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Have your say on £1.5m South Norwood revamp

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IF YOU talk to residents and business owners in South Norwood, they will nearly all tell you regeneration in the area is long overdue.

Of the two main thoroughfares that comprise the district centre, South Norwood High Street has clearly seen better days and Portland Road is an area struggling to attract businesses.

Now, the new Labour administration has promised to invest in the area and £1.5 million is earmarked to spruce up the streets in 2015.

Wayne Lawlor, councillor for South Norwood and deputy cabinet member for economic development, said there would be a public meeting in November to discuss future plans with residents.

He says he feels South Norwood has the potential to undergo a transformation like Crystal Palace.

Cllr Lawlor said: "Ten to 15 years ago you wouldn't dream of going to the Crystal Palace triangle and now it's got lots of chic independent shops and great restaurants. I think that can happen in South Norwood, just look at the transport links."

He said a focus should be put on improving retail in the area, something that community group People for Portland Road has echoed in the past.

Hannah Pemberton, 32, who works in advertising and is a food blogger, moved from Manchester last year. She looked all over London for an affordable house until she chose South Norwood.

She has joined People for Portland Road and wants to help change South Norwood.

Ms Pemberton said: "South Norwood, architecturally, is all right. But it could be a lot nicer and the streets do look shabby.

"It only takes just over ten minutes into central London from Norwood Junction – you don't get that in many other places."

Richard Hough, who has owned his Autoclutch car repair garage in South Norwood for almost 25 years, however, is not so sure and says he hopes this is not another false dawn.

He said: "We've heard it all before and people have made promises in the past. It will be interesting to see what happens."

But Ms Pemberton is keen for the residents to have their say in the coming months and People for Portland Road will hold its own public meeting on regeneration September 9.

She said: "We want a variety of shops – where are the butchers? Where are the fishmongers? Where's the pub that serves good food? I wouldn't shop on the high street at the moment.

"I'm not talking about gentrification, we just want to make this a pleasurable and practical place to live."

Have your say on £1.5m South Norwood revamp


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