A high street is a fluctuant entity which is highly dependent on the changing socioeconomic context of the local neighbourhood. To take account of these changes, businesses need to firmly commit themselves to a gradual but constant process of renewal. For a number of years, Southwark Council has helped to foster this process. Shopfront by shopfront, the works have acted as a catalyst for vendors to evolve business models, advance retail strategies and contribute positively to the vibrancy of the high street. The GLAs Outer London Fund has provided a unique opportunity to further establish a solid retail sector at the centre of a range of Council-supported cultural activities including the Nunhead film festival, the arts trail, the Nunhead food festival and Southwark’s very own business incubator at Nunhead Corner.
Nunhead features an eclectic collection of architectures. The elegant 19th-century terraces around the Green, eclectic 1930s Tudor revival and 1990s infill development all contribute to the vibrancy of the area. Our strategy for the regeneration of Nunhead town centre mediates between these architectures, the desire to enhance the conservation area and the needs of a contemporary retail environment. Local people told us that they do not want all the shops on the high street to look the same. Our approach embraces the area’s diversity. A careful analysis and an individual design approach, terrace by terrace, building by building and detail by detail has lead to a strengthened town centre with a unique identity.
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