Bermondsey is thriving! With new businesses, pop up shops, markets, food and drink production, bars, clubs and restaurants - what an amazing place to be or visit. A fantastic history with a renewed interest from the public means that we are now a destination rather than just a tube station. But this is not how everyone is experiencing the new world both day and night...
Cllr Humaira Ali has been working with the Arnold Estate TRA on a project to give residents a voice and the opportunity to co-design their neighbourhood with businesses and the council.
Speaking to residents living along Druid and Maltby Streets that there is great enthusiasm for the unique businesses springing up in railway arches as well as the Ropewalk and Druid Street markets. These however have come with unintended consequences for residents including late night noise, antisocial behaviour and a sense of not being considered by the council as it enables a burgeoning night time economy.
Residents have regaled me with stories of loud noise stretching into the late evening and sometimes early hours from bars, revellers becoming aggressive as they are asked to show some consideration, an increase in litter especially broken glass and food which has lead to an increase in vermin around ground floor flats, a sense that it's no longer a place to allow children to play freely across the estate, delivery lorries showing up at 2am and the clatter keeping residents away. It's no surprise that people are feeling trapped in their own homes.
Damian, William and I wanted to get our own assessment of views so ran surveys a few months back. 50% of those surveyed reported issues of some variety. The headline here is that residents are not against the growing economy - but they want businesses to show consideration and work together with them.
We are working closely with the Arnold Estate TRA and in January we are going to hold a "Have your say" workshop for residents. This will also be attended by council officers specialising in licensing, streets and place shaping. We are also starting to meet with local businesses to see if there is an appetite to come together both for their own economies of scale with regard to security and waste disposal but also with the intention of forming a body to work with residents.
I'll keep you in the loop with how we progress - it's not easy for anyone when people are feeling stressed by events they feel are out of their control but facilitating a resolution is part and parcel of the role of a Councillor. St Saviours Estate and Maltby Street are keeping a keen eye on this and we also have similar situations in Bermondsey Street to tackle.