The re-birth of Chatsworth Road Sunday market has been the most conspicous example of our neighbourhood's so-suddenly visible gentrification over the past couple of years, and typifies its pros and cons. On the one hand, the market has brought new energy and variety to the area. On the other, its posh breads and fancy cheeses are too expensive for many local people, while its retro clothes and artefacts reflect very particular tastes. The big problem with gentrification is that the improvements it brings can be of little use to many residents of the area affected, and even do them real harm as rents and prices rise on the incoming tide of affluence.
How can these negative effects be avoided? The formation of the Chatsworth Road Neighbourhood Forum (CRNF) offers some hope. Under the government's Localism Act neighbourhood groups of this type can draw up development proposals which councils must take into account when dealing with planning applications for the area. The forum's chair, Euan Mills, is properly on the case. "We have to make sure that the area offers offers a future to everyone who lives there," he's told the Gazette. The price of housing is an absolutely crucial issue, though Councillor Ian Rathbone candidly acknowledges that the power of the new neighbourhood forums to ensure that genuinely affordable homes are built and protected is untested.
The CRNF is hsoting a series of workshop for people to share their ideas, and these seem to have been productive. Further workshop will be held on Wednesday evening (27 Feb) from 7:00-9:00 and on Saturday (2 March) from 10:00-4:00, both at Chats Palace.
P:S: The photograph was added on 3 March 2013