In July we asked local businesses in Roman Road their opinion about Tower Hamlets Town Centre Strategy for 2017-2022. This is what businesses told us.
The results clearly show that that businesses feel that better footfall/geographical catchment and better visitor satisfaction of Roman Road as a high street are the most important priorities. Clearly, these two indicators are linked: businesses are under the impression that Roman Road lacks a strong identity as a high street, in the sense that it is not well enough known as a shopping destination.
The priority given to creating thriving street markets is also part of the same issue, as many businesses mentioned they think a market will be an efficient way for Roman Road to get known and attract more footfall. At least three businesses mentioned the problems in the management of the market, deploring the lack of stalls, garbage management and order.
Another important, yet divisive, issue was car parking. Some businesses complained about the price of parking and the lack of business parking available, while others, especially in Roman Road East considered it to be secondary.
Unsurprisingly, transport access was an issue at the eastern end of Roman Road much more than at the western end of the road (i.e the part closer to Bethnal Green), even if most of them considered the bus service to be well-managed and sometimes enough to cover for the lack of a closer metro station.
Vacant units was also a topic which generated a lot of comments, especially as they feared that the alternative would be to open businesses which would not complement the existing offer (i.e. another coffee shop, corner shop).
Considering the results of the question regarding the type of support businesses would benefit from the most, the main priority for them appeared to be a website for the High Street. It is consistent with the results for the first question since it would likely improve footfall/geographical catchment, and the satisfaction of Roman Road as a high street. A second major concern was online presence, with either better Social Media or getting a website.
In terms of improving the high street, what would you prioritise?
What type of support would your business benefit from most?