High Street Update: Summer 2012

Langtons, Par Ici and Dapper on Church Street. Card Factory and Clintons on King Street. Laura Ashley on Heath Road and HMH Electrical on Cross Deep. No spotter’s badge for guessing what they all have in common. That’s right, they’re all closed or, in the case of Langton’s, are just about to. Need more examples? Just take a look at London Road. Indian restaurant Indus has cleared the decks after just 18 months or so in business, and the financial adviser across the street is no more. On Heath Road, Karahi Spices “new management” seemed to have opted for a locked door policy and the nearby “doomed from the start” Internet café has now closed its shutters to the world. (Given that most people actually have their own computers these days and some even have internet access both at home AND on the move through wifi and via their mobiles, it was just never gonna happen. Let’s leave the internet cafes back in the late 90s, please.)

So what is happening then? Work is underway to fit-out the old Laura Ashley shop as a Sue Ryder charity store. The Harlequins Shop at Twickenham Green is gone and is being replaced by bridal wear shop Emma Elizabeth. Meanwhile Belmont Bakery on Queen’s Road has an “under new management” sign up but we await details of what’s going on. Let’s just hope mouse dropping are not part of the new set up. And, wait for it, even the tiny JoJoLoo café is now open. It ain’t busy but it’s certainly now open. At the moment.

More interestingly what was The Ranch (and before that the Hook, Line & Sinker) on York Street is to re-open as Ales & Tails giving Twickenham a bar which features specialist beers and cocktails. Sounds interesting. Something a little bit sophisticated for the twickerati, perhaps? It’s due to open from July through to August as a “pop up” bar but could stick around longer. Who knows, it might even become the quintessentially totes amazeballs bar of Twickenham. It’s being set up by the people behind Citizen Smith in Putney so they’ve got a little bit of history in catering for the drinkers of south west London. Power to the people, n all that.

That’s probably enough to be going on with for now. We’d like to be more positive but we just can’t, although do check back soon to cast your eye over more letters strung together to form words about shops in Twickenham town centre.

Btw, check the Index side bar for previous High Street Updates. Or have your say on regenerating Twickenham, the Twickenham Action Plan and El Brute’s new “Village Plans” on our longer article here.

19 Comments

Filed under Food & Drink, High Street Updates

19 responses to “High Street Update: Summer 2012

  1. cat

    Like Twickenham needs another charity shop…..or bar! 😉

  2. Nikki

    Hey everyone, just read the comment about Indu’s but couldn’t find much else. So much for naming a restaurant after your mother. What I do know is that it changed to “Noors” for a little while and then that obviously went down the pan as well. So now yet another empty premises on the high street. Any rumours about what it’s going to be next, please – not another Indian – I refer to previous comments about shops being recycled into what they were before, e.g. Indian to Indian to Indian, and still not getting the business. How about a greengrocers, yes I know we already have one but that’s down the road. By the way, has anyone seen the guy who has set up his own greengrocers stall on the junction of Church Road and Broad Street early mornings in Teddington? Any feedback?

  3. WalkinthePark

    And now the Shanghai is a gonna (and we’ll have to go up to Central London now to get gloop free Chinese food), and the very nice lady who has set up in the York House Cafe was desperately thrusting a flyer in my hand to pursuade in some custom. You need Valium to fend off depression before you head down the High Street these days……

  4. twickerman

    Solum Regenertions plans to minimising the use of Twickenham Station for the 3 year demolition/construction period clearly isn’t going to help Twickenham’s struggling high street.

  5. ruggabugga

    My experience of the greengrocer’s is that the service is unfriendly and having been blatently overcharged on two successive visits I’ve voted with my feet. I’ve no regrets because the produce quality is no great shakes either.

    I’m amazed that the Council allow them to block most of the busy King Street pavement with their market stall, creating a major bottleneck.

  6. Hester

    What can we do do try to save the greengrocers on the high street?
    Never mind the various comings and goings of restaurants, there is only one greengrocer and as we all know , once it’s gone it’s gone for good. This is a truly local family business and must be saved.
    Their produce is high quality, very reasonably priced, and the staff are lovely. I have to say for the record that I do not know any of them personally.
    I love charity shops and think they do wonderful work for their causes. But not all good causes are charities and saving the greengrocers is so vital to the survival of Twickenham high street as a viable town centre.

    • I’m not sure about the green grocers, the stuff I’ve bought from them hasn’t been that different in quality from the stuff I’ve got in the shops and is usually more expensive.

      Is that anyone elses’ view too?

    • Simon H

      Cousins is usually very cheap. Odd that it’s turnover is down 40% in a year, though.

    • I think they’ve been badly hit by the demise of Belmont. Speaking of which, as well as the signs about fumigation in the window, there’s a new one that says “Under new management”. So maybe there’s hope for a source good bread again in Twick.

  7. Does anyone know what’s up with the Mulberry on Richmond Road? It was shuttered for a long time then suddenly sprouted new name signs but without reopening. Candidate for redevelopment?

  8. Zakamo

    Thats a huge shame about Indus. It was one of my fave places to take visitors out for dinner in Twickers. The manager always came and chatted to us when we went there to eat.

  9. @Greg Spencer: charity shops pay greatly reduced business rates; are staffed mostly by volunteers; and most of the goods that they sell are donated free of charge. In addition – and I don’t know whether this specifically applies in Twickenham – as landlords have to pay rates on empty premises, they will often strike attractive deals with charity shops in order to fill otherwise empty spaces.
    So, the short answer to your question is – YES.

  10. Anonymous

    I’m not surprised about the Church Street shops, they all seem to charge far over any going rate.

    • Anonymous

      One of the owners whose shop is closing told me that almost all the premises in Church Street are owned by property companies (one of which is, I believe, owned by Stone, Rowe and Brewer, the solicitors). They are not interested in negotiating lower payments, even in economically distressed times.
      Compare this with Teddington High Street, where most shops are owned either by the shopkeepers or by individuals as personal investments – leases are much cheaper and small shops are thriving.

    • Walk in the Park

      I’ve always wondered what the magic ingredient was that explained the difference between Teddington and Twickenham High Streets. Though there is one other ingredient and that is that on the whole Teddington shops also seem to be spotting the customer need, and meeting it. A lot of the shops etc that fold here seem to be adopting “Build it and they will come” marketing strategy. One of the sad things is you can tell that these shopkeepers/ restauranteurs really did have a dream e.g to bring big loud red bunches of flowers to the lucky masses, but haven’t actually researched whether they are meeting a need, and if they are, whether anyone else is already meeting it (and better). So your heart goes out to them looking sad and bewildered in their empty shops / restaurants. The Council could do something about this, if not employing a marketing professional to advise, perhaps putting together advice booklets, to ensure they get general business advice and also some specific analysis of the local market . The people who set up Yummies didn’t realise milkshake bars had already been and gone in the High Street .

  11. Greg Spencer

    What is it with charity shops and Twickenham? Do they get cheaper rent? Subsidies? Do we really need any more on the high st. If the next Jarvis Cocker is going to take the music scene by storm, they’ll be super served if they are born in TW1

  12. Horace Walpole

    Well, over here in Strawberry Hill, all the shops are occupied for the first time in years. If you want a wedding dress made, Lin Chan Bridal has moved in next to the railway lines and Robinson Design, just moved in opposite, will design the interior of your new marital home for you.

  13. A little farther afield – well, a *long* way farther afield – the burnt out launderette in the Staines Road almost opposite the Sussex Arms seems to be undergoing refurbishment. Does anyone know if it’ll be reopening as a launderette? We could use one round here!