Published: Wednesday 27th April 11
Developers, property agents and retailers were invited to a special event to hear about the ongoing work to improve Tooting town centre.
The picture shows (left to right) Roi Mengelgrein, Tooting town centre manager Audrey Helps, Cllr Govindia, Anthony Thomas, Matthew Hopkinson, director of Local Data Company and Jeff Wilson.
Talking Tooting, part of the council's Tooting Together initiative, was organised by the council and the Tooting Town Centre Partnership and was held at New London Architecture in central London .
The aim was to spread the news of the rapidly changing profile and increased spending power of Tooting's shoppers and to promote the town centre as a strong investment opportunity.
Speakers included consultant Roi Mengelgrein, who is currently improving Tooting Market; and Jeff Wilson, regional town planning manager for Sainsburys. Anthony Thomas, whose company Antic Ltd owns the Tooting Tram and Social, the Antelope and the Wheatsheaf pubs, explained why his company had now decided to invest further in the town centre by developing the site at 28 Tooting High Street.
The Tooting Together initiative is now in its third year. Successes have included cleaning and decluttering streets, security schemes to help keep traders safe, the alley watch scheme to clean, light and install gates on problem rear alleyways, a dedicated town centre police safer neighbourhood team and a time-banding scheme for the collection of commercial waste.
Now the council has turned its attention to the town's shops. It is working to attract more leading retailers and quality independent stores, as well as encourage existing shop owners to broaden the range and quality of goods they sell.
Cabinet member for regeneration and strategic planning, Cllr Ravi Govindia, said:
"Our research has shown us that the profile of people who shop in Tooting is changing and they have a greater spending power than ever before. Tooting is weathering the recession well compared to similar town centres and trading is healthy.
"We want to give Tooting shoppers the range and quality of goods they demand and are working to attract inward investment and big retailers. At the same time we want to preserve the town's diversity and unique personality, so we are working extensively with existing retailers to help them survive and flourish."