If you are in SW11 today then it’s worth popping along to Northcote Road for their first Northcote Carnival. Wandsworth seems to be doing really well for businesses organising events to celebrate and promote their areas.
I hesitate to list them for fear of missing some, but just in the SW11 area we had the Lavender Hill Street Party last week and the first St John’s Hill street party later this year.
The Northcote Carnival have permission to close part of the road to traffic for the event – making it very pedestrian friendly – and will kick off with a parade of over 1,500 children from local schools. The remainder of the day will offer dancing and music, along with food, drink and plenty of instore promotions.
It was a good day for Clapham Junction with the opening of the new Waitrose store on St John’s Road. It seemed to be doing a roaring trade from the outset, but most importantly it was a vote of confidence in Battersea and Wandsworth at a time when other high street names are closing.
It is very hard to be positive when the economic outlook is looking bleak, to say the least, but Waitrose will provide some stability (they replaced a Woolworth’s store) and will provide around 130 local jobs. It would be irresponsible to suggest that Wandsworth won’t be hit by the recession – but there is some evidence, like Waitrose’s confidence, that the borough is well-placed to avoid the worst effects.
On a brighter note Northcote Road celebrated Christmas with the turning on of their Christmas lights tonight with a healthy crowd braving slightly damp weather to join the Deputy Mayor in the switch-on. The whole of Northcote Road joined in with a late night shopping event with many stores offering one day sales. If you went along I hope you managed to snap up a few bargains!
The Asda store on Lavender Hill re-opened today as ‘Asda Clapham Junction Battersea’ in response to the SW11tch campaign to make sure the area is properly named.
Asda was one of the biggest offenders (Wal-Mart is the world’s largest company). So it’s a real coup for the campaigners to get them to recognise where they live.
A common question is ‘why is it important’? I think there are two answers.
First, you need to know where you are! When Waitrose announced they had bought some Woolworth’s stores and would be opening new shops there was a real buzz on a Clapham web-forum. Until, that is, they realised that Waitrose had made a mistake, and were moving to Battersea, not Clapham High Street.
But the second issue is branding. Wal-mart do not allow each Asda store to create their own brand, perhaps focusing on different products, or creating their own logo. It is important to have a distinctive brand that people recognise and can trust, especially when times are hard. And it’s no less important for Battersea to have it’s own brand, so people know where and what it is – a high quality, diverse and distinctive destination.