This morning I noticed yet another cash/loan shop opening in West Ealing. This one is called Cash Generator and comes on top of the various other loan shops and pawnbrokers already operating the length of West Ealing. These tough times clearly seem to mean there’s enough business to go round for all these shops. Yet, I just wonder if letting the market rule is always the right approach to regenerating the high street?
One of West Ealing Neighbours’ top priorities is to work towards bringing together the key stakeholders for West Ealing and explore new ways to bring fresh ideas to our high street (see our website for details). So, for example, how can we encourage start-up businesses to take space? It’s not realistsic to expect start-ups to be able to afford the full rent and rates on a shop. Are there ways we can work with the Council and landlords to offer start-ups a small low-cost space in a larger shop for a couple of years so the business has a chance to grow and then move on and let someone else have that space? Could we even think about the idea of a community shop where a range of local groups work together to make it a community hub with information, advice, a meeting place for locals and more. It’s not going to be easy but I just feel we need to look at this sort of option and not always hand over control of our high street to the free market.