Notes of the second meeting of Bethnal Green Business Forum

By   November 6, 2014

5Bethnal Green Business Forum: 5th November 2014 (held at Oxford House)

It was great to see, that our second meeting was attended by 21 active individuals, representing a mix of market stalls as well as permanent shops from the local area.

Update on Bethnal Green Road Town Centre improvements 

John Ryan (Oxford House) gave a verbal update on the proposal following an update he had received from Sara Finn at LB Tower Hamlets. LBTH had met Transport for London (TfL) last week and TfL were considering the next steps for the scheme.

All present agreed that the current developments proposal were not satisfactory and had potential negative impact on market stalls owners and other businesses on the road. Concerns were voiced on the logic and of the safety aspect of the new proposal. Many questions regarding the proposal still haven’t been answered.

As a next step OH will arrange a meeting with representatives of the council, TfL and a steering group of the Forum to present our questions and arguments.

Business Survey OH survey 

We interviewed 135 businesses on Bethnal Green Road about the three main issues affecting their businesses. The survey shows, that 7 out of 10 businesses on Bethnal Green Road are unhappy with the parking situation in the area. Main issues with parking involved loading problems followed by lack of parking bays but also the high ‘west London’ prices.

The second big issue affecting businesses was the road cleaning, which affects 38% of interviewed entrepreneurs. Antisocial behaviour and lack of police officers in the area affects 24% of businesses. This survey has also shown, that a majority of businesses in Bethnal Green are not part of a chain or franchising – 71% are independent, while only 29% are chains or national.

Other factors mentioned included cost of business rates and lack of promotion of the area. The market needs more promotion and some interesting ideas to bring customers, e.g. bags with Bethnal Green Market logo, or to use the bridge as an advertisement board.

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Small Business Saturday and Special offers guide

Maria Gerring from Economic Development team at the TH Council introduced the Special Offers Guide, which will be distributed to all residents of Bethnal Green to encourage people to shop locally.

The guide will be produced as part of promotion for Small Business Saturday that takes place on 6 December.

Next Meeting: Date to be confirmed