A key challenge in planning for a major development is to properly understand the needs and vulnerabilities of the existing business community. Without that it is very difficult to plan an effective relocation strategy that genuinely serves the needs of that community. We have recently been appointed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to provide an independent assessment of the business support requirements of the 200 or so enterprises which will be affected by the development if it goes ahead.
Tree Shepherd is located within the heart of the Spray Street development zone and has been providing an outreach service to the local businesses, finding out about their circumstances and their main challenges and offering independent advice through workshops and business clinics.
The Woolwich Town Centre Masterplan was adopted in April 2012 and ever since then the momentum for change has steadily built up. In January 2018, a detailed planning application for Spray Street Quarter was submitted to the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This followed the allocation of the site for redevelopment by the Borough, and two rounds of comprehensive public consultation as the draft plans evolved. If approved, the plans will transform the area between Plumstead Road and Spray Street in Woolwich town centre, with new transport links and an expanded retail, cultural and leisure opportunities along with 700+ new private and affordable homes.
Throughout this long period of consultation the local businesses have had to make important investment decisions without knowing when or even if the development will happen. Many would be forgiven for becoming quite sceptical of the plans and suspicious of consultants.
Tree Shepherds approach of taking time to get to know the local businesses on a confidential basis was essential to creating the space in which we can help them. We have visited all the business on multiple occasions to become familiar and to see for ourselves how their business operates and how the area ticks.
In addition to developing a full understanding of the area our role has been to:
- Keep businesses up to date with developments
- Offer them one to one mentoring to help them through a period of change
- Provide training on a range of business issues such as business planning, marketing and cash flow forecasts
- Provide information on finance and funding
- Organise and deliver business networking events and business workshops
This letter to Colin Crooks typifies the response we’ve had so far from this extraordinary and diverse business community;
“Dear Mr Collin
first i want to thank you for taking your time to read through my document and the comprehensive advice you suggested to me on how to make further progress on the said project. I truly appreciate as all these information gave me a clear picture of what i need to do next.
I am working hard on it as advice[d] and will let you know any further progress i make.
My Deep Appreciation sir