In order to distribute these questionnaires I chose roads randomly and houses by systematic sampling methods. I distributed 250 questionnaires and 56 were returned (22%). This represented 170 residents.
In my sample there were 29 families (varying in size from 1 to 4 children!), 21 married couples without children and 6 singletons. The largest age group was the 40-50s but all were represented in the sample almost evenly (0-10 = 13%, 11-20 = 17%, 21-30 = 9%, 31-40 = 13%, 41-50 = 18%, 51-60 = 13%, 60+ = 17%). The census put the average age as 38 in Barnes and 30 in Mortlake in 2001, but that data is a bit dated now.
Most residents are working but there are many studying, including adults.
The married couples without children are the most devoted joiners of clubs and societies. They averaged 2+ per couple. The families also averaged 2 each whereas singletons averaged only 1. Also 2/3 of the married couples were members of the BCA and half of them were Wetlands centre members. One might have expected the families to be more likely to be members but they numbered 1/3 Wetlands and 1/6 BCA. Almost all singletons were BCA members but none were Wetlands members.
What do people join?
- BCA 37%
- Wetlands centre 28%
- Sports clubs 14%
- Barnes Literary Society 10%
- Friends of Barnes Common 3%
- Barnes Music Society 2%
- And others such as the 1st Barnes Brownies, The BMHS, the WEA, various churches and so on.
ATTENDING LOCAL SCHOOLS
This is surprisingly low. Of the 49 young people only 10 attended local schools. 5 were at the Harrodian, 2 at St Pauls and one at each of St Osmond’s, Colet Court and Barnes Primary. 8 more attended local nursery schools, with Barnes Montessori being the most popular. However many admitted to attending schools in neighbouring districts – Putney High, East Sheen Primary, Godolphin, the Unicorn and Latimer were mentioned. From our point of view we possibly lose potential shoppers this way.
Popularity by category is most easily shown in a table:
The 10 most popular hobbies overall are as follows:
- Eating out
- Watching TV
- Food shopping
SHOPPING IN BARNES
63% of the sample shopped in Barnes 3 x per week.
25% shopped once a week.
7% shopped once a month.
5% rarely used Barnes for shopping.
These are pleasing results but I suspect the loyalty of these customers is reflected in the fact that they returned their questionnaires!
REASONS WHY SOME LIKED SHOPPING IN BARNES
- 23% Friendly shopkeepers offering personal service.
- 21% supporting the community
- 20% convenient for specific purchases
- 14% opportunity to bump into acquaintances
- 14% meeting friends in cafes and restaurants
- 7% window shopping
- Other reasons were given as village atmosphere, tranquil, near home, excellent for convenience goods and services, has everything I need, excellent food shops and market.
REASONS WHY SOME DISLIKED SHOPPING IN BARNES:
- I do all my shopping in a larger centre (around a supermarket)
- Barnes doesn’t sell what I want.
- Barnes prices are too high.
- Too many traffic wardens
WHERE DID THEY SHOP?
- 45% shopped in Church Road
- 36% in the High Street
- 12% in White Hart Lane
- 7% in Castelnau parade.
HOW DID THEY USUALLY TRAVEL TO THE SHOPS?
- 73% walked (and liked the fact they could walk to their local shops)
- 13% came by car
- 11% cycled
- 3% came by bus.
WHICH IS THE FAVOURITE DAY FORSHOPPING?
- Saturday and then Friday. (Interestingly Sunday got only one vote.)
WHICH IS THE LEAST FAVOURITE DAY FOR SHOPPING?
- Monday and Sunday jointly equal!
The question was “Do you or your family make a point of buying:
- Organic foods? 40% said they did.
- Fair trade Products? 40% answered yes.
- Vegetarian cuisine? 10% answered yes.
- Vegan? 0
- Other? Some make a point of looking especially for good quality foods in our specialist shops.
WHICH ARE OUR MOST FREQUENTLY VISITED SHOPS? (5 = FREQUENT, I = NEVER)
4 Food and drink
3 Gifts, jewellery, flowers.
3 Dry cleaner
3- Hair /beautician.
1 Holiday booking.
What would you like to see fill our empty shops? (This type of information might influence landlords and agents). These are in rank order of popularity.
There were many, many suggestions but the main ones were:
- An all embracing children’s’ shop that did toys, shoes, clothes (like Gap) and party items.
- A sports shop with walking /outdoor gear and bike repair.
- A delicatessen in the High Street or Church Road.
- A garden shop/nursery for plants.
- A DIY/ ironmongers with electrical goods.
- A bistro/bar especially for a decent snack/sandwich lunch. (Mini’s in Sheen was cited).
- A music shop with instrument hire, sheet music, CDs, and DVDs (ABC Kew was cited).
- A children’s play shop/cafe with arts, crafts etc. (Gambados was cited).
- A stationers/ art materials shop. (We have many school children and students).
