Rye Lane Traders' Association
The Rye Lane Traders' Association was established at a meeting on 4th October 2012 with the provisional aims:
- To encourage communication between members of the association and to identify common concerns or interests and take appropriate action.
- To establish good liaison with community groups representing the interests of residents and shoppers.
- To establish good liaison with the Council, the Police and other organisations and agencies with a role in the town centre.
- To help in promoting the business and commercial interests of members of the Association.
- To contribute to actions that will promote the town centre as a commercial shopping and leisure area.
It was agreed that membership will be open to all traders in or near Rye Lane, and there will be a small subscription when the Association is set up. To join the current provisional members list please print and complete a members form and return it to: RLTA SUGGESTION BOX, KHAN'S BARGAIN LTD, 135 RYE LANE, SE15 4ST or email it to: ryelanetraders @ gmail.com
Development Committee meetings are usually held monthly. Minutes of the January 2014 meeting attached. This is a working committee developing the RLTA organisation, constitution and membership arrangements, to put to the larger traders membership for discussion and agreement. The Committee aimed to arrange three meetings a year for traders, two main meetings (one in spring the other in autumn) dealing with formal traders business and one social event where traders can meet and get to know each other better. All local traders would be welcome to attend these meetings. Through pressure of business, this has not proved possible in 2014.
In discussions between traders, issues that have been identified as benefitting from collaboration in the Association include:
Safer Rye Lane
- Safer shops: support, guidance and training for traders and staff on how to handle the difficult situation when someone is seen to be shoplifting and leaving the store. The police are arranging special training sessions for shop staff on what to do while waiting for police to arrive after the incident is reported.
- Safer streets: identifying places where street lighting needs to be improved, and where any places need other action to make them safer for pedestrians.
- Safer premises: improving the police reports back on reported burglaries.
Loading in Rye Lane
The traders’ loading arrangements are not clearly marked and signposted, and there are no satisfactory arrangements for customers’ loading. The photograph shows a typical scene of a lorry unloading. Sometimes parked for hours, they completely block the view of Rye Lane shops. In this instance passing customers cannot see Kashmir Halal Butchers located at number 153.
This is not working well. Traders are being encouraged to take photos of any problems, including unauthorised dumping of waste, and send to the council. This needs further investigation. Proposals are being developed for developing a joint traders' initiative to review trade waste management, collection and disposal.
Peckham Vision developed a proposal with the RL:TA and Pecan for tailor made training for small traders in Rye Lane to be piloted. Total funding of £7,500 was received from the Council's Cleaner Greener Safer Scheme, and from the High Street Challenge. The first training was carried out by Pecan in September and October 2014. This will be evaluated in the early New Year 2015, and understanding of further training needs and methods developed to discuss with traders.
The Traders’ Association agreed in early 2013 with the Council a new scheme to give local young people paid work experience in Rye Lane shops. Six businesses agreed to offer one or two work places for 3-4 months. The Council would manage the recruitment and placement of the young people, working with the potential employers. Each young person would have a mentor to support them, and there would be very close liaison with the employer. The scheme would be a real opportunity for local young people and for local businesses at minimal cost, and it would improve relationships and links at a community level. The Traders’ Association was encouraging other traders to take an interest in how this works so they could join the scheme. This scheme has not been developed yet because the Council did not continue its support.
Over the summer of 2013, the Rye Lane Traders' Association joined forces with Peckham Vision to petition Southwark Council and Network Rail to provide public toilets as part of the work to improve the areas around historic Peckham Rye station. The petition was supported by a number of local businesses and raised over 4,270 signatures. It was finally presented to the Peckham & Nunhead Community Council on Monday 30th September 2013, where local ward councillors unanimously agreed with the joint deputation's request. See Rye Lane public toilets campaign. Public toilets are firmly on the agenda as an issue to be solved for the new PeckhamCoDesign process starting in August 2014.]
Collaboration and Solutions
- The Traders' Association is developing links with the Council and the local Police to explore the way forward on these and other issues.
- Peckham Vision is working closely with the traders on the development of the Association and collaborating closely in the work of improving the town centre for everyone.
- The traders have come together for three large open meetings in 2012 and 2013. At these meetings a number of issues were tabled that have been the focus of subsequent work.
- The active traders set up a Development Committee which has met frequently over the last two years and taken forward some of the work on these.
- Although pressures of business have prevented the production of regular newsletters, members of the Development Committee visit and keep in touch with traders in their shops and by email when publicising matters that have arisen.