We all know that something needs to be done across the country for our high streets if they have any hope of beginning to thrive. Both the Mary Portas Review and The Grimsey Report supported this, and it's evident enough when you walk down most high streets yourself.
In Chislehurst, local groups and individuals have committed to making a change for the better, to make Chislehurst high street a place about which the community is proud. The key to establishing success in the efforts to improve the high street is to build a real sense of community, where everyone works together, with positive links established between local groups, businesses the council and the community.
Despite obstacles that inevitably crop up, the Chislehurst Business Group and the Town Team are determined to realise their united vision: to promote Chislehurst as a great place to live, work and shop, all of which will naturally lead to an increase in footfall.
Clare Herriot of the 2gether shop in the high street says: "It takes drive, passion and persistence but we are beginning to see progress."
Councillor Peter Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal and Recreation, further supported the efforts by saying "Chislehurst has highly sought-after properties, fantastic schools, beautiful open spaces and excellent transport links to London and Kent. The High Street and surrounding area are home to fabulous restaurants and pubs, specialist shops, cafes and independent businesses so come along and see what it has to offer"
So what's happening, I hear you ask?
There are some changes that have already begun.
In early 2013 local resident Della Lawrence designed a new unique logo, which is proudly on display in this blog! You'll now see this branding on all the marketing material (Banners, sign, bins, posters, noticeboards, website, facebook and twitter) for the Chislehurst Business Group, Town Team and on all Chislehurst publicity material.
Taking it another step further, a brand new website called 'Visit Chislehurst' has been developed, which was launched last month. The website is dedicated to providing information on the main attractions to the area including the Ponds, Commons, Chislehust Caves, shops, business and community groups. It also has a page on the main upcoming Chislehurst events. Visit Chislehurst is a non-profit website run by the Chislehurst Business Group to promote events, community and local business in Chislehurst.
And in this modern day and age, the power of social media cannot be underestimated either. So with that, the Chislehurst Facebook page and twitter feeds (@VisitChis) are fantastic sources of day-to-day news. Make sure you follow both of them and join in with the inrceasing fan base.
And finally, it's with great delight that we can report that over the next couple of months you will start to see certain street furniture, which is providing no useful purpose or which clutters the street scene unnecessarily, being removed. This is all as a result of the success of the applications to the London Borough of Bromley (LBB) for funding for improvements to both the High Street and to Belmont Parade.
Cycle stands will be replaced with a more modern design this month, so watch out for these improvements.
This is a fantastic start for Chislehurst. Keep your eye out for what's coming up over the next few months too.