Revisiting Westgate

Westgate

Westgate

Westgate is indeed a comprehensive scheme that will be a fantastic asset for Aldershot and its residents. … all round it is great news and I’m delighted to see it opening. — Peter Moyle, council leader Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

It’s just a fantastic addition to the town and will be a huge boost to residents. … Westgate will serve as an excellent conduit to the town centre itself. — Andrew Lloyd, chief executive Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

Westgate, an ugly unwanted development on the edge of Aldershot town centre, parts of which opened last week, is entered up a flight of steps and into a windy plaza, the fast food outlets lining the plaza on both sides have yet to open.

In the windy plaza the paving slabs are already being dug up and relaid.

The drain running through the middle does not appear to be working as already being cleaned out.

There are some strange structures, a little over a foot high, difficult to know whether these are works of art or seats. Located in the middle of the thoroughfare, ideal trip hazards.

Either they have appeared since last week, or I failed to notice, wooden park bench seats. But why a strip of metal bent around the front of the seat? Ideal to rip trousers or skirt on.

Last week Morrisons was very busy, especially Monday when it opened. Today almost empty, people rattling around link peas in a pod, barely more than half the cash tills open. Begs the question what happens to the staff who were on the tills, are they sent home with no pay? Zero hours contracts? By the closed tills, a metal barrier at knee height, an ideal trip hazard.

Breakfast from the cafe very poor, marginally better than would get in centre of Aldershot, which is not saying a lot.

Walking down into the town centre from Upper union Street, into Union Street, and looking down into the town, the town empty, the street all but deserted.

There are still no street signs directing people from Westgate into the town. Deliberate?

I looked in the YMCA shop and was told the town centre was now dead, Westgate having killed the town. Looking out from the shop, the street deserted, as though in a ghost town.

For some shops, less than 10% loss of trade will be sufficient to put them out of businesses. Each time a shop closes, less reason to venture into Aldershot. At a tipping point, once one or two shops go, rapid domino collapse.

The only busy day is market day which pulls people into Aldershot. Last week the market was dead. The fruit and vegetable stall usually very popular was empty. It will only take a few weeks like this for the fruit and vegetable stall to pull out. If the fruit and vegetable stall pulls out, the market will collapse as the other stalls are selling tat.

Without exception, the local council is blamed for destroying the town.

Once again it raises big question the mentality of the leader of the council and chief executive to destroy their own town centre.

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