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Bermondsey Street Saturation Policy

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Sunday 9 October 2011 9.25pm
Thanks Bermond I see that we were talking about the same issue here. I believe that the only place at moment that it is really standing out is the marvelous Garrison. But a bar as well can reach the quality of a good drinking bar where people can seat and enjoying their drinks. Maybe with a bit of creativity in the format as well..
Sunday 9 October 2011 11.12pm

The purpose of my comments was not to select any particular exisiting premises for praise but rather to indicate what I think the street can cope with and what it cannot. Personally I think there are better establishments than the Garrison in the street and ones which cause less of an impact for their neighbours.
Sunday 9 October 2011 11.19pm
As a member of the 'Action Group' that has aroused such suspicion in some quarters I thought it would be helpful to provide some facts in response to the misconceptions that have emerged on this thread. Sorry for the long post but information been in short supply over this application and its wider implications.

We are an informal group of more than 50 local residents who came together in August to object to the licensing application at Mainray House. We are also concerned that the community was not consulted properly about the change of use that was granted earlier in the year (local residents that were on the Council's list for consultation about the proposed bar/restaurant did not receive letters informing them of the plans and were therefore denied the opportunity to comment on the proposal).

It should also be pointed out that far from being a 'tiny restaurant' the site at Mainray House incorporates an extensive area behind the former 'Terra Plana' shop (which is about a third of the total area). The applicant is planning a large bar area giving on to the street (with plenty of scope for ‘vertical drinking’), a lounge area and then a restaurant behind. The license application also includes a request for live music. It would certainly be one of the larger licensed premises in the area and would not be appropriate in a quiet, predominantly residential stretch of the street that is home to young families in very close proximity and directly opposite a park that is popular with the whole community.

Apart from ensuring that Southwark Council follows its own proper procedures regarding the planning and licensing of Mainray House the main aim of the group is to work together with other local community groups to get the council to review the licensing policy for the longer term to ensure that we preserve the mixed use character of the street.

Visitors and residents currently enjoy a diverse mix of restaurants, businesses and shops on the street. But that is surely the point - it is a mixture. There has been a proliferation of new licensed premises on the street recently and we feel that it is important to Balance the needs of the whole community - residents and business alike. This is not a NIMBY campaign to resist change and preserve a comfortable status quo. On the contrary it is about preserving variety and diversity in the face of a type of business that is more than adequately represented already. This application is a case in point - a perfectly viable retail space is being lost to make way for yet another bar. The street is surely reaching a 'tipping point' with regard to the number of licensed premises it can accommodate before the diverse character of the street is lost and the quality of life of residents is diminished. Policies to protect mixed use are already in place for Tower Bridge Road and The Blue, so why not try to ensure this is the case on Bermondsey Street?

The action group is not a closed circle, people are entirely free to join (or not - as their personal opinions dictate) and we have no political axe to grind. There is no formal involvement from BSAP but inevitably some BSAP members are also in support of the group’s objectives.

Some of the misunderstandings on this thread are clear evidence of the lack of proper consultation with the local community about what is proposed for Mainray house and the action group is an attempt to remedy this and to open a more effective dialogue with the council in future. Surely this is an ‘agenda’ that will benefit all residents of the street?
Monday 10 October 2011 12.52am
Hi BiscuitDaddy.

I agree with the sentiment of your post and your concerns.

Can I ask you a question:

How would you maintain that mix you talk about?

Boozers and bars all thrive whether other kind of shops do not.

Is it the local population who chose drink rather than anything else?

Can the council plan the kind of shops that will populate the street, if they fail to make profit?

I would love to have a better mix, but how can you attract different retails or make them survive?

Thank you
Monday 10 October 2011 9.12am
in short Orione you can't. There is simply not the footfall to sustain a large retail premises on that site, especially with the looming economic crisis. In all likelihood it would revert to a non descript office.

I must admit reading BiscuitDaddys description of the proposed new restaurant/bar I am even more in favour...
Monday 10 October 2011 11.48am
Me too Shaggy!

Is there an action group where I can support the proposed venture?
Monday 10 October 2011 12.03pm
lucysalisbury wrote:
Me too Shaggy!
Is there an action group where I can support the proposed venture?

Hi Lucy,

Would you say the same thing if an art gallery were proposed on the site?

Like me, you seemed quite keen on the White Cube development and posted this message on the SE1 forum earlier this year:

lucysalisbury Wednesday 2 March 2011 7.05pm

"I think it's great news too. Hopefully will persuade other art galleries to move in"

Are you still of the same opinion ?
Monday 10 October 2011 12.21pm
At the end of the day any tenant has to earn enough to pay the rent.
At Borough Market it has become obvious that you need to punt food and or drink to pay the rent just to have a market stall.
In Borough generally I would say evening visitor and esp. drinking visitor numbers have shot up by severalfold in the last few months.

Trying to push one's way to get home or to get to an eaterie is now as bad almost any night of the week as mid Saturday morning at the market trying to buy a carrot!!

I regularly frequent Bermondsey St (eat, drink, wander) but dont live there. Tends to be day time or earlier evening rather than later.

Where I live three pubs very nearby have closed - sign of the times - and the noise levels late at night and most of all Sunday afternoons have dropped considerably.

BTW is anyone in or near Bermondsey St truly STARVING?
If yes I suspect they dont have access to this forum!

Note to self - shall I check my speeling......??
Monday 10 October 2011 1.45pm
hi ceity slicker -

Yes of course. I'm in favour of lots of interesting things coming into the neighbourhood. Why do you ask?
Monday 10 October 2011 3.34pm
Afternoon, Lucy,

I suppose the thing is that you can't have both an art gallery and a bar in the same space (pace the Igloo and Cave mixed flower/gift/wine format on Bermondsey Street!). If new bars are the default setting, where do your wished-for art galleries go ?

So given your previous expression of enthusiasm for new art galleries opening on Bermondsey Street on the back of White Cube (ta-raaa...opening preview tomorrow night!) and given the fact that the former Terra Plana property is only about 50 metres away from White Cube, I was intrigued to find out which of the two you would prefer in that location, if it was up to you : an art gallery or a bar ?
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