As a resident of Nottingham, and a lover of Hockley, I’m writing this post with a feeling of sadness.
I used to to come to Nottingham as a teenager (ok – quite a few years ago!) and always loved the familiar ‘lads’ route:
A trip to Selectadisc to see what was new
Followed by a walk down to Way Ahead – at the time the best rock music shop in town
Then Another World, Page 45 for a bit of comic geekness
Finally, into Hockley for Ice Nine, Void and maybe Jugglers.
Only then would I maybe head to Virgin Megastore and HMV or Game to finish the shopping trip…
It’s really sad to type all that and realise that only Page 45, Ice Nine and Void remain (I say this as it appears HMV aren’t going to be around much longer either).
Now – over the last 10-15 years Hockley lost it’s way a bit – it became the main location for the trendy bars and pubs, taking it away from the alternative markets that it had had traditionally.
Well Hockley recently has started to pick up a bit – even in these testing economic times – which is a credit to all the independents that are there now – I will put a list together another time of them!
Well sadly a few weeks ago Pink and Lily, who have been in Hockley for 6 years, have had to close down. Caroline, the owner is gutted – as are we as fellow Hockley retailers.
There unfortunately are numerous factors why businesses are struggling in Hockley – and i’m not going into the social and economic climate here – i’d rather talk about the ineffectiveness of the city and county council.
Some Reasons why Hockley is suffering:
Well this has long been debated and for some reason the city council have decided to put parking meters all over Hockley, restricting parking to one hour (not long enough for a coffee let alone shopping) and changing the times to 8am – 8pm.
This has caused numerous businesses here to really struggle – the Broadway has noticed a drop in customers due to senior citizens no longer coming in during the day as they don’t want to have to park at the nearest NCP and walk to Broadway.
2. Alcohol and Drugs
We witness on practically a daily basis alcoholics and druggies causing trouble around Hockley. Whilst I have to admit our local police officers do a cracking job, there’s not enough of them and the city of Nottingham council needs to do something about putting these people somewhere other than the city centre.
3. Lack of identity
Hockley and the Lace Market has so much history it’s just amazing – and yet our city council seems determined to push it away rather than embrace it.
Nottingham should be as proud of its heritage as say York or Bath. They are fine examples as each of these towns has a policy where shop frontage has to adhere to a certain style – it’s clearly a good model to follow.
Now that’s just 3 things! I could go on but even after all this Hockley has one massive asset – it’s INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES.
With numerous well established businesses as well as quality startups Hockley could and should be much more of a destination. People need to know what and who is in Hockley.
I feel with the drive of these independents, and the backing of some quality policies and common sense from the city council Hockley could become that destination – unfortunately at the moment only the former applies.
I think really we need to try to put Hockley back on the map – but sadly with the banks not lending and the council unable to fund any projects this could be a very long time coming…
But here’s the Spirit of the Independents – keep fighting the good fight – we must all work together to make Hockley the destination it should rightly be….