Guardian on Chatsworth Rd gentrification

Interesting article and comments in the Guardian; http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/07/chatsworth-road-frontline-hackney-gentrification?newsfeed=true

8 Comments

  1. I’m not sure I agree with some of the comments beneath the article. I can certainly understand the concerns associated with gentrification, but many of the comments seem a tad embittered in tone and appear to regard gentrification as a deliberate, malicious, coordinated and coherent imposition rather than something that just tends to happen in any big city in any capitalist country where housing is bought and sold at market prices… i.e. most of the world. It’s by no means exclusively a London thing, no matter how much we in London ignore what goes on outside the capital. I would concede that Clapton is gentrifying at a blistering pace and I’m in no doubt that I’ll be accused of contributing to such, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves: whatever new, boho/hipsterish businesses have opened are still vastly outnumbered by pre-gentrification commercial uses, both on Chatsworth Road and Lower Clapton Road. I can’t quite see Clapton going the full Islington hog, and I’m hoping the area soon settles into a happy, balanced equilibrium where both new arrivals and longer-standing residents feel that there is enough in the area to cater for everyone who lives here, even if different from themselves.

  2. I agree @nightboat – change is inevitable in any free market economy and especially so in a city such as London with a dire housing shortage. I do, however, feel that a line may have been crossed when some probably more affluent individuals and groups attempt to interfere with that free market by campaigning against the establishment of perfectly legitimate businesses in the area which cater generally to less affluent residents, eg supermarkets, bookies, chicken restaurants. Also, whilst campaigning, these groups often attempt to portray themselves as being representative of \the community”. I think it fair in those circumstances to ask whether there’s an agenda.”

  3. I wouldn’t concern myself too much with that article. It looks to me like a typical piece of leftist middle class self flagellation. They better open a new bookies or tescos soon so that everyone can have something to hate.

  4. I blame global capitalism’s inherent social polarisation and ting. 90s comedian-quoting aside I did find the Observer’s Hackney special yesterday (it was the Observer not the Grauniad though I accept it’s difficult to tell on the website) a bit odd like they’d just noticed East London exists ahead of the Olympics and felt they’d better quickly write something about it. But gentrification is notable in the sense of what kind of city we want to live in. nightboat‘s hope that the area “settles into a happy balanced equilibrium” is a fairly folorn one given the current government’s policies.

  5. I moved to Clapton in 97, (Hackney in 93) so pretty sure I’m not a recent blow-in. Clapton in the 90s was not a great area – but it was cheap , way cheaper than Stoke Newington, so we were able to buy a 3 bed flat, rather than a 1 bed in Stoke Newington. Upper Clapton Road is around the corner – if anything that has got worse over the last 15 years in terms of local amenities – there was briefly a Sainsbury’s Local – in the Shell Petrol Station – that maybe lasted a couple of years before disappearing. There are no banks – the last one (Nat West) closed about 15 years ago – it is now a Bookies. For a long time the only fee free cashpoint was at the petrol station, it was constantly tampered with – I stopped using it after my card was cloned and some fucker spent £200 in Tottenham. You had to go to Stamford Hill or Stoke Newington, or Hackney Central to get your money out without paying a fee. (Thankfully the Post office now has a cash-point) Shop wise – pretty poor selection tbh – and it hasn’t really changed – and I can’t imagine it ever changing. I was quite pleased when Venetia’s opened 5 years ago – still use it regularly , and discovered the excellent grocer’s across the road which we use every week. Then came the French Deli – expensive but so what, you don’t have to spend money in there if you don’t want to. I was surprised when the Creperie opened, have eaten in there a couple of times, it’s ok. The market seemed to inspire more places to open – Cakey Muto, The Expresso Hut, the strange juice place, Chatsworth Kitchen (which failed ) and the replacement, can’t remember the name. I go to Chatsworth Road most weekends now – it wasn’t somewhere I thought of going before – and I spend money at the other businesses which were there pre-gentrication, so they are benefiting too from increased footfall. It could do with a pub though.

  6. On a side note, anyone who thinks gentrification in Clapton is advanced should go to Brixton. The gentrification of Brixton Village and Brixton Market is astonishing to behold. I wandered around open-mouthed in shock; I remember what it was like only a few years ago. Brixton Village in particular was probably around two-thirds empty, the remaining units being mainly shops selling useful sundries or Afro-Caribbean goods. Now, it’s one chi-chi little eatery after another. I couldn’t help but think, this is actually a bit much. Outside those two covered markets, gentrification has largely been held at bay and the traditional mix of shops still prevails, but still, it was remarkable just how fast the two markets have been transformed.

  7. I dont think anyone believes its particularly advanced, but the momentum seems to be building very quickly. The Clapton Festival, the Clapton Hart, the new Princess of Wales, that new hairdressers, your place, various places on Chatsworth road, all in the space of a couple of years. You need a certain critical mass of successful examples of business that cater to a certain type of affluence to prompt others to open up. I think we’re on the cusp of seeing that here.

  8. So I work for the Observer and took the last month off to move into my new place just off the Chatsworth Road. I get back to work last week and what is the first thing I see, this big piece telling me I am wrecking the neighbourhood. Sigh.  I’ll have to seek solace in an expensive loaf of bread. R

  9. Pass the sick bucket.

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