Home > Neighbourhood plan > Retail and work

Key issues

  • The balance of retail is changing with smaller independent stores, which are seen as integral to the character of the neighbourhood, being replaced by multiples.
  • The high number of separate landlords in the area prevents a curatorial approach to retail in the neighbourhood. Where local people desire a mix of retail to suit different needs, owners are prone to seeking the tenant able to pay the highest rent.  This can lead to homogenisation, serving commuters and tourists rather than residents or other kinds of shoppers
  • The neighbourhood lacks anchor stores which draw shoppers to the area and can complement independent shops
  • The success of retail in the area will be linked to the development of Waterloo Station and there is a need to involve Network Rail and LCR in discussion to align long term ambitions of the Station operator and the community.
  • There is a shortage of office space in the area and in particular offices that support the needs of young and small businesses – i.e. spaces that are affordable and flexible in their tenure and size.
  • More could be done to ensure local jobseekers benefit from local job creation, unlocked through development.

POLICIES: Retail and Work

No Policy
P8 The neighbourhood will encourage development that provides retail units with the following characteristics:

i.          Interiors fitted out to RIBA category B standard

ii.          A range of unit sizes including units with shop floors under 20 sq/m

P9 Policies relating to the Lower Marsh and The Cut CAZ frontage:

a) Commercial premises in the Lower Marsh and The Cut CAZ frontage must not represent less than 70% A1 and A3 Use classes combined.

b) Conversion from shops to residential on these streets will not be permitted and the neighbourhood will support applications to convert ground floor residential to A1 or A3 use, with the exception of the New Cut Housing Coop and Styles House.

c) Intensification above shops will be encouraged, subject to other policies including design, , heritage and open space.

P10 The neighbourhood will encourage schemes which provide office or workspace with the following characteristics:

i.        Are able to be subdivided to encourage flexible use and co-working and/or

ii.        Include a range of unit sizes including offices of under 1000 sq/m

iii.      Are able to provide accommodation for a range of jobs which are accessible to local people and/or

iv.      Commit to working with third party employment providers and local schools to provide work placements, apprenticeships and training support for unemployed people.

The loss of office space larger than 1000sq/m will not be supported.

P11 The neighbourhood will support proposals which enable physical infrastructure improvements to support the development and servicing of the street market at Lower Marsh, including:

i.         Electricity points

ii.        Larger storage

iii.        Refuse storage

iv.        Improved lighting

v.        Improved seating

Other guidance

  • SoWN supports the use of CIL or S106 to subsidise affordable office space for start-ups and enterprise activity – the proximity to local universities provides an opportunity to develop local entrepreneurial talent via subsidies granted by a community body.
  • SoWN supports the use of covenants to restrict the proliferation of specific types of uses in close proximity (e.g. supermarkets, betting shops, coffee shops). Covenants must be agreed by the landowner but are an opportunity to prevent changes of use where such changes would be detrimental to the economic health of the street.
  • Consideration should be given to how changes to business rates allowing for local setting of rates levels can be managed to encourage the establishment of businesses which would serve an unmet need in the community
  • SoWN supports the Planning Authorities’ policies to strengthen protections against the loss of office space in the neighbourhood area, and encourage applications for new provision to come forward. A significant loss of office space threatens the balance of the neighbourhood, including the local retail economy.  Central London exemptions to government guidance allowing for office to residential conversion without planning consent are being modified and may erode this further.

2 Comments, RSS

  • Charlotte Axelson

    says on:
    December 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Although there are many mini supermarkets’, it is difficult to do a full family shop locally. Mini supermarkets seem to concentrate on the type of shopping local worker and commuters will pick up in addition to heir main shop – ready meals, sandwiches and stop gaps.

    As local shop rents now are very high, perhaps the neighbourhood organisation could acquire a lease and sub-let mini units within it to small local start-ups?

  • Jack G

    says on:
    January 6, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I live on Blackfriars Road and am very concerned about the rash of brand mini-supermarkets and chain coffee shops which has spread through the area.

    In the last three years I’ve seen the opening of three Sainsburys (The Cut, Blackfriars Road, Great Suffolk Street), three Tescos (The Cut, Waterloo Road, Great Suffolk Street), and one M&S (Waterloo Road). Nearly all of these have replaced independent shops, for example, the Sainsburys on The Cut replaced the trio of a stationers, a homewares store and a laundrette, presumably all forced out by severe rent hikes. These companies appear to be engaged in a detrimental battle for dominance of the area – they all open within months of each other and are located either directly opposite or adjacent to one another. The same is true of the likes of Prett and Costa.

    While these shops do bring some tangible and welcome benefits for residents and users of the area (the cash machines being a notable one), as Ms Axelson notes, they do not serve those of us who live here well enough. It is frustrating that I cannot get a “full” shopping trip from visiting just one of these as the stock is tailored to workers and visitors rather than residential customers. I have also found the range of what is stocked to be highly variable – one Sainsburys will have beans available one month but not the next etc. Furthermore, prices are also eyewateringly high compared to the “big box” supermarkets down the Old Kent Road, presumably because of the rents and transient nature of customer.

    There is an existing alcohol “saturation zone” policy for the Bankside area – I really think we need to look at having a similarly drastic statutory instrument in place for mini-supermarkets and coffee chains.

    I’m just dreading the arrival of Starbucks in this war.

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