Shop owners in St George's Walk, Croydon call for change
6:50am Sunday 26th August 2012 in Top Stories
A group of shop owners want to bring the good times back to St George’s Walk after years of being ignored by shoppers.
Businesses on the east side of the street have clubbed together to improve the area, which they feel has been neglected by Croydon Council.
Noor Bridgeland, owner of Onyx Accessories, said gangs of youths are using the stretch as a playground and vandalising shops.
The 32-year-old said as a result shoppers have been driven away from the area and nothing was being done to entice them back.
She said: “We are trying to bring the street back up to a good standard. We are cleaning it up and trying to improve the image.
“A lot of us have been badly affected by shoplifters and vandals.
“We are trying to reverse the damage that has been done and we are telling people that we are open for business so come and shop here. We have such a wide variety of shops here.
“We are trying to do it ourselves, but we need help from the council. We do feel neglected.”
Kemi Okunola, 23, who owns Rokka Sheek, a dress shop, said businesses felt left out with other areas of the town centre such as the Old Town and South End being given funding to regenerate.
She said: “A lot of people don’t seem to realise that we still exist. We have had customers come through thinking we had been demolished. They ask how long we have been here for, and we say a year and they don’t believe it.
“It is sad. There is a lot that could be done with this area.
“When the torch came to Croydon loads of people walked through St George’s Walk and it could have looked so much better if it got more attention and investment.
A council spokeswoman said: “We will be doing everything we can to support the traders of St George’s Walk. We would be happy to meet with them to discuss their concerns.
“We do understand their frustration. St George’s Walk is owned by a mix of landowners and they have not invested there in recent years, however, the council is going ahead with its masterplan for mid-Croydon, following extensive consultation.
“The masterplan offers new homes, shops, restaurants, family entertainment and offices.”