’t horrid in themselves – uninspired, maybe, unexciting, definitely. I guess it’s what’s called progress and since sundry locally influential groups seem to think it’s ok, it will be happening. I just think they could have been a bit more – well – interesting.

It’s weird, isn’t it, that while I would love to see nice, clean streets and excellent shops and services, I would also be truly sad to see what is, if I’m honest, probably the tattiest bit of Greenwich cleaned up. I’m actually rather fond of those grubby old warehouses, that bloomin’ awful ex-petrol station and the higgledy-piggledy layout that has evolved over the years. Actually, no – that’s not really it. What I will miss is the individuality of the area – the make-do-and-mend feel to the shops, the bizarre mix of stalls, the true one-off feel that even somewhere like Camden can’t quite get any more now it’s been cleaned up for the weekend goths.

But here’s what Suzana thinks:

Im in two minds. When I first came to Greenwich I loved it for the type of people that lived in Greenwich – wanna be actors / singers / mediators / sculptors etc… I met them all (at the Time bar then) and it was one big happy family… And if it had stayed that way – I wouldn’t change it for the world. Now – Its lost loads of that.

So, I agree – I will cry when the dirty market gets closed down… but if it closes down and Greenwich changes for ‘ever, then lets do it all the way and make Greenwich into a real hot spot – Get more trees on the one way system (and not olive trees – they just wont grow!) and get the Thursday night student spew off the pavements. Lets make it classy but cool – Have you been to the Gypsy Moth?? That is what it should be like (food is great) – or dare I say what they are doing with the Admiral Hardy? (I know Its Inc – but it works well with Greenwich) – more so than Inc itself!…I love Olivers and even the Spread Eagle looks like what the rest of Greenwich should look like… Classy but still Greenwich

To answer your question on the development – I have been promised that the buildings will be in keeping (I have my fingers crossed) and when the shops go it – I hope they are truly first class quirky and high street shops alike – I will protest against any further cheap takeaway – I truly hate them!. I want a mini Richmond in Greenwich (Is that a bad thing?) I think it has all the potential but not sure it has the full backing from Greenwich Council… and unfortunately not the clientele (yet).

Finally, I hope they spend the money needed on the design of the whole Cutty Sark area – It doesn’t look good from what I ve seen! But let me know!… and its this sort of stuff that I want to poke my head in and have a say… wish me luck :)

We have to move with the times, but my greatest fear is that they ( the developers; council and all the freeholders ) will get it wrong…….

Phantom Replies:

Hmm. The buildings ‘in keeping?’ That’s a very subjective statement…

I agree with much of what you have to say – not sure about the ‘mini Richmond bit’ – what I love about Greenwich is that it’s not up its own backside, that the people are just that bit more down to earth and diverse than in South West London – but I hear what you’re saying. Good luck with joining the fray…

I’m not sure that the Cutty Sark area will directly benefit from the development at Stockwell St (unless it’s some kind of Section 106 thingy) but I agree we need something to cheer that concrete nonentity up – maybe they could relocate the Stockwell Street market stalls there ;-)

So anyway – Suzana and I are already chatting – but what do other people think? Is it about time we swept those scruffy market stalls off the face of Greenwich and replaced it with something cool? Or are we doing ok as we are?

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