Local businesses, residents, and community groups attended the Globe Town Branding Workshop on Monday 14th May at Cranbrook Community Centre.
The evening was led by creative agency Workroom who are commissioned by LBTH to research the identity of Globe Town, its high street, and community initiatives. The evidence and learning gathered will be used at a later stage to help develop a brand for Globe Town.
A panel of local ‘place experts’, Zoe Chick, Kate Minns, and Sarah Bland who are residents of the area, presented the findings and themes that have surfaced during the first phase of Roman Road Trust’s Globe Town Common Vision project at our previous workshops.
Their presentation began by highlighting the importance of identity before asking ‘What is our identity?’ The local place experts emphasised the rich heritage and history of the area and the importance of ensuring this remains a part of the identity now. The panel then presented the key themes they felt important to include in the development of a local brand: Branding, Connectivity, Greening, and Community Assets:
- Branding; name should build on existing associations and should identify with the majority (Green Street – Bethnal Green East – Roman Road West – Globe Town). Create a destination that the residents and business owners are proud of, e.g by colouring shop signs in a chosen pallet of colours
- Connectivity; developing a website or notice board that connects local businesses and local residents, announces events on the square with an interactive map, and new signage to direct people to the high street and surroundings landmarks
- Greening; to improve the look of Globe Town in an environmentally friendly way (moderates climate, reduces pollution, improves air quality and ground water, absorbs carbon emissions.) Greening also helps towards improving well being, tying in with local community groups such as LBCC who are involved in mindfulness practise.
- Community Assets; identify community assets, identify planning applications that may be detrimental to the success of the area, create an asset register to potentially feed into a future Neighbourhood Plan, importance of a commercial centre
Other members of the panel of local ‘place experts’ from the business community included Mehmet Guzel, Marghertia De Cristofano, and Kerry Mounsey, all of whom were present during the workshop and contributed to the presentation. Kerry gave an insightful overview of her ideas and wishes for the market square such as combining greening processes with up-cycling to engage local school children in improving their market square.
For the second half of the workshop, the group was split into two teams. Each team was given a map of the high street and surrounding area to mark ‘jewels & gems’, ‘opportunities’, and ‘issues’. There were many interesting responses to these prompts.
Many attendees highlighted issues around anti-social behaviour on the square, lack of lighting and CCTV, empty shops, and lack of parking. Meath Gardens was a popular jewel of the area alongside Cranbrook Community Food Garden, the London Buddhist Centre, local pubs, various independent shops/businesses, and links to East End heritage and heritage sites.
Potential opportunities ranged from developing the evening economy (bars & restaurants), holding events that cater to the variation of people and cultures in the area, and engaging with the increasing amounts of young people who live and work in Globe Town.
The session ended with discussion about the name of the high street. Opinions varied between Bethnal Green, Bethnal Green East, Roman Road West, Green Street and Globe Town. The consultants from Workroom raised the option of creating a new name for the area. While no consensus was reached it was agreed by all that the naming of the area will divide opinion within the community.
Following from this workshop, Workroom are combining the learnings, findings and thoughts put forward by members of the local community during this workshop to present a draft report on their findings that can then be used to help develop a brand for the high street.
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Globe Town Common Vision is funded by London Borough of Tower Hamlets, working in partnership with Roman Road Trust to improve local governance and support the delivery of regeneration initiatives in the Globe Town area of Roman Road West.