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Our plan for shops and businesses on Cally Road

May 2, 2010

Many of the shops and businesses along Caledonian Road have faced an uphill struggle over the last few years. There are currently 35 empty or under-used shop units between Kings Cross and Pentonville prison.

Over the last decade, the Council has made some attempts to boost business on the Cally but it has not been sustained or effective. As Councillors, we have pushed hard for a variety of improvements to the streetscene and helped individual businesses facing rising rents or business rates.

Labour plans to win control of the Town Hall on May 6th. When this happens, we will bring new investment and public funding into the area to kick start a revival of our local High Street. We will do this according to a proper plan – with the support of business owners – to revive and expand a vibrant and successful area for retail, restaurants, cafes and other services. The plan for economic growth on the Cally should include:

  • Environmental clean-up, regular maintenance and repair of pavements and street fixtures;
  • A marketing campaign to promote shops and services on Cally;
  • Encourage more street stalls – e.g. use the pedestrian area of Tilloch Street for a weekly market;
  • Flexible parking rules so shoppers and service vehicles can pick-up and deliver close to shops;
  • Better safety and security from vandalism and crime, e.g. using CCTV more selectively and learning from the successful “alert box” scheme for shops that Labour Councillors introduced last year;
  • Re-establish the shopfront improvement fund – which was cut by the Lib Dems – and bring back the annual “best shopfront on Cally” competition;
  • Minimise the business rates for every Cally trader – by making sure rates valuations are correct and that small enterprises qualify for the small business discount;
  • Establishing a Cally Road business forum on a proper footing so that improvements can be led by business owners

Paul Convery comments “Caledonian Road has all the potential to become a vibrant thriving high street. But pressures from the redevelopment at Kings Cross are beginning to push up rents. We need to make the most of what we have got and help existing firms become competitive. For example, if just a fraction of the disposable income of households east of the Cally was spent in shops along Cally Road, we would have a fine, prosperous high street. And the arrival of major redevelopment to the west of our neighbourhood – on the Kings Cross railway lands – represents an important opportunity to get growth into the Caledonian Road.”

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