An economic vision for a high street experiencing change

In the context of the redevelopment of Elephant and Castle Town Centre, the council commissioned a project to examine the health of businesses on nearby Walworth Road to understand what support may be needed locally for them to thrive in the future.

Brief

  • Assess the current economic position, direction and pace of change, risks and opportunities for Walworth’s high street economy
  • Inform and develop an up to date framework for future business-focused interventions that would address the major challenges and enhance the viability and functions of the town centre
  • Bring together local partners, secure their engagement with the main strategic issues for Walworth Road and develop the foundations of a local business network to take forward future activities with the support of the council and other key organisations
  • Work with the appointed technology partner to understand movement patterns across the high street
  • Act as lead consultant in a multi-disciplinary team

Results

  • Town Centre audit of 450+ premises to map use class, retail mix and vacancy rates
  • Asset mapping for key sites where opportunities could be created to deliver a multi-function high street including recommendations for pop-up events and temporary usage
  • 100+ surveys completed with businesses and market traders to understand current trading conditions, footfall, how development in the area is changing their business and what interventions are needed for them to succeed
  • 200 on-street perception surveys to understand usage and attitudes around the high street, specifically around the catchment area and other locations that people visit
  • A review of business rates data to conduct a Business Improvement District feasibility study
  • Benchmarking of local trading conditions using data from neighbouring town centres and details from multiple retailers trading in nearby locations
  • A comprehensive report with a programme of interventions to support an economic vision for the area to 2030, closely tied to wider area projects and planned housing and retail developments

It’s been great to work with Diane to look at the future of Walworth Road as a thriving local high street. Always responsive and professional and a great communicator, Diane ‘gets’ the high street and has produced an insightful and usable report Nick Wolff, Principal Strategy Officer, London Borough of Southwark