Strengthening Our Town Centres For The Future
Bexley’s Public Cabinet will consider a new Town Centres Strategy at their meeting next month on 9 July.
The plan has been produced recognising the rapid changes that all town centres are facing nationally, the part they will play locally in the borough’s wider growth plans and how the Council expects to ensure its policies and resources support this crucial part of our local economy.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Growth, Cllr Louie French said: “It is obvious to us all that the way we shop has changed. We have drawn up this new strategy in response to this, noting economic pressures and technology that has driven the growth of online shopping and changing consumer behaviour. It has been developed following extensive research to build a picture of the strengths and weaknesses of our town centres and what opportunities and threats they face in realising their potential.
“We also spent time earlier this year talking to our town centre users and local businesses to get their views on the draft as part of a wider consultation exercise. Their feedback played a key part in developing the final version and I’d like to thank everyone that took part. Looking to the future, we expect many new homes to be built in these important locations and we need to get it right”
The strategy focuses on Bexley’s five larger town centres: Bexleyheath, Crayford, Erith, Sidcup and Welling. These have been chosen as they are home to the most jobs and are also the most vulnerable to trends involving national retailers.
The key themes of the strategy are –
- Business Health and Inward investment
- Digital Economy
- Evening and Night Time Economy
- Place Marketing
- Place Making and Public Realm
- Diversifying the Retail and Leisure Offer
- Accessibility and Wayfinding
- Events, Markets and Temporary Uses
The next important steps will be to work with partners to produce a clear delivery plan – short, medium and long term -that will include some piloting of new ideas emerging from the background work.
The new Town Centres Strategy will be available to read online with the Public Cabinet papers at www.bexley.gov.uk