An investigation by the Hammersmith Chronicle finds restauranteurs nervous over King Street’s future.
The Chronicle’s Dan Hodges has surveyed a number of businesses on the street, and found them “hit hard by the downturn and continuing to feel the pinch of rising costs and falling footfall”.
A recent survey by Hammersmith and Fulham Council found that a quarter of units at the the west end of King Street now lie empty. This in itself is strong justification for the regeneration of that stretch. Grainger & Helical Bar have jointly proposed a significant regeneration project based around a new town hall square, which has met some local opposition, particularly from celebrities opposed to the loss of a cinema.
The article charts some success stories among the many closures, and these seem to be marketable concepts run by capable restauranteurs who build a rapport with loyal customers.
The night-time economy seems particularly affected, but whether the downturn is due to issues specific to King Street, or just down to tough economic times reducing consumer nights out is not clear.
Strategy leader Mark Loveday commented to the Chronicle that the stretch of King Street between central Hammersmith and Chiswick presently offers an “extremely poor trading environment”, adding “if the King Street regeneration project progresses it will revitalise the west end of the town centre with a new public square, homes and shops, and attract more people down King Street.”
The new project, with its 320 new homes would certainly add the potential of a revitalised night-time economy, but with so much in easy reach of the influx of residents, businesses will need to be good to thrive.