What next for the UK’s busiest High Streets? Part 2

Wood Green High Road

Six months ago, we surveyed two different  high streets: Crouch End Broadway and Wood Green High Road both in the borough of Haringey, North London, to see in what ways they differ and what the emergence of the Wood Green Business Improvement District (BID) might mean for the fortunes of struggling Wood Green.  Now we return to the sites to check on progress and changes.

There has been relatively little alteration in the physical make-up of the retail scene in Wood Green as yet. Several more units are empty and the High Road’s unusual pattern of unit sharing, which might see a clothes shop and a phone shop in the same store giving the area a rundown feel, continues but it seems clear that the BID retailers are beginning to make themselves heard in several areas.

A programme of events including crowd pleasers such as Easter egg hunts are planned for the spring, funding has been secured to green and replant an empty, draughty, litter-filled space in front of the library and the business community itself is being connected through forums, meetings, networking seminars and a Wood Green app so that they are beginning to be a much more unified voice.

Green spaces: Hoping to bring shoppers back to Wood Green

In separate developments, Wood Green Works – a large co-working space – has just opened to attract new entrepreneurs and SMEs to the area while a huge housing development, Clarendon Park, which will eventually deliver 1,500 new homes in the area is now underway giving the area a welcome and large influx of potential shoppers/diners/cinema goers in the next few years.

Catherine West MP, representing Hornsey and Wood Green which covers both shopping centres, recently addressed a meeting of local retailers under the BID umbrella. She told Retail Insider “The Business Improvement District in Wood Green is working towards a cleaner, greener and safer Wood Green. With its vibrant shops, cultural quarter, cinemas and restaurants, Wood Green offers so much to local people.” Adding “I fully support the work of the BID, which is tidying up the High Street, including planting trees and shrubs outside the Wood Green Library”.

However, after several recent stabbings in the area, security concerns have remained the priority for local shop owners. Catherine West stressed that: “The BID is working closely with the police to make Wood Green safer for everyone. All power to their elbow!” While the introduction of four Street Rangers has given a welcome boost to shopper and retailer confidence alike.

The idea of Street Rangers has been introduced to Wood Green to improve shopper/store security

Additionally the Business Watch scheme which allows quick transferring of information and images of incidents and individuals between the retailers on the High Road is now in use and a street radio initiative began to roll-out in mid-March.

Crouch End also has several housing developments happening in the near future including the refurbishment of the Hornsey Town Hall which is to be turned into a hotel, 135 flats and an arts centre. But in general its land is long used up compared to the post-industrial scrapland that abounds near Wood Green. Its main demographic are families attracted by the large Edwardian and Victorian villas which make up its housing stock while Wood Green is building to high density and aimed at young professionals.

Blue House Yard in Wood Green

While Crouch End by virtue of its isolation from tube stations and local population will always have a laid back, family vibe to its shopping, the retailers on the High Road could usefully instead dial up a vibrant ethical/youthful atmosphere as encapsulated in Blue House Yard to maximise its difference. We will be back again in six months time to see if that has happened.


Wood Green High Road shop classification

  1. Specialist food/drink shops (butcher, baker, fishmonger) 6
  2. Phone shops/services/accessories 18
  3. Supermarkets (superstores/locals)   4
  4. Charity shops    6
  5. Legal/accountancy/banks/money transfer services    11
  6. Restaurants/pubs/takeaways 23
  7. Estate agents   1
  8. Beauty/hair services   4
  9. Services (launderette, gym, PO, betting, dry cleaners) 14
  10. Coffee shops/cafes/sandwich shops 13
  11. Medical (opticians, chemist, dental)   11
  12. Cinemas   2
  13. Empty Units 10
  14. All other retail (clothing, books, jewellers, homewares etc) 80

Crouch End Broadway shop classification        

  • Specialist food/drink shops (butcher, baker, fishmonger) 8
  • Phone shops/services/accessories 2
  • Supermarkets (superstores/locals)   4
  • Charity shops    8
  • Legal/accountancy/banks/money transfer services    6
  • Restaurants/pubs/takeaways 24
  • Estate agents   13
  • Beauty/hair services   12
  • Services (launderette, gym, PO, betting, dry cleaners) 13
  • Coffee shops/cafes/sandwich shops 11
  • Medical (opticians, chemist, dental)   8
  • Cinemas               2
  • Empty Units             4
  • All other retail (clothing, books, jewellers, homewares etc) 29