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In Your Street: Lyndhurst Road, Hove
Working together is just up their street The focus of this week’s Up Your Street feature is Lyndhurst Road in Hove. What may at first seem like your average terraced street is home to a fiery community and even a few famous faces – as BEN JAMES AND LUKE IRELAN-HILL found out.
Politicians and academics often talk about the breakdown of community.
However that is often all it is – talk.
But the residents of Lyndhurst Road have decided to tackle the problem head on, by launching a unique neighbourhood scheme.
At the heart of the project is Naz Kotadia, the owner of the||Lyndhurst Stores corner shop.
He said: “I’ve been here 24 years and I’ve seen a lot of changes in that time.
“The road used to be full of families but with the increase in house prices many have been driven away.
“Increasingly areas like ours are home to commuters who get home late in the evening, close their doors behind them and that’s it.
“So a group of us decided we would do something about it.”
Last year residents were sent a questionnaire to gauge the hunger for community action.
They were also quizzed on what kind of local groups they would like to be part of and what products they wanted to see in Mr Kotadia’s shop.
The response was overwhelming and local resident and designer Oliver Heath went about setting up a community website.
He added: “There are something like 2,000 corner shops a year closing down due to the aggressive pricing of supermarkets and home deliveries.
Heart of the street
“But these stores have so much potential – they could be at the heart of the community.
“That’s what we’re trying to do down here.”
The website provides a number of functions aimed at bringing the community together.
First, Mr Heath explained, is the ability to get in touch with Mr Kotadia directly and let him know what kind of products they want him to stock.
Mr Kotadia said: “We’ve started getting bread directly from the Real Patisserie at the weekend. That has been a huge success. We’ve also looked at providing other local produce such as fish from Shoreham harbour and Sussex meats.”
Online meeting place
The second function of the website is to provide a forum for residents to set up groups.
The likes of cookery classes, mother and toddler clubs and sports teams have all already been suggested with many more in the pipeline.
The site is also designed to provide an online meeting place for locals to discuss everything from recommendations for plumbers and garages to cookery tips and film reviews.
Mr Heath said: “Essentially the website allows people to speak to Naz and to speak to each other.
“For example, say I need a ladder, instead of going out and spending £50 or £60 I can ask to borrow one from one of my neighbours. There’s no point having 30 ladders on the road.
“And with gardening, there are people down the road with beautiful gardens year in year out while I struggle just with the soil. By setting up a group we can share tips and tricks.”
Wayne Jackman, who lives just a few doors down from Mr Kotadia’s shop, is throwing his weight behind the scheme and encouraging his neighbours to get talking.
But he himself needs little introduction to many of the families, not because he’s met them but because he’s been the face of children’s shows such as Playdays, Allsorts and Funbus.
In total he has made some 1,500 appearances on children’s TV and still writes for many shows today.
He said: “I get to work from home which is nice and then go up to London now and again for meetings.”
The Bafta nominated actor and writer has also appeared in a number of stage shows along with TV appearances in the likes of The Bill.
He said: “It’s a lovely street to live on and anything that can bring the community together is a good thing.”
But Mr Jackman isn’t the only TV star on the road.
Mr Heath, who is the real brains behind the project, was once a resident designer on Changing Rooms.
He said: “We are still in the very early stages of this project, but we hope we can build on it and it can become a model for other communities.”
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