Broadening the reach of the Forum

By   May 24, 2016



Updates from the BGBF: Meeting Wednesday 11th May 2016


Bethnal Green Vision: Is it a local vision? How to proceed with creating a broader forum

Bethnal Green Gateway Scheme: Specifics of the proposed bill, its outcomes and update

Maria Gerring (LBTH) #ShopTowerHamlets marketing campaign and its proposed strategies for the next coming months

“Spring is like a leak, it sprung” were the sentiments to mark the BGBF meeting held on a rainy, albeit muggy Wednesday evening. Councillors, Business owners and all those with vested interest (who could make it) gathered round the table to discuss matters at hand. Tea and Rich tea biscuits were in surplus supply and many voices were willing to input in the discussion. Principally, the questions concerning this meeting would be focused on how we would proceed in designating the Bethnal Green Business Forum. Where and how would we allocate our forum in the local area.

Bethnal Green Vision:

John Ryan commenced meeting by first putting things into perspective. We were shown maps with colour coded areas to demarcate the already established forums of the local Tower Hamlets area. It is essential collective vision that is reflective of the local area. What characterises Bethnal Green is not just the small micro businesses, but a rich and vibrant mix of cultures, and people in the local community. We want to ensure that our objectives and the forum itself is representative of that. There was a general consensus in agreement that it would be best to proceed by moving the business forum to include Neighbourhood Planning. Councillors Clare Harrisson and Amy Whitelock Gibbs were supportive of the strength of the local T&RA’s in representing the people when it came down to making decisions that impact Bethnal Green. Residents in partnership with local businesses could be a powerful thing for our forum. All things considered, once that decision is finalised, we would proceed by agreeing on the area boundaries, creating a Forum of 21+ individuals, and get Council approved. Progress was just on the horizon.

Bethnal Green Gateway

News that the TFL had rejected the last redevelopment plans for Paradise Gardens and the main junction were disappointing. However, there was some light at the end of the tunnel. TFL offered some feedback, and there’s another planned meeting to revise some of the proposed plans to open out the junction. There have been concerns for both cyclists and pedestrians trying to cross the junction, it’s heavily congested and often dangerous to cross. The surge of cyclists in the borough mean that there is even more demand for bike storage and even shorter supply.   There is another planned meeting scheduled to take place on the 25th at Bethnal Green Library so watch this space…

#ShopTowerHamlets – an exciting new business initiative to promote local buying/shopping

For the final item on the agenda Maria Gerring updated us of the Local Council’s spanking new Twitter strategy. The marketing campaign will be encouraging local residents to support their local retail businesses in the Bethnal Green area (and even tweet about it too). The accompanying Online Retail directory LoveBethnalGreen, will continue to promote the micro businesses and boost their overall profile. As a yearlong run project, the next phase of #ShopTowerHamlets plans to produce a physical publication, to be released on the 3rd December. It’s intended to be a Yellow pages for the thriving SME world of Bethnal Green. And its central focus will be on locality.

See what #ShopTowerhamlets have been doing so far..

Rounding off the meeting we turned to a discussion on revamping the High Street, member Madeline Faust, proposed Flower Baskets might do wonders and give the high street a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. If you have any other suggestions about how to make Bethnal Green Road sparkle, than the business forum are all ears!


By Leah Abraham