Although unfortunately much of the original stonework will be lost in the market place during the development, thankfully traders will be moving out of the town into a more hygienic ‘simulated’ market space within one of the 4 proposed new shopping centres – assimilating Romford Town into nearby communities in Collier Row and Gidea Park.
This will allow for a number of eateries in the market place within the centre of the residential scheme as well as space for a ‘little Waitrose’ and a water feature in memory of our late Baroness who made a number of public addresses in the town during her time in parliament.
For those of you whom have just arrived, we are just finishing up the presentation on sustainable economic development, in the Romford town centre.
We will then be moving onto a consortium answering the questions posed by members of the public on the themes discussed during the recent European culture conference.
Also, for those of you who do not know already, I am the Minister of Innovation – I also sit on the board of Creative Future, which is why I am here; and this is the Director of market development at the local council
To end, we would just like to refer back to our ethos at ‘creative future’ which is ‘Happy Town Plan ≠ Happy People plan’. The two go hand in hand, which is why we are here, explaining the important research drawn from for you in the recent Slovenian convener, attended by all professional members of the ‘Market Place Residence Scheme’.
We will now be answering pre-submitted questions from members of the audience. These questions have been submitted from various social networking sites to gain an exact cross-demographic of the people of Romford, unfortunately we will not be able to get through all of the questions submitted, but at the end of the questions, we will have general questions to the floor
Q1. Patricia, Hornchurch (Point out Patricia) - I currently work at the Quadrant Arcade as a butcher, it is a small family business, and I would like to know how the building works will compensate our loss of business, especially if you are planning for a supermarket on the same block?
Ha ha, Patricia, you make it sound like we are going to harm your business!!
And of course, we don’t want to upset Patricia, we remember how vocal she was during her outburst in slide 3!
Of course there wont be loss of business! If anything, having a little Waitrose nearby will help – with their good name and track record of meat distribution it may make your ‘little business’ prosper,- so no, no there will not be any compensation this time I’m afraid…
(to Joe) Did you know that Waitrose also have their own fresh meat and fish counter?
Yes, I had heard, because I believe Morrison’s have one also- have you seen the advert with the fishmonger who used to work at Billingsgate? he certainly picked up his game.
Morrisons? Yes – Ant and Dec are their public endorsers!
Well I can’t imagine anything those two endorsing to be bad – I think this answers your question Patricia…
And who knows Patricia, you may even be able to get a job in the little Waitrose!?
Q2. David Hunt, Gidea Park has tweeted: We haven’t been consulted on how the local parks will be affected in the regeneration process, could you discuss?
As David is not with us today, he would not have known that this was indeed mentioned in slide 2, however, to answer the question - there are in depth plans to take the Raphael’s park small café and transform it into a block of entrepreneurial hot desk units for start-up businesses’
Hopefully this will bring a commercial centre to this quieter part of the town. Now I hear your minds ticking away… Of course this will take up quite a large area of the greenery, however to amend this fault – we will compensate nature by a standardised array of flower baskets that have been suggested within the environmental master plan and a rockery which apparently encourages bats?
I think it is also important to be positive about structural change. Afterall, during the Olympics, development was shown to be very successful in Greenwich park, with minimal impact on the environment. What is a bit of trampled grass in the long run?
That’s very true – and trampled grass is exactly why I paved over my driveway… anyway, moving on…Q3
Q3. Philip Clarke, Collier Row – this one is towards you as the minister of Innovation - You recently updated your LinkedIn account to say that you have just become a board member at ‘The John Lewis Partnership’, is this the cause of your choice of supermarket being introduced into the residence?
Ha! I don’t think my personal career development has much to do with my choice of where to shop – but I will happily answer your question.
Now. When choosing a supermarket for a local town such as Romford, and I think I will be backed up on this one (looks at Joe) it is easy to run with the saver stores and the all night off-licences – but in this instance we are investing in, not only the economy of this small town but also the social escalation - we are creating something different, something new, something fresh. ‘a creative future’
I would definitely agree. A shop like Waitrose does not just separate shoppers from shop lifters, but it is also a benchmark for customer service and quality of life. This shop will create almost 35 job opportunities for local Romfordilians, people such as Patricia will be able to find work on the fish counter, Bernard on the Deli, Achmed –trolley distribution,
You will also be trained to a standard that can’t yet be seen in the East End. We will be making sure that staff trainers will be coming down from stores in both St Johns Wood and Ealing to show us how it’s done!
