For decades the South Circular has choked the life from Catford, suffocating it with horrid fumes and traffic. As surrounding towns developed ‘destination’ status- for niche shopping, for eating, for Festivals, Catford looked on waiting for its turn. So local disappointment was palpable when the Council scratched its large-scale regeneration plans for Catford, sending its consultants back to the drawing board -again- with very little public explanation.
So while the Council hesitated, in the midst of the white heat of the national economic meltdown, independent stores left and the poundshops seized their opportunity.
Catford has some of the finest family-sized Victorian homes in London, great primary schools and excellent rail links into central London too, and yet on Location Location people actually sob at the thought of moving to Catford! Lewisham Council and TFL have to take responsibility for the lack of focus and direction.
Meanwhile- Catford really is changing; but it is business and local residents at the vanguard of ensuring a better future, securing investment and breathing life into the town centre. The Catford Green development is going up trackside at Catford Station, there are two Costas coffees which are always full, the new dessert shop always has queues out of the door- the Catford Constitutional Club snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and is now doing magnificent business. Plus a fantastic newly accessible wilderness space has recently opened on Riverview Park.
Truly Splendid, Catford!
Next to join the Catford Gold Rush is Jeni Brady. Jeni is a local school governor determined to bring a slice of ‘Hither Green Village’ life to Catford High Street with a classic local tearoom, selling homemade cakes, hand picked vintage clothes and one off upcycled furniture pieces.
It takes a entrepreneur with both flair and a wealth of local knowledge to drive forward a project like this, and the local response to Jeni’s plans has been phenomenal- more evidence that Catford wants nice things! Jeni plans a child friendly space, with full disabled access, ideal for tea parties, and a friendly lunch surrounded by theatre and beauty.
And while a vintage style tearoom may seem more Ambridge than SE6, there are also solid plans for an accredited drop-in crèche, and there is nothing twee or insubstantial about childcare.