Developer shocked by refusal to allow them to trash The Arcade

The Arcade a Victorian arcade destroyed by greed!

The Arcade a Victorian arcade destroyed by greed!

The developer who wishes to trash The Arcade in Aldershot and turn many small units into two large units, one assumed to be J D Wetherspoon, one a Poundland, claims to be ‘shocked’ that the planning committee refused their application.

Why is the developer shocked, was the developer given a nod and a wink, a green light that the application was a foregone conclusion, that it would be pushed through?

The planners did everything they could to push the application through on behalf of the developer. Even to the extent of blatantly lying.

The developer claims only weak planning reasons to throw out their application. Actually not true, there were plenty of good reasons to refuse, but strange the developer should use the same words as the planning officials, especially as the developer was not at the meeting.

For once the councillors showed some backbone and acted for Aldershot.

Aldershot is in dire straits due to years of bad planning decisions by a dysfunctional planning department more interested in promoting the interests of developers and High Street chains, than the town and small businesses who try to earn a living in the town.

One example is the Westgate development on the edge of Aldershot. An appalling eyesore on the edge of the town centre, a development that is not in keeping with a Victorian town. It is likely to be a White Elephant, but if not it will relocate the retail centre of gravity away from the town centre and towards the out-of-town Tesco, thus delivering the final death blow to the town.

The retailers earmarked for Westgate, Nando’s, Pizza Express and similar cheap tacky fast-food chains that do not serve quality food, that contribute to the obesity crisis facing Aldershot, and will drain yet more more money out of a deprived area and do nothing to enhance the reputation of Aldershot.

Having not got their way, the developer acting like a baby throwing its rattle out of the pram has now threatened existing retailers with the closing of one end of The Arcade to kill off passing trade, and thus kill their businesses. A threat they have repeated in the Aldershot News.

Should they try to close the thoroughfare through The Arcade, they will have a problem as this route has acquired the status of a common law public right of way due to years of continuous usage over a period of in excess of twenty years.

The Arcade was a Victorian Arcade, unil trashed by a developer. It was replaced by a plastic replica. For many years the units sat empty, passers-by mocked by boarded-up shops depicting the butcher, baker and candlestick makers. Slowly, slowly, the retail units were occupied. Many now stand empty, not due to lack of demand or the recession, they stand empty because the developer has kicked them out.

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10 Responses to “Developer shocked by refusal to allow them to trash The Arcade”

  1. Sylvie Says:

    Why knock J D Wetherspoon? In Exeter they have restored important historical structures, including a Brunel orangery and a Georgian methodist meeting house. But for them, these structures would been in a parlous state. Furthermore, J D W support and have been responsible for the survival of many small breweries in Devon and elsewhere. A pint of British beer has mainly British ingredients, unlike the coffees that you are so fond of!

  2. keithpp Says:

    It is not knocking Wetherspoon, though if you went to Bridge Street in Guildford Friday and Saturday night you would find violent drunken scum on the street, with the Council having to draw up an action plan to deal with the problem. Bouncers on the door, beer served in plastic due to to one poor guy being glassed in the face. He lost an eye, and as he only had one eye, he is now blind.

    Currently it is Street Angels keeping a lid on the problem as the Police cannot cope

    https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/talking-with-a-street-angel/

    Aldershot has an even worse problem of drunken scum on the street. The last thing Aldershot needs is yet another large bar. As with Guildford, the Police cannot cope, and it is far worse than Guildford.

    This is not Wetherspoon looking to restore an old building, There was a lovely Victorian Arcade which was destroyed. Now a plastic replica.

    Last year, a developer bought The Arcade. The first act of the developer looking to make a fast buck was to kick out all the existing retailers. These were local businesses.

    To compare Aldershot with Exeter is not to compare like with like. Exeter is a pleasant Cathedral town, you have had restoration on the waterway. Aldershot by contrast is a run down slum.

    Wetherspoon a decade ago true, but not Wetherspoon today.

    Yes, they did restore old buildings, yes they did bring real ale from small breweries into their pubs. And they had no music.

    Now they are a large chain that like the supermarket chains use their muscle to force down prices.

