Tuesday, February 5

Empty heart

Our little market town is dying. It claims to be the oldest continually* inhabited town in England (as does Glastonbury, but we're older, get over it Glasto). Doesn't look like we'll make the next 800 or so years.
A flurry of shops has closed,

or is in the process of closing.

Some say it's because of the new one-way system.

But more likely is the rents. Especially in this deserted arcade: a monstrosity exemplifying the worst of 60's design

They want £47000 p.a. for this shop. No wonder it has stood empty for more than a year.

We were discussing what to do about Abingdon over supper last night. And between us we came up with a non-fatal version of Gears of War; the boys' favourite XBox game. So I guess we are expecting the place to become a massive paint-ball park.

Actually it does sound rather fun (can you tell there are four boys to one girl?).

And more people would come to see us if we were a 50 acre paint-ball site, a bit like those army towns they used to use for urban warfare training.

Can't think that much else is going to revitalise it.


I took all the piccies above last weekend in about a 20 minute burst. From this urban desert, we went to the business park: Argos, Homebase and so on. It was heaving. You had to queue to get on, queue for a parking space and queue in every shop.

There is so much that needs sorting out. This is a really depressing place to live, and I suspect it's a picture repeated up and down the country. And that my friends, is very worrying.


Remember, visit Easily Lead as often as you can to restore your sunny mood and to be cheered on your way.

*Does this mean there is one older, but that as not continuously inhabited? Wha?


Dave said...


I, still, like the views said...

it is the same in the village where I used to live

one of the greengrocers closed, the fancy chocolate shop closed down, the furniture shop was replaced by a crappy short term tenancy "art" shop, the hand knitted sweater store was replaced by yet another estate agent, the electrical shop shut, the post office in the hardware store had to close down so now the hardware store is on its last legs. . .

even the cobblers turned into another stupid "art" shop - and the one and only proper pucker gallery has just closed its doors. . .


and now they are talking of selling off the public space where the schools with no playing fields play rugby and football, to open a David Lloyd Tennis Centre for people who can afford the membership and probably send their children to public schools with their own playing fields so won't miss the public space. . .

HEY! my comment was as cheery as your post!!


mig bardsley said...

Newbury's the same.
There's only two shops left in the town centre where you can buy food (only one of them's a tesco metro so I'm not sure that counts)
And since they blithely pedestrianised everything in the middle, it seems to be deserted. Not only is it too expensive to rent a shop but your customers can't get within half a mile of it by car. And of course the buses only go to half a dozen of the surrounding villages and the trains only go to Reading and Exeter!
(I exaggerate a little)
However, they are building a 'cinema'.

the Beep said...

Funnily enough I have lived on both places you talk of: ILTV's village (I'm assuming?) and Newbury was my main town for ten years, both pre-and post pedestrianisation.

Funnily enough: I quite like Newbury when I go there now. Because of the main drag being so free and easy to walk up and down. I do not like the 'Village' of ILTV and haven't for some years. The changes there have been profound and disturbing and stretch back to my childhood.

Here in Ab, the main and only town centre car park is three floors. But floors one and two are reserved for council workers. So mums with push chairs, toddlers and so on have to use the (stinky) lift, or struggle up and down the stairs. How ludicrous is that?

AS I said in the post: this picture of town centre closure of small, large and medium sized shops is being repeated up and down the country. For me it brings terrible feelings of Deja Vu, but I can't place exactly from when - the 70's perhaps?

For the young, by whom I am surrounded, it's just profoundly depressing.

And for me? I just begin to think the whole thing is pointless. All that effort to get thus far ... and for what?

But thank you for troubling to read and comment. And Dave's pawprint is a treasure to behold.

I, still, like the views said...

I've gone off the village too - am rather enjoying the eclecticness of SW15. . .

hope you had a good weekened


I, still, like the views said...

knock knock!

the Beep said...

go on then ... who's there?