Monday, 26 March 2007

The greatest wasted (retail) opportunity in Forest Hill?

This place ought to be a coffee shop, or gallery, or restaurant, or ... something. But it isn't.

To the best of my knowledge it has been empty for years, and just sits there, unused.

According to "BrianK" on;

"The space opposite Tilt used to be a Midland Bank and was reputed to have been bought by a local as an art gallery for his wife. I watched through open doors as a stunning transformation was made on the interior and then...nothing happened. "

I have seen numerous posts on that site about how much a certain local entrepreneur would like to take over that site, but always to no avail. It has been mooted as any of the above, but I think that a decent coffee shop, possibly including the art gallery element, would be a great idea. It has some outdoor space as well as frontage on Dartmouth Road, and it has "presence" - not another anonymous converted shopfront.

I have only been here two years, but I cannot believe that if someone owned it they would not prefer to lease it out to ANY business rather than see it lie empty, even if they planned on selling it on with the East London Line premium in the near future.

This is truly a wasted opportunity to provide a useful, central business for Forest Hill residents, and to improve the profile of the road. The only businesses I can recall opening on that road in the last few years are more friend chicken shops, a tattoo parlour (formerly a condom shop) and (the only useful one) a party shop.

Surely we can do better?

And now, what about the lots that Aceri, formerly Latitude, and McDonalds used to occupy?


Melitzilla said...

Hi Rob, We have just purchased our first house in Forest Hill and I am puzzeled by the lack of a coffee shop! Is this because all those rund down loking places are holding out until the East London line is up and running?

Robert McIntosh said...

First of all, welcome to the area! Congratulations!

There isn't actually a total lack of coffee shops (check out Provender, Dartmouth Arms, The Capitol, and a few others - the DA being the best coffee) but I agree there is no dedicated shop, ... yet.

There have been numerous aborted attempts but it will happen soon, I'm sure.

I imagine (and hear through the grapevine) that some landlords are asking for ELL premiums (for example the ex-McDonalds site), but this cannot be the only reason.

Another reason is the lack of adequate space, with most places being either too large or too small, or in the wrong places.

As a new resident who seems to be interested in these things, I highly recommend that you check out to keep up to date with all these developments.

... and subscribe to my blog of course


thanks for stopping by. You aren't considering such a venutre by any chance, are you?

Richard said...

I always fancied buying the old bank and having it as a rather unusual residence... I have half a suspicion that HSBC may own it and may only be dimly aware of its existence, following its acquistion of Midland Bank. A lot of these massive organisations don't really have a good handle on what property they own.

Robert McIntosh said...

that is possible, although there does appear to be someone living above the property, so I would be surprised (unless this is a squatter hoping to claim rights) and I have heard several stories to the contrary.

I wonder whether we could find out who owns it. Can't be too difficult in this internet age. I shall investigate.

K Pitter said...

Hello Robert,

Did you find out who owns either the Old Bank or Aceri. I am a Forest Hill Trader searching for a larger premises.

Thank you.

Robert McIntosh said...

no, I have not. I didn't really follow it up to be honest as no information was forthcoming.

The Bank has not changed at all in the last year.

Aceri took down the mobile number to call for enquiries many months ago, then some work seemed to happen, then nothing.

I can't believe this myself, but there you are. There must be some way to find out from the Council who owns the current lease, don't you think?

What sort of business are you looking to create, o can't you say?

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