Janita Han Creswell is the new CEO of Roman Road Trust. Janita has been a local resident for over four years and trained as an architect in Singapore and Holland. She also runs Arcadia Co-housing which is a community-led housing group. Janita has a wealth of skills in community engagement and place-making and is excited to be joining Roman Road Trust.
RRT: How did you find out about Roman Road Trust?
JC: I was Googling local community groups and Roman Road Trust came up. When me and my husband were setting up Arcadia we looked at how other groups organised their legal set-up. This led us to come across Roman Road Trust as a Community Interest Company (C.I.C.)
RRT: Why did you want to be involved with Roman Road Trust?
JC: I believe in Roman Road Trust’s vision of a thriving local community and thriving local businesses. From the website, I discovered that Roman Road Trust is really established in the community and I wanted to be part of a well-run organisation.
As a local to the area, I have a sense of ownership about how our neighbourhood should be and could be. Roman Road Trust is a chance for me to have a go at achieving this.
RRT: What do you like about Roman Road?
JC: I like the local businesses. Each has a very unique characteristic. I recently visited Bamboo & Bee – its a very nice shop. My favourite restaurant is Suey Hong. They have amazing food. My favourite is the aubergine and potato dish!
The buildings along Roman Road are very varied in scale. The high street has lots of two-storey-shop-houses and then suddenly the buildings grow very tall where the road branches off to residential tower blocks. The high street is very pleasant and people feel like they can engage more when buildings are not so high. Sometimes when buildings are tall it can make you feel isolated and disconnected.
There are many points of interest along the road such as the churches and various green spaces that give a break from the urban continuity of shop fronts.
RRT: If you had to summarise Roman Road in three words, what would they be?
JC: Local, diverse, lively.
RRT: What is on the horizon for Roman Road Trust?
JC: We are working on a project with other stakeholders to make roman road a greener road. So lookout for a campaigns and activities with other local groups. We are also trialling a Roman Road Membership Card to give discounts in local businesses. Please do take a look at the website for more info.
RRT: Can you tell us a bit more about Arcadia Co-Housing?
JC: Arcadia Co-Housing is a community housing group set up in 2016 by myself and my husband. We are currently a C.I.C (Community Interest Company) and we are looking at a proposal to develop a local church to include housing. Arcadia’s vision is to build affordable, intergenerational, small scale housing. We believe that intentional community is a great way to live in London. By this, I mean choosing to live in community with other people. Many members of Arcadia Co-Housing are of the Christian faith so our motto is love your neighbour as yourself – which is tricky sometimes!
RRT: What do you do when you’re not running Arcadia Co-Housing or Roman Road Trust?
JC: Besides being an architect, I get to spend time with my six month year old baby Erin. She comes to the office with me sometimes. She’s great at reading emails.