health, youth and play facilities, extra car-sharing spaces and cycle parks, as well as new shops. As much of the land was vacant, only 100 existing homes were demolished to make way for the redevelopment. When the project is completed in 2015 there will be more than 2,000 new homes, of which 40% will be affordable, two new health centres, an NHS dental practice and a pharmacy. Local business people have been delighted with the results. Oz Elmaz, who has run the Spa Fish Bar on Spa Road for the last four-and-a-half years, says: “We are all really pleased about the redevelopment of the area. Now, it really is an up and coming area and improvements that Southwark Council has done are just amazing. Before there was wasteland just sitting there with nothing on it and by taking that away and putting new buildings there it has given us a better touch – it’s given us a better sense of community.” Elmaz and his wife have directly benefited from the regeneration by moving just 50 yards into two of the four new shops. Elmaz has reopened his fish and chip shop, while his wife, Sue, will be opening a new cafe and www.southwark.gov.uk
Top: Notting Hill Housing’s Grange Walk scheme at Bermondsey Spa, by PCKO Architects. above: New blocks in mixedtenures will replace those demolished at Spa Road.
delicatessen. He says: “Southwark Council understands its residents and businesses around here and what they want. It’s vastly improved the area. When Spa Road is finished it will be really quite a nice place.” Just under a mile away, in South Bermondsey, Southwark Council has invested £1.2 million in improving another retail area – Southwark Park Road and Market Place known locally as the Blue Market, which has more than 40 retailers. Earlier this year the area was renovated and cleaned up, making it safer for shoppers and residents, and in July a huge iron lion – the symbol of Bermondsey – was installed as a centrepiece. Russell Dryden, chair of traders at the Blue, who for the last 20 years has run the market’s fish stall, believes the improvements make the area look brighter and cleaner than before. He says: “Small improvements, such as stopping vehicles from driving across the market, have made it much safer and more comfortable for customers using the market. Now it is much more people-friendly. Whatever the changes, the Blue will always be interwoven into local people’s memories. issue
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