Rye Lane Traders' Association
Social Networking event Wednesday 3rd June
The RLTA meeting was a very successful social networking event, on Wednesday 3rd June 2015 6pm - 8pm, for businesses and organisations operating in the town centre. It was hosted by Peckham Vision in their studio in the Bussey Building. This was a liveley event with refeshments provided from some members - sample sandwich slices from Aya's cafe in Holdron's Arcade, spicy chicken from Maria in Atwell Road, and an assortment of sweet pastry biscuits and refreshments from Khan's Bargain store. There were a few minutes of introductions from Neil Kirby Council officer for Regeneration in Peckham, David Swaby on licensing controls, Sergeant Richard Warren, PC Jamie Keate, and PCSO Sean Murphy from the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team, Julie Mallett Council officer for the THI project to restore some of the old historic buidlings in and near Peckham High St, Cemal Ezel from Old Spike Roastery in Peckham Rye a new social enterpise for jobs for homeless people. Then everyone mingled and introduced themsleves and discussed everything they wanted about the town centre until well past the end at 8.30pm! Event leaflet PDF here.
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 Peckham High Street, 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, care of KHAN'S BARGAIN LTD, 135 RYE LANE, SE15 4ST. If you have any queries please email: ryelanetraders @ gmail.com. The Development Committee is seeking some small funding to pay for the support for taking the RLTA to the next stage.
Development Committee meetings are usually held monthly. 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 two main meetings a year for all traders, one dealing with formal traders business and one social event where traders can meet and get to know each other better. Through pressure of business, it was not possible in 2014 to arrange the all member meetings. Progress has however been made in the projects about traders training and more recently how to improve the management of trade waste. The next RLTA meeting will be a social networking event, on Wednesday 4th November 2015, for businesses and organisations operating in the town centre.
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. Training for shop staff, on what to do while waiting for police to arrive after the incident is reported, is included in the pilot training being carried out in Autumn 2014.
- 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’ and customers parking and loading arrangements are not clearly explained in the parking signs, and there are no satisfactory arrangements for customers’ loading.
This is not working well. Traders are encouraged to take photos of any problems, including unauthorised dumping of waste, and send to the council. This needs further investigation. The RLTA has joined in a 6 month project led by Copeland Park and Peckham Vision funded by a small grant of £8,000 from the Council's High St Challenge fund for a joint initiative to review waste management, collection, disposal and recycling.
Peckham Vision developed a proposal with the RLTA 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 was independently evaluated in the early New Year 2015, and confirmed the main priority issues that RLTA had already identified which need to be addressed. These are: improving relations between some customers and some traders, compliance with trading standards, and deterring and restraining shoplifters. A project is being developed for further work and dedicated tailor made training.
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 in the redesign of the area in front of the station.
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 came 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.
- A series of traders' social networking events have been started. The first in June 2015. The next 4th November 2015.
- The active traders set up a Development Committee which has met frequently over the last two years.
- The Development Committee arranged in early 2013 in Rye Lane with Harriet Harman MP, and a meeting with Southwark Councillors, to explain some of the issues in Rye Lane and discuss solutions. For a summary of these issues see here.
- 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.