Aldershot town centre retailers meeting

Westgate ugly eyesore on edge of Victorian town centre

Westgate ugly eyesore on edge of Victorian town centre

hands off The Arcade

hands off The Arcade

A meeting was called by the council of retailers in Aldershot.

They were told, the ugly Westgate development on the edge of Aldershot town centre was good for Aldershot.

This statement was met with incredulity by the retailers present.

What is the footfall, one asked. 200,000 was the reply.

200,000 an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime? It was not said.

The chain fast food eateries in Westgate are either not very busy or all but empty. But, every meal eaten in one of these eateries, is a meal not eaten in the town centre, not that Aldershot has anywhere worth eating. Every pound spent in these eateries is a pound drained out of the local economy, a pound not recycled within the local economy.

Westgate, or Waste Gate as many retailers are now calling it, has been an unmitigated disaster for Aldershot, it is laying waste to the town. It is as welcome as a hole in the head.

The week it opened, the Thursday street market saw their worst ever trading day.

Retailers are seeing takings down. One retailer saw one day when they only took a few pounds.

Jerome have been in businesses for 90 years. They keep detailed records. They have seen their worse ever two weeks in nearly a century.

A French restaurant, now closed, has been one of the first casualties.

Plans to trash The Arcade are making a dire situation worse. The first act of a new developer was to kick out the small retailers.

This is what is called consultation, the council tells the retailers what is best for the town and ignores the retailers and the local community. Not satisfied with having destroyed Farnborough, the council is determined to destroy Aldershot. Decades of bad town planing by a dysfunctional if not corrupt council has laid waste to Aldershot, a council that gets into bed with developers and Big Businesses, to the detriment of the town.

Survey after survey shows people do not want High Street chain stores, they want individual quirky shops, they want real choice, they want character.

North Laine in Brighton is always busy.

Sincil Street in Lincoln is always busy, and yet the City Council wants to see most of it destroyed for a soulless shopping centre.

Market Rasen, a small Lincolnshire market town, has managed to turn itself around by focussing on small shops, local traders, local community.

And yet in Farnborough, Firgrove Parade, about all that remains of small retailers in the town centre, is earmarked for destruction, The Tumbledown Dick, a c 1720s coaching inn is earmarked for destruction for an unwanted Drive-Thru McDonald’s. The council has refused to meet with the local community on these issues, and yet is happy to meet with developers and McDonald’s

The question everyone is asking: Why is the local council in the pocket of Big Businesses and developers and not acting for the local community and local businesses?

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3 Responses to “Aldershot town centre retailers meeting”

  1. simontaylor Says:

    North Camp is where the independent shops seem to be based. Three butchers, an amazing deli, gun shop, engravers, pet shops, cobblers, just about everything seems to be there. Very few national chains (apart from a Boots and a Co-Op). Really good stuff. Guess it’s because of rent difference.

  2. keithpp Says:

    True, North Camp is where most of the independent shops are based, but it is a shadow of what it once was, even only a decade or so ago.

    North Camp is an embarrassment to the council, they would rather see it whither and die, but it exists thanks to the hard work of the retailers, not due to any support from the council.

    Car parking restrictions were introduced in a crude attempt to kill off North Camp.

    The No Parking lines outside Robin’s hairdresser in Peabody Road has all but killed his business.

    Yes, we had a marvellous Deli in Lynchford Road, sadly now gone, killed by constant harassment by the council.

    Bob The Cobbler is still there in Camp Road.

    What we now need is a farmers market. Farmers were interested in a mid-week market, say Wednesday. The idea was put to the council. They were not interested.

    But we also need independent shops in Farnborough and Aldershot, not clone town chains, every town the same.

  3. keithpp Says:

    It is not rent difference that is emptying Aldershot and Farnborough of small retailers, it is a council in bed with developers and big business, though it is true there are rent differences.

    It is not rent differences that emptied The Arcade of retailers, or is threatening the retailers in Firgrove Parade, its is the council and developers.

    Head of Planning Keith Holland fell over backwards to push on behalf of the developer plans to trash The Arcade. Fortunately for once the councillors said no and refused to be brow beaten into approving the plans.

    Opponents of trashing The Arcade, have even had an uphill battle to get Keith Holland to accept their 4,000 plus signatures against trashing of The Arcade.

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