10. Gift shop (to replace Bradford’s). Mia Wood in Kew was cited.
11. Health food shop.
12. Books, second hand books, children’s books.
13. A Greengrocers in the High Street.
14. A small supermarket (One Stop was disliked and those who suggested this believed it would increase footfall and help Barnes shops).
15. An ethnic restaurant (French, Indonesian, Middle eastern, Italian a like Carluccio’s, Indian like Zing in Hammersmith, tapas.) Also suggested was a steak house and a fish restaurant.
There were also cries for a decent bakery, modern stylish clothes shops for men (casual), women and/or teenagers (like Jack Wills, Quick Silver, Alley Cat (Sheen), shoes, bags and accessories, an internet cafe and office support shop, a wine specialist and a choc shop like Hope and Greenwood.
There was a unanimous NO to any more estate agents and some felt we have enough cafes.
Should we make Barnes a specialist shopping area (like Hay on Wye) and if so promoting what?
There were some good ideas.
- Healthy Living – healthy fresh food combined with making use of the river, the Common, the Wetlands centre and leafy open spaces here for sports such as walking, cycling, running, rowing, sailing. Link this with our new sports/outdoor shop (see above) and organic food products, also “grow your own”, ecobabies, and we could have a festival!!
- Children centred.
- Food festival (Marylebone High Street was cited).
- Homes/interiors (Tobias/the Dining Room Shop and Taylor Mar were cited).
- Village shopping.
There was a feeling among some that this would not be good for Barnes because we would lose variety.
COMMUNICATION: KEEPING YOU IN THE LOOP.
100% said they would like to be made aware of Barnes events and activities! This is good news indeed.
- 25% like to read about these in the BCA magazine “Prospect”.
- 23% would like to be contacted by e-mail (and have left their address so I shall set up a regular contact system).
- 16% said posters in shop windows worked for them (and urged us to use cafes too – although cafe chains will not always allow it).
- 16% said via a Barnes local website. (We are launching this in June and it is beautiful!!)
- 12% said they read pamphlets through the door.
- 3% use face book.
- 3% said via their child’s school.
- 2% said by post.
- 90% were aware of the Barnes community Association (which is just as well since they pay me to work to promote Barnes shops!)
- Only 10% were unaware.
THE WETLANDS CENTRE
88% had visited.
12% had not….yet!
AND FINALLY…YOUR SAY…
The questionnaire finished with an open ended question which asked for any comments relating to Barnes shops and shopping centre which might help us to improve it and make it the true heart of our community. Suggestions were as follows:
Opening Hours: It is suggested that these are not uniform and not suited to those who work during the day. Many requests have come for late night opening on one or two days a week ‘til say 7p.m. The butcher and fishmonger were given as examples. Shoppers would like to use them but are forced to use Sainsbury’s by the time they get home from work. Another group of mothers complained about late morning opening. Shops are shut when they want to shop just after dropping off at nursery school or school. Others want to buy a card or gift on the way to work for an office colleague.
Empty shops: Many people commented on the depressing aspect of these and asked if, at least in the short term, they couldn’t be cleaned and mail cleared. Short leases should be offered to help small shops start up. Twilight shops are very successful in the USA.
It was felt that in the future there needs to be a balance between chains and independents to keep Barnes shops healthy. Many requested a small supermarket to draw in footfall. Also maybe Blacks outdoor and/or Evans cycles. It is recognised that chains are more recession proof and therefore a necessity. They also maintain high standards of premises and can sustain the high rates. Gordons and Bradfords are sorely missed as examples of successful former independents in Barnes. They were well stocked and prices were affordable. Marlow, Wimbledon village and Northcote Road were given as models to follow but even Kew has a more tempting mix.
Existing shops: There were complaints about One Stop – the appearance, the lack of stock, the poor management. Also it seems the Parish Bakery is not satisfying local taste. There is not a wide enough range of shops at the moment. And some are just too pricey (clothes and shoe shops were frequently cited in particular). Many people would like to do ALL their shopping in Barnes but cannot. A children’s shoe shop, for example, is missing. So is a large green grocer (which is why we flock to the Farmers’ market). One mother would like to have wider door access for buggies. This may not be possible as shop frontages cannot be tampered with in conservation areas which affects Barnes. Personal service was given as Barnes’ strength and Seals and Natsons were quoted by more than one resident as illustrations of help offered that is beyond the call of duty. It was often said that our local shops need to do more promotions and advertising through letter boxes.
Parking: There is no doubt that parking restrictions and manic traffic wardens frighten many potential shoppers away. We do not have a car park to serve our shops. There were many complaints about this issue. One resident gave the example of wine. If he walks he will buy a bottle, if he parks near the shop he will buy a case. Another argued that with a parking permit we should have free parking anywhere in Barnes for an hour at least.
Extras: For a budding entrepreneur there is a shortage of nursery school facilities in Barnes especially for under twos and we lose parent patronage when they are forced to go out of district. It was suggested that we have a residents’ picnic and shops have stalls to promote their wares at it. Another suggestion was to have an art/ antiques fair.
It would also be lovely if the OSO could have seating on the Green in the summer.
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