A number of Stanmore residents have been asking me lately what could be done to help revitalise their village centre. I agree that this would be a wonderful initiative for Inner West Council, so I've started consulting with urban planners and local businesses to see what could be done. Here are some initial thoughts - please let me know what you think.
Stanmore is an integral part of our network of villages across the inner west. Any future revitalisation of its centre must aim to build on its existing strengths, while giving locals and visitors alike more reasons to spend more time there.
So the revitalisation of Stanmore village should aim to make it a place that:
- Is a quirky village - quaint and quiet, with a creative flare that provides a point of difference from the surrounding suburbs
- Is very much 'for the locals': Where store owners know your name, and people stop and chat to each other on the street
- Takes advantage of its excellent connectivity by rail, bus and road to the CBD, wider Sydney metro region, and local universities and hospitals, as well as the accessibility within Stanmore and to other places such as Camperdown, Newtown, Annandale and Leichhardt via cycling and walking
- Values the strong architectural narrative of Victorian, Federation and Gothic revival semi-detached and detached dwellings, terrace houses and cottages
- Provides opportunities for the existing students, young professionals and young families to meet and mingle, whether in parks, cafes or just passing on the street
- Is full of emerging artistic surprises and unexpected discoveries around the village and throughout the back lanes.
The current challenges Stanmore village currently faces are:
- Lives in the shadow of Norton Street and King Street
- Mix of businesses is currently limited, though many stores are unique
- Small retail strip that becomes residential two blocks from the train station
- Cafes etc are often busy, but street life can be limited
- Businesses on either side of the main strip are effectively cut off from each other by traffic.
Possible actions could include:
- Look for ways to improve pedestrian access across Percival Rd to enable people to visit businesses on each side of the road equally
- Upgrade the small space at the corner of Percival Rd and Douglas St
- Greening of the main street and addition of street furniture to encourage people to linger
- Advocate for a more welcoming entrance to the train station from Douglas Street
- Improve connectivity between the main street and the local parks
- Identify a local public art project
- Develop a promotional strategy for Stanmore village, so people know about its unique benefits. E.g. An excellent day out for young families due to the excellent local cafés, parks and library all within easy walking distance of public transport and parking
- Introduce an annual local street fair on Percival Rd
- Encourage the establishment of a local precinct group of businesses and residents to develop actions they think would revitalise the village.
We really are fortunate to have a series of network of unique villages within the Inner West that can be promoted as destinations in their own right, and I’d love to see Council revitalise centres like Stanmore’s for the benefit of locals, visitors, and our local economy alike.
What do you think? Don’t forget to let Pauline know.