Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Deptford High Street

Local design team Studio Raw (whose director, Rebecca, is a Crossfields resident), has just launched a new website all about Deptford, focusing on the high street and its environs via the businesses located in and around it.

"My Deptford High Street is a business support website that enables local businesses and customers to work together to create a vibrant and sustainable community network representing the wonders of Deptford. "

The idea is that local businesses get listed on the site by becoming members. They can then upload and maintain their own content. The site is in its infancy – many businesses are yet to take up the offer to freely advertise themselves. Some may need some help since although the site looks good and appears easy to use, it's quite sophisticated in its use of the latest social media techniques – which are still bewildering to many mortals, let alone local businesses (a few of whom do not have English as a first language).

The photography is great, and the site also looks set to be a place to find the latest news about the area, since there are links to local blogs, and the news page pulls in content from Twitter and from other websites where Deptford has been tagged. No doubt the South London Press will be heading here first to nick stories.

The idea is not new – there are plenty of high street directories online, but perhaps none as individually tailored, good looking or as sociable as this one. However, it remains to be seen whether the site will reflect the seedy underbelly, gritty reality and grinding poverty that sits besides the trendy new cafe culture – perhaps the blog links will contribute to a "warts n' all" overview (although the local bloggers do not really represent all of the community). But any newcomer who makes the move to Deptford having been seduced by the 'colour', 'vibrancy' and 'buzz', may get a shock when the eighth betting shop, fourth pawnbroker or poundshop superstore opens...

On the other hand, Deptford High Street needs all the help it can get. The Convoys Wharf development, should it pass planning in December (we sincerely hope not), would begin construction of its first phase (of three) in 2012. It would include 1,200 homes and a 'retail component' of around 20,000 sq ft, which the developers stress will be "local shopping to service residents' immediate needs rather than compete with Deptford High Street" (Estates Gazette - thanks for the link, Mushroom). In other words the 2-3,000 newcomers will not have to go anywhere near dear old DHS.

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