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The Pavements Shopping Centre

February 28, 2021 9:12 PM
By Howard Borrell

Howard 2021

Long before Covid hit, High Streets everywhere have been struggling, due to out-of-town competition and the rise of internet shopping. Currently over 45% of all shopping is being done online. The Council taking full ownership of the Pavements at this time is therefore not only expensive but very challenging to say the least.

It would, however, provide the opportunity to re-model a tired 40 year old shopping centre in line with modern thinking. Liberal Democrat Cllrs have long been calling for the Council to be visionary and recognise that in the future town centres will have to find new ways to attract visitors and grow footfall. The 'same old, same old' approach no longer works.

Old and new customers need to be attracted by a