One by one the banks are closing in West Ealing. A few months ago the NatWest closed and now Santander is closing on 9th May as one of 140 branches the Spanish owned bank is shutting in response to the changes in how many of us bank. That leaves Barclays and Nationwide as the two main banks/building societies left in West Ealing. Not good news for those who need to see someone or have to bank actual cash.
A couple of days ago I saw the sign in the window at Bensons for Beds that it will close down on 16th September. Then I was told that Star Burger (Burger King as was) looks shut, temporarily or permanently is hard to tell. Followed by the recently-opened Foodies store which also looks closed. On top of these, Express Print has moved to Harrow. That makes four shops closing in the last month and all are in the stretch of the high street going west past Melbourne Ave.
It’s obvious that the footfall drops off drastically once you get past Melbourne Ave. Admittedly, not every shop relies on footfall. A good example, is Juniper which sells school uniforms. This is a destination shop to which people will travel because such specialist shops are few and far between. Nevertheless, for most shops, getting enough passing trade is going to be a vital part of survival.
It makes me wonder whether the Council should no longer insist that when a high street site falls empty or is redeveloped it must include ground floor retail space. What is the point when there are empty shops nearby? Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow housing on the ground floor? I think that may be what will happen when the site of the Community Shop, also in this same stretch of the high street, is eventually redeveloped.
High streets are all under pressure from our changing shopping habits. Every year the percentage of shopping done online goes up and we have less need for the high street shops. Sure, we can’t get our hair cut online, our nails manicured or our teeth filled but almost everything else we can easily buy online.
One of the most interesting people writing, not to say warning, about the future of our high streets is Bill Grimsey,one time head of Wickes and Iceland. He said recently:’
“Forget retail for town centres, they need to become community hubs based on health, education, entertainment, leisure and arts and crafts.”
Mr Grimsey’s report says that facilities such as libraries and digital and health hubs should be part of the offering to bring back people to town centres, together with housing and some independent shops.” The BBC article is worth a read. It may all be a coincidence that these shops are all in the stretch where the footfall drops off considerably but well worth thinking about what we want the future high street to look like.
Poundworld has appointed receivers for its nationwide chain of discount stores. The chain is just one of a number of high street retailers which have suffered over recent months – House of Fraser, Maplin and Toys ‘R’ Us being just a few. Its collapse puts at risk over 5,000 jobs nationwide.
The West Ealing branch is in the old Woolworth’s store and would probably have had to move with the site’s likely redevelopment(see story below).
The receivers Deloitte’s seem hopeful that some or all of the Poundworld stores will be bought.
It feels like it’s been a long time coming but BHS in West Ealing has finally closed. It was due to close some time ago when the site was sold for development but that was put on hold and it kept going until the whole of BHS went out of business.
For many who have lived here for all or much of their lives it will feel like the end of an era. BHS was the last of the multiples and department stores that once made West Ealing the main place to shop – better than Ealing Broadway. I could list all the shops that were once here but those days have long gone and West Ealing shops now offer a very different experience. They are far more ethnically diverse, mostly independently owned and we must have one of the best shopping centres in the borough for food. Rather than look back and regret what we have lost I think we should celebrate what we have. Sure, the high street is dominated by budget shopping and I would like to see a few other types of shop to give a bit more variety but I hardly ever need to leave West Ealing for my everyday shopping. I also think change will come as the Green Man Lane and Sherwood Close Estates get developed along with the BHS site. These developments will bring in many hundreds of new residents and I feel sure new opportunities for other types of shop will arise. It’s actually an exciting time for West Ealing and I’d love to be able to fast forward 10 years to see what the high street will look like in 2026. However, I’ll just have to wait.
Christmas comes to the heart of West Ealing on Saturday 12th December when the annual Christmas Fair takes place in Melbourne Avenue, right in the centre of West Ealing between the library and Sainsbury’s.
The spirit of Christmas is captured with the return of the much-loved Charlie the donkey who will be touring the streets from 11am before leading the nativity players in the Fair’s finale. Especially for children there will be face painting, funfair rides and, of course, Father Christmas handing out gifts.
We have a wide range of musicians and singers performing including the Ealing Rock Choir, Capital Chorus along with a choir from St Johns and St James churches plus The Mermaids and local favourite Robert Hokum.
The Christmas Fair also offers everyone the chance to buy locally made Christmas gifts ranging from cakes, confectionery, apple juice & chutneys to jewellery, skincare & fragrances, cards and many other gifts.
For more information: www.w13-christmasfair.co.uk
This is the second Real Artisan Craft Fair in West Ealing. It will be in the Salvation Army Hall in Leeland Road on Saturday 27th June from 10am-2pm. Here’s what the organisers say about it:
‘Our aspiration is to establish a fair comprising of Artists and Crafters in the Ealing Area. We aim to bring together talented makers in various disciplines whose work is of high quality and will appeal to the discerning buyer. Our first fair was opened by BBC’s Huw Edwards and was a great success! We have expanded from the Hall in the beautifully renovated Salvation Army building to the café area as well, so have an opening for a few other artists or crafters to have a stall. If anyone is interested in a stall (£23.00) please do contact Annie Darlasson; email@example.com.’
The newly opened social enterprise Juice Cube (opposite Daniels) is a hub for helping homeless people this Christmas. Here’s how we can help:
‘Christmas is a time where many of us gather round the Christmas tree with the loved ones and sing the Christmas songs. Unfortunately for the homeless folks, Christmas is also a time where they have to battle the cold weather and the emotional turmoil of loneliness. We thought it is important to provide warm and safe accommodation to these folks during Christmas period, and show them a little love, remind them that they are not alone.
So we’ve partnered up with a few homeless shelters to spread a little bit of kindness during this season of giving. We will be handing out free clothes, serving foods and suspended juice (click on suspended juice to find out more or buy one here!) at the homeless shelters. We’d like to invite you to join us and spread some kindness either by giving us your time and volunteering (if you wish to volunteer, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more) with us on the selected day, or by giving us any free clothes or food that you would like us to pass to the homeless folks on your behalf. We are collecting the items listed below at our juice bar at 191, Uxbridge Road, Ealing, W13 9AA.
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop in at our shop, or contact us via email at email@example.com, or simply give us a call at 020 8810 1297.’
Northfields Christmas Night Market
‘Yep, we’re all set for another great community Christmas Night Market with a wonderful evening of fabulous shopping, eating and local entertainment (Yes our lovely Jazz band will be with us).
Once again we will be bringing amazing local businesses together; providing gift inspiration, hand-crafted pressies, wonderful food and the great Northfields community atmosphere.
We are very lucky that the wonderful Kingsdown Methodist Church has an all weather hall & arena, so not even the rain & snow can stop us. ‘
Date: Saturday 15 November 2014
Time: 6.30 – 9.30pm
Address: Kingsdown Methodist Church Hall, Kingsdown Ave, W13 9PR
For any enquiries, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: we do have quota’s for each product type, to ensure we offer everyone a great variety of products and selling opportunities.
Well, not quite new because Juice Cube had a very succssful trial run in the Ealing Pop Up Shop earlier this year – so welcome back.
Juice Cube is a socially conscious business that makes fresh smoothies and juices from surplus foods – right in front of you, while you wait. It was founded two students, Anuj Dhanak and Qitai Ooi, in summer 2013 and they were given their first opportunity to test trade in a real world retail environment this February in the EalingPopUpShop, an initiative funded by West Ealing Project Steering Group. Following their success and experience in the pop up shop, they saw West Ealing as the ideal location to set up their first juice bar and secured the long-term of lease of 191 Uxbridge Rd, West Ealing – a retail unit opposite Tesco/Daniel’s bed shop that has been vacant for a number of years.
Juice Cube launches on Saturday 11th October and will be open 7 days a week.
Dramatic black gazebos lined the pavement in The Avenue for the launch of this new monthly antique and vintage market. The newly-established West Ealing Business Improvement District is behind this initiative and is part of its efforts to attract more shoppers to West Ealing. The market looked pretty busy mid-afternoon when I was there.
Market Manager Barry Tuffnell said: “The Avenue” in West Ealing saw the first Vintage and Antique Market launch in style on Saturday 27 September. The feedback from both dealers and market go-ers was incredibly positive. The aim is to build on the numbers of stalls each month – so there is definitely a reason to return month on month and see what you can pick up. The next dates are Saturday 25 October and Saturday 29 November, with a special Christmas fair on Saturday 13 December.
For further information: Twitter @Westealingbid. Facebook: The Avenue and Antique Market or email email@example.com [Market manager: Barrie Tuffnell 07976704366].