It will also be good to know that there may be some other jobs in the midst for locals as we have managed to secure a contract with G4 to facilitate the gated aspect of the residential community. So you too, Patrica, Tracy, Kevin, Lee, or Simon *Cough* Simone, Harry, Dave, Tony, Lawrence, Paul, Scott, Jeremy, Alice, Sharmaine…
(cut in) moving onto the next question!
Q4. Catherine, East London has written in via her blog: Would it be truthful to say that this regeneration project has only occurred since the bad publicity that Romford received on having ‘lost’ it’s culture, and is in fact a political ploy to cover up the fact that now Romford has been branded the ‘Cultural Wasteland Of London?
This is certainly a question that has been addressed recently both in the news and in particular in television programmes such as ‘Panorma’ and BBC Too’s ‘The Culture Show’ However, I would like to take this opportunity to say that Romford certainly has NOT lost her culture, she has always been here. (Stands Up, clenches fist to heart). In our hearts, in our lives! Just because local government has cut costs, and have ripped the Kandinsky prints from your office walls, does not mean that we have lost our culture- only that we have… somewhat… misplaced her… (sits down)
…which is apparently why we are sitting in a regeneration shop space covered by boxes – apparently this is how we address blank walls nowadays…
We do actually have an expert in our midst though – the Secretary of Culture – Miss Walters (point), would you care to say a few words about this subject?
Anyway, after reading through the entirety of this blog post, it was clear that although Catherine makes a good point about the youth of today being more jäger than yoga than they should be, it mainly demonstrated that people clearly have too much time on their hands. Perhaps, instead of thinking up conspiracy theories about the meaning of our redevelopment programme, Catherine should be thinking up some key skills to put on her CV?
So to reiterate. NO. This meeting has no cultural significance at all.
Q5. Derek, Romford – this question has come from the facebook that ‘creative future’ set up to appeal to the more working class web surfers: I’m a trader and you have told us that we’ll be movin to a shopping centre outside town, but they aint built yet –where do we go during the works?
Yes, I think I’ll take this one… (Natalie interrupts)
Are you sure?
No its fine
Are you sure? You know what happened last time. You were a mess… and I am good with the traders.
ahem* yes, I think everybody here would know why you are good with the traders. (Natalie in Shock)
Shall we get on with answering Dereks Question?
Anyway, we have been a little under fire from the market traders recently, but I feel we have made some good progress with them – they have eventually come around to the fact that they will be moving to the shopping centre, I mean ‘simulated market place’ and although they are yet to find out about the noise limitations within the mall, I’m sure this is something that the traders can become a custom to. But for now… ahem… well… while the work is taking place, we are yet to decide. (Natalie Ignores Joe)
That’s not entirely true.
Don’t (tries to hush Natalie)
No, its fine, I think the traders will be fine with it –
(Joe starts clearing away papers)
So, it has been decided that for now the traders will be moved out of the market place into one of the neighbouring station car parks, most likely Gidea Park, and from now on, will be open on a Sunday morning. They do it in Blackheath – and I must say it is absolutely lovely there – and you know – not too over done. Half the amount of stalls, one even sells a locally grown cider, which I’m sure people in Romford would love, a Patricia? Especially given the alcohol content and…
Oh no, we are out of time. I’m afraid we will not be able to answer any more questions.(Joe Leaves)
This is a real shame, because I was genuinely interested in what the people in here had to say…
Anyway, we really must go… now – Wine tasting – developers? You know how laborious it is trying to get a registered taxi around here – come on!
(Natalie Checks mirror, and follows)
…So as you can see, if we increase the build around flagship points such the Quadrant Arcade, this will positively affect the local area’s consumption rate – increasing economic growth and eventually pushing house prices upwards – increasing the average mans asset and capital.
Without this much needed change, the local town becomes stagnant – and with the local council’s intention of turning the Old Romford Market Town into a metropolis, we can establish much needed foreign business and a more concentrated town centre, encouraging a fireball of capital intrinsic business from Central London and in turn pocketing those middle class shoppers.
Also within creating these much-needed 8,000 new homes in the historic town centre, we can create an interesting skyline with blocks ranging from 14 to 26 stories. There are even thoughts in the pipe line of commissioning a Guggenheim gallery here. Although, hopefully one of the more traditional looking ones. We don’t want to get carried away… like that one in Bilbao – one second let me check the slides for those of you who missed the earlier part of the presentation
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