    The small breweries are roughly dependent 50/50 small pubs and Wetherspoon.

    But Wetherspoon do not care what they sell. They ring round small breweries and buy up surplus beer at less than half price that is a couple of days before expiry date. Beer that would otherwise go down the drain. Small pubs cannot do this as they would not have the demand to sell it within a couple of days. Wetherspoon get the beer very cheap, can make a massive mark up, and still undercut the small pubs.

  3. Misako Yoke (@misakouroco) Says:

    It would have been a beautiful spot to visit… I love watching old architecture, admiring beautiful details while thinking about stories behind at the same time… Oh, sad.

  4. shirlee gibbs Says:

    I run a small business in the second part of the Arcade that is “unaffected” by the changes. Sadly it will have a major impact as I will be at the back of what is left of the walk way. I have always been very optimistic with everything to do with my business, but this has floored me.I appreciate we are all trying to make money everyone needs to put food on the table, but I have always put my customers above self.Having moved to accommodate the ever rising population [a good thing in any town] only 2 years ago, I now find the footfall I paid extra rent for is to be removed.There’s no concern from the owners as they are governed by the investment they have committed to.I fear there is no turning back for them as they have emptied one side and rendered it ugly so anyone would prefer what they are proposing. Unfortunately I am stuck with the aftermath .

  5. keithpp Says:

    Yes, it was a tragedy that the old Victorian Arcade was destroyed. I am told the developer that destroyed the old Arcade ‘accidently’ backed a bulldozer into it.

    Equally tragic is the way a Victorian town has been destroyed.

    What is needed is an investigation into the planning department who fall over backwards to push unwanted development through on behalf of developers.

  6. keithpp Says:

    In any town, it is the small retailers, their hard work, that makes a town.

    The developer has invested nothing in The Arcade. The developer has bought The Arcade with the intention of making a fast buck.

    Now it is cut off the footfall and kill off the retailers who are left.

    This is what greedy developers do, they care not what they destroy.

    What is bad is when planners get into bed with a developer and push through schemes on their behalf.

    Should the developer attempt to close the thoroughfare they may find themselves facing a legal challenge for illegally closing a public right of way.

    At the planning meeting last week, the planners blatantly lied and claimed the walk way was regularly shuttered off. No evidence was supplied to support that claim. No one in Aldershot is aware of it ever being closed off.

    The planners also lied when they said the Planning Notice on one of the empty shops had been there since July. When did the shop fall empty? This Notice certainly was not there a few weeks ago, nor was there a Notice in the Street

  7. Herbie Says:

    I think that Tim Martin would have all the answers for you. I’ll just give you an answer to the beer myths that are perpetuated about Wetherspoon. Beer does not have an expiry date. It has a best before date.
    Cask conditioned beer has a very short life span and any seasoned beer drinker, like myself, would soon be aware that it was past it’s best. The beers in Wetherspoon’s pubs are very well kept.
    CAMRA will endorse these comments.

  8. keithpp Says:

    Yes, correct, best before date.

    Does not invalidate what Wetherspoon does. It can do it because it can get rid of the beer in a very short space of time. Something a small independent pub can not do.

    Not a beer myth, it is what Wetherspoon does.

  9. Herbie Says:

    Suggest you look at CAMRA’s forum “Root causes of pub closures”.
    Many independent pubs would still be awful with cheap beer! By the way, J D Wetherspoon still restore listed buildings. Small British brewers are booming at present. Due, in no small way, to support from J D W.
    J D W pubs are very popular with plebs like me! They serve a purpose. My tastes are eclectic and I eat and drink in all sorts of venues, from hippy wine bars to the wonderful beachhouse at South Milton.

  10. keithpp Says:

    No one is disputing Wetherspoon buy from small breweries, as do small pubs.

    All of which is totally and utterly completely irrelevant to the fact that a greedy developer is trying to trash The Arcade in Aldershot, destroy small businesses, all for yet another large bar in Aldershot that already has a problem of drunken scum on the streets late at night.

    Trolls be warned, abuse of topic gets a lifetime ban.

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