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14 January 2009

Shop Locally

Michael Abrahams may no longer be Chairing the Society, but we haven't let him get away completely. As well as being the vice chair, he's also chairing the Planning Committee which will be very busy over the coming year. It will have a broad remit covering not just planning applications but the development of our town centres, as Michael explains.

The economic downturn has clearly taken its toll on Forest Hill in the last few months. Most notably we have seen the recent closures of two long standing independent retailers; Scotchbrooks and Provender. Other shops have moved into the area including a new barber on Dartmouth Road, an antiques shop at the old site of Mercury TV in Perry Vale, and a pharmacy on Perry Vale.

There is one clear message for members of the Forest Hill Society and for our neighbours; if you want to keep town centres with good shops in Forest Hill and Honor Oak you must shop locally. Over the next few weeks, in the run up to Christmas, find time to rediscover what shops are around the town centres. Which is your favourite restaurant or coffee shop? Where do you get your hair cut? Have you been into any of the clothes shops recently? You might even be able to do some of your Christmas shopping in Honor Oak or Forest Hill - wouldn't that be convenient?

The Forest Hill Society is working with a number of other groups to find ways to improve the town centre. We want to take a look at some of the issues of parking and traffic, street furniture and bins, high rental charges, and generally improving the look of the town centres.

In the next few years, we should be able to look forward to tube connections and a new pool revitalising the area, and more housing close to the centre of Forest Hill will mean more local shoppers. In many ways, the future still looks bright for our area, but we have some difficult times to get through. We can either give up and shop in Bromley, East Dulwich, Lewisham. Or we can be part of the solution by making local shops our first thought when we need to spend money.

So, if you have ideas for improving our town centres, or you have concerns about a planning application in our area, do please contact me by email: michael@foresthillsociety.com

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