Thursday, 1 May 2014

Coned Off

The works going on in front of the shops in North Cheam have been in full swing for a while now. Pavements are being dug up and tarmac laid with barriers everywhere. However, judging by the location of this traffic cone here on the left, I'm not fully convinced that everyone involved is entirely at the top of their game.

The plan for the finished result (right) looks quite nice (as these plans always do). Mike Francis the Project Manager told the blog that the front section near the road should be complete in the next two weeks and that we will soon see the new 'terrazzo' paving stones (incorporating marble and granite) starting to go down. The garden areas are designed to help prevent flooding as well as adding some greenery and the abundance of 'stuff' in the middle here is supposed to ensure cars don't park there near the shops.

Some of the shop owners however are worried about the changes to the parking. Veli Gencer who owns The Cheam Food Centre told the blog that takings are down by around 45% while the works have been going on as their customers, whom often come quite a distance to purchase the specialist ingredients they sell, just can't park nearby and so have had to go somewhere else where they can park. These are people who often buy large quantities which are too heavy and cumbersome to walk further than about 30 seconds away. The works are of course temporary but the worry is that they will become used to shopping at these other shops. Mr Gencer also raised a concern that he was promised a gazebo type structure to cover his fruit and vegetable display until the new awnings are put up but was apparently told there was no money left for this. Mike Francis told the blog that the gazebos had already been put up and wasn't sure why they had been taken away again. He has promised to look into this.

However there is also concern amongst some shops that after the work is finished there will be less parking as there were always many cars parked (many owned by shoppers) up on the pavement in front of the shops. These cars will have to all find somewhere else to go. Some other shop owners will be glad to see the cars gone from the pavement as it looked quite unattractive there, however it still leaves the problem of where those cars must now go instead and how that may affect parking space for potential customers. Cheam Disability Solutions have been given special dispensation to allow parking for 3 blue badge holders in front of their shop but people with blue badges probably need to buy groceries and other things too.