Remember the Butcher, the Baker & the Candlestick maker? Wouldn’t we like to see these sort of independent traders back to the town?
The Accord administration is looking far in to the future of Brentwood and sometimes this means floating brave new ideas. That’s just what we are doing with the council-owned and under-utilised Westbury Road Car Park – bringing an idea for debate and out-in-the-open discussion.
To be crystal clear – there are no current plans and we aren’t forcing this on residents. We would fully consult with residents in the area for sure.
The general idea is to use some space at the front of the High Street-facing side to, potentially, create a run-on from Bennetts to include:
- Six shops, with three subsidised for independent traders who would not otherwise afford rents of £70-£80K per year.
- Some flats above
- Drop off/pick up point out the front
- Retain much of the car parking
The objective being to establish some viable businesses at the west end of the High Street that is currently very quiet with several businesses closing down.
Now, I am broadly supportive of the objective here BUT there are issues that I need ironed out before I will support it:
- The current entrance to the car park is in the wrong place and will cause mayhem in Westbury Road – I would hope this would be an opportunity to re-design it for the benefit of residents and possibly take out the ugly barriers.
- The car park is under-used, but I would need to be assured that the cars that are there are not displaced.
- I would want assurance that the drop off spaces would be used for just that.
- I would want assurance that current residents are not over-shadowed by another Tower of Greed and that this is sympathetic to the older buildings that are already there.
- Most importantly, I would want assurance that residents are fully consulted and their views taken in to account.
I am more than happy for residents to get in touch with their thoughts on the principle of this project.