I’ve spent a fair chunk of today at an inward investment event for Putney Town Centre. Although Nine Elms and Tooting have been getting a fair degree of attention recently, the council has continued to promote the rest of the borough as a destination to businesses, retailers and investors. Today’s event was aimed at attracting people to invest in Putney, highlighting both the opportunities for retailers and the consequent advantages for those seeking to establish offices in the area.

It is, of course, coming to the time in the cycle when a lot of the borough is talked down for political advantage. I recall Stuart King’s rather negative campaign as Labour leader four years ago that was little more than a litany of complaints and criticisms that – in fact – most people didn’t relate to (and may have contributed to him losing his own seat; if things were so bad, why hadn’t he done anything in his eight years as a councillor).

In fact there’s a lot to be positive about in Wandsworth and Putney. The high street has weathered the recession remarkably well and managed to attract new investment during it. And today, the area was still enough of a draw to attract 70 or 80 people from developers, retailers and businesses who might be the ones investing in SW15 in coming years.

Northcote CarnivalIf 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.

You can get more information from the Northcote Business Network’s WeLoveNorthcoteRoad.com website.

Clapham Junction
Clapham Junction

And after last week’s news that Tooting were getting their own town centre police team comes the news that Clapham Junction is getting one too.

I had known it was coming, but had understood it was some time away.  In fact, I’ve now been told the police team will be starting within the next month or so and will consist of 1 police sergeant, 2 constables and 8 Police Community Support Officers.

Like Tooting, Clapham Junction was an area we’d asked Labour’s Len Duvall to consider for a dedicated town centre team, but had been knocked back despite his positive statements in a public meeting held in Wandsworth.  But also like Tooting, things are thankfully different under a Boris mayorality.

I’ll obviously provide more details on both as I get them.

Tonight saw the launch of Wandsworth Town Centre Partnership’s Vision and Agenda for the next three years.

Wandworth Town Centre Vision and AgendaThe document sets out the Town Centre’s vision and aspirations to build on the huge improvements Wandsworth has seen over the past ten years.  And Wandsworth has changed enormously even in that short time, thanks in no small part to the leadership the Town Centre Partnership and council have given to the area.

It’s hard to be optimistic in the current climate (and many at the launch admitted the past few months had seen a huge decline in business) but this shows that we are constantly looking at how to minimise the effects of recession and are well-placed when the country comes out the other side.