Planters aim to deter rough sleepers whilst absorbing pollution
image: Michael Ixer
"Death of the High Street" is a phrase often heard regarding the current economic issues for many UK High Streets and Putney has not escaped the issue. With empty sites 'blighting' the area and causing concerns for local residents.
Last January the Positively Putney Business Improvement District created 'virtual shops' in the vacant sites using vinyl in the shop windows in an attempt to help cut fly posting, graffiti, and improve the town centre’s aesthetics.
However, at the end of the year the two larger empty doorways; formerly Halfords and M&S had become 'homes' to two rough sleepers. To deter this M&G, the owners of the Halfords site, have installed security walls blocking off the open space. Lidl will soon be taking on the site and perhaps may make the corner more attractive to passers by whilst they fit out the unit.
Former Halfords site - Michael Ixer
Across the road, Positively Putney have installed green screens in the doorway of the old M&S site. Nicola Grant, Chief Executive of Positively Putney, said: “These screens absorb pollution as well as making it look much better. We have been looking for spaces to put in more greening on the High Street and it seemed an obvious place. The screens also deter rough sleepers from using the space. Spears outreach team were on site when the screens were installed to ensure support was provided for the rough sleepers.
Sadly, Ikea have recently pulled out of opening in this unit, so the lease is still with M&S and we are waiting to hear what they are going to do with it. We would love to turn it into a entrepreneurial hub and community space but we need to persuade the landlord. However, whilst it is empty these green screens are brightening up Putney High Street."
January 30, 2020