Posts Tagged ‘local economy’

Destruction of local businesses

August 15, 2018

What makes a town centre, local businesses, local architecture, they provide a sense of place, the local businesses recycle money within the local economy.

Four local businesses destroyed, for what, a rapacious greedy developer to make fast buck.

A grassy area with flowering cherry trees destroyed, for what, an ugly eyesore of a Premier Inn, and of course a rapacious developer to make a fast buck.

Around the corner The Tumbledown Dick destroyed, for what, a Drive-Thu McDonald’s, and of course to enable  a rapacious developer to make a fast buck, the same rapacious developer.

Within the town centre, half the town centre destroyed, people kicked out of their homes, social housing levelled to the ground for a car park, many local business destroyed, for what, a superstore and a handful of corporate chains.

Welcome to Farnborough, one of the ugliest town centres in the country. And yes, there are worst, Aldershot down the road.

And complicit in all of this, town centre planners, who have not a clue what constitutes good town centre planning, who lack any understanding of how local economies function, but who can be relied upon to act against the interests of the local community, hand greedy developers on a plate whatever they ask for.

Complicit too, thick-as-shit local councillors who rubber-stamp whatever is put before them, who are led by the nose by the planners acting for developers, who stick two fingers up to the local community.

There is one green area left in the town centre. That too is now earmarked for development, no lessons have been learnt, no apologies for the damage wrought on the town centre.

Contrast Farnborough or Aldershot with North Laine in Brighton. Three streets with side streets, quirky indie businesses, coffee shops, music shops, bookshops, restaurants, boutiques, food shops, bakeries, pubs, and not a single corporate chain in sight, nor empty boarded-up shops.  On a Sunday busy, on a Saturday difficult to move for people.

The same is true for the old part of York or Hull Old Town.

Ruddock’s to close after 163 years in business

March 4, 2017

Ruddock’s and Stokes on High Bridge are permanent features of Lincoln High Street.

Ruddock’s, a printer and a shop, the shop a bookshop, stationary, art supplies, upmarket pens, located in the top half of the High Street in Lincoln.

Or was, the printing business is to remain, the shop is to close.

Ruddock’s is to close after 163 years in business. A family business, the plan is to close in April 2017, 113 years in the present location, prior to that a little further up the High Street.

Henry Ruddock blames the lack of parking.

That is not the problem, the High Street is busy, there is footfall on the street, the problem is people are not passing through the door into the store.

I am sorry to see Ruddock’s close, but sadly not surprised, it lost its way years ago.

Lack of car parking in the town centre is simply an excuse. Yes, there is a problem of traffic congestion, solve that by improving public transport.

I see a High Street packed, but I see Ruddock’s empty.

But I would agree most of the developments within the city centre have been to the detriment of the town centre. For example the ugly high rise buildings, destruction of Sincil Street and the market, allowing motorised traffic through a pedestrianised city centre.

Ruddock’s used to be an excellent bookshop. Ruddock’s lost their way when they stopped selling books, though difficult to compete with on-line and Waterstone’s selling cut price best sellers, deals that are not offered to indie bookshops. Walk in now, and it is newspapers, magazines and rubbish.

Though first floor is a specialist art supplier.

Henry’s tea shop upstairs, is nicely done out, has atmosphere, but the coffee when I tried was not good. These days if open a coffee shop, ok it is a tea shop, you have to employ top class baristas and take a pride in the coffee you serve, not leave it to someone who makes the sandwiches. And how many passing by know there is a tea shop upstairs?

The tea shop will remain open or for the time being, but it is difficult to see how this will work if the shop is to close.

The tea shop is also placed at a competitive disadvantage when Starbucks and Caffè Nero dodge tax.

Ruddock’s also sells high quality pens, and I do not mean trendy rubbish Ted Baker as they promoted on twitter.

Montegrappa The Alchemist

Montegrappa The Alchemist

One of the rare shops I have found selling Montegrappa pens though not their top range, for example The Alchemist pen.

Lincoln will now have lost all its indie bookshops, or soon will have.

Readers Rest closed a couple of years ago. A great loss, and still missed.

Harlequin is going, driven out of business by a greedy landlord hiking the rent.

BookStop Cafe remains, local authors and second hand books, located in an undercroft beneath a Norman building with stunning view down Steep Hill.

Business rate hike is going to kill off many more indie businesses.

Development of Sincil Street has done an excellent job of driving out indie businesses. The street is now derelict. It used to be between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon busier than the High Street.

What is left? The same boring chains as seen in every town.

And where we do see indie coffee shops like Coffee Aroma, harassment from the County Council for leaving their tables and chairs outside in a pedestrianised area.

Yet what we see sadly is not only Lincoln, planners who care not for the local town, lack vision, lack understanding of town centre planning, and too often in the pocket of greedy developers.

When I attend a planning meeting and find a planner arguing on behalf of a greedy developer, dismissing any local objections, often quite well founded local objections, blatantly lying on the presentation, then I know something stinks.

And we only have to look at the results.

That is why time and time again, when English visit small towns across Europe, and still find the butcher, baker and indie bookshops, the historic centre free of traffic and unspoilt, they ask, why is my town not like this?

Libreria Palazzo Roberti

Libreria Palazzo Roberti

In Bassano del Grappa, a small town north of Venice nestling in the foothills of the Alps, we find traffic free streets, little shops, three indie bookshops, one of which is in a former palace where Napoleon once stayed.

Lincoln City Council, shedding crocodile tears, wringing of hands, not us guv.

Of course they are at fault, they are the planning authority hand in hand with Lincolnshire who are the Highways authority.

A classic case study in bad town centre planning.

And then have the gall to blame Lincoln for being a historic town. That is its attraction, there is nothing else of attraction. Or do they think people visit to admire the ugly buildings, to shop in the same shops as found elsewhere?

I fully back Henry Ruddock in his damning critique of the City Council.

Lincoln would make a case study in unimaginative, bad town centre planning.

Where I would disagree, is in the comments on car parking.

In the last decade or more we have seen ugly high rise buildings, each one uglier than the other.

Brayford is an eyesore.

This was an area of old warehouses and mills. This area could have been restored, to create an attractive and vibrant atmosphere, ground floor indie coffee shops and other indie businesses, first floor small businesses, design studios, hi-tech, top floors living accommodation.

Look to Bristol for an example.

A couple of years ago Sincil Street was thriving, between ten in the morning and four in the morning, it was busier than the High Street.

Now it has been blighted by development and sky high rents. And if look at the hoardings, more High Street chains, where once we had indie businesses.

Look to North Laine in Brighton, three streets each longer than Sincil Street, associated side streets, always busy, not a single chain, all indie businesses.

We see harassment of Coffee Aroma for leaving their tables and chairs outside, rather than deal with the real issue of stopping traffic through a pedestrianised area and delivering by handcart and trolley, as the norm in Europe.

No tourists

May 19, 2015
Protaras deserted beach

Protaras deserted beach

Protaras deserted beach

Protaras deserted beach

Several days ago a friend posted a couple of pictures of the beach. It was deserted.

No tourists.

Now middle of third week in May.

Looking along the beach yesterday, rows of empty sunbeds.

This morning little better.

Boats that sail from the pier twice a day, of three boats only one sailing.

Last May boats only sailing in the morning, not in the afternoon.

This May worse than last May, which was worse than May the year before, which was bad, the year Cyprus faced economic crisis when EU decided to trash the Cypriot economy.

Hotels are sitting empty, staff not paid, one hotel group has gone bust.

All very much as predicted in a report last year, that if the problems were not addressed, the collapse of Cypriot tourist economy would accelerate.

look out point sails hang in tatters

look out point sails hang in tatters

A few years ago, at great expense, a coastal path was constructed along the beach. It has proved to be very successful, but. This time of year, it would be a delight, spring wild flowers. A couple of years ago, the wild flowers were all scraped away with a  digger. They have never recovered. Overlooking the beach, a look out point, shaded with sails. Or was. The sails hang in tatters. All winter, but no attempt to repair the sails.

These are but a  few examples indicative of why the tourist industry is collapsing.

Each year, more tourists from the bottom end of the market which drive away the quality tourists.

Each year, more fast food takeaways.

Dependency upon any one country makes highly vulnerable to economic situation in that country. It used to be the Brits, of late the Russians.

Valdimir Putin has done an excellent job of destroying the Russian economy. Russian economy collapsed, rouble collapsed, no Russian tourists.

Dependency upon a handful of big tour companies, rather than intelligent use of internet and direct bookings, means on a whim, tourist flow turned off as easily as turning a tap.

All inclusive, means no money finds its way into the local economy.

If you want to kill local tourism, wipe out the local economy, then allow all inclusive hotels

October 12, 2014


If you want to kill local tourist industry, wipe out the local economy dependent on tourism, then allow all inclusive hotels.

This is what is happening in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife.

This is happening in Protaras in Cyprus.

There are other factors at play, austerity means people have no spending money, poor and falling standards at hotels, taking clients for granted, bad tourists losing the good tourists, but the prime mover destroying the tourist industry is all inclusive hotels.

In Puerto de la Cruz, boarded-up shops and bars and restaurants, businesses of 30 years closed, bars that would be open gone midnight, where they employed four or more people, now closing at ten o’clock at night, only employing one person. A dozen hotels are sitting empty, others are not full, two or three floors empty. Dependency on subsidised Spanish peasants (a back door to bailing out failing hotels), is driving out quality tourists.

In Protaras in May, few people on the streets at night, restaurant and bar owners with long faces, during the day, boats that sailed from the pier along the coast twice a day were only sailing once a day as there was not enough passengers to justify the fuel for a second trip. In September, where the streets would normally be crowded, more like a typical May, only May was no longer typical. Whereas the bars and restaurants were busy, they were not full, and several were almost empty.

Protaras has an additional problem. All inclusive hotels, most of the money goes to the tour company (and that is why they are so keen to push all inclusive), some goes to the hotel owner, and a little trickles down to the staff employed, some of which finds its way into the local economy. Only with Protaras, many of the all inclusive hotels are employing cheap foreign labour not local labour, and so almost nothing finds its way into the local economy.

All inclusive attracts the bottom end of the tourist market who wish to drink themselves senseless all day.

They is no such thing as a free lunch, or free dinner. Quality suffers.

If drinks and food is free all day, no reason to go out to a bar or restaurant. It is not only the bars and restaurants that suffer, so do all the other businesses that people no longer walk by, footfall dries up.

Cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

April 17, 2014
cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

Late afternoon, pleasant to sit outside Caffe Macchiato and catch the sun.

They used to be open until 7pm. January they closed at 6pm.

It makes sense to close early in the winter, stay open later in the summer.

Sadly they are unlikely to revert to 7pm.

Like every other small business in Aldershot, they are suffering from the opening of Wastegate. The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor doing its best to destroy the town, destroy local businesses.

Every ten pound spent in the tacky chain eateries in Wastegate, is ten pounds drained out of the local economy.

Ten pound spent in Caffe Macchiato is ten pound recycled in the local economy.

And unlike Costa, Caffe Macchiato serve coffee.

The opening of The Queen Hotel, is going to be an additional drain on the local economy. Last week when it opened, it was packed, this week quiet, but still more people than you see in the tacky chain eateries, more people than you see in Caffe Macchiato.

Whilst J D Wetherspoon are to be complimented on the renovation of The Queen Hotel, they and Caffe Macchiato are the only ones enhancing the built environment, contrast with the tacky junk food outlets, J D Wetherspoon are none the less draining money out of the local economy.

Sincil Street

January 31, 2013
Sincil Street

Sincil Street

Running north-south and bounded to the north by the River Witham (bridged by a footbridge), this area was originally wetlands reclaimed sometime late Anglo-Saxon or early Medieval. The river flowed just south of the wall of the Roman City Lindum Colonia. The present course of the river dates from the 12th century.

Sincil Street is the only remaining heritage outside the Central Market in Lincoln (ironically older than the Central Market), parts dating from 1840, home to many independent retailers, the street more popular than the High Street demolishing the myth shoppers prefer the sameness of High Street retailers (Sincil Street is busier than the High Street).

Little alleys run between the shops, some run to the back of the shops, others run through to what used to be workshops, but now an ugly bus station.

At either end there are two indie coffee shops, Café 44 at one end, Revival at the other.

All that remains of heritage of this period in this part of the town centre.

And yet the City Council wishes to see Sincil Street destroyed. Revival to be demolished to make way for a soulless shopping centre.

No one wishes to see Sincil Street destroyed, it gives the area character, the local businesses recycle money within the local economy.

Why is the City Council hell bent on destruction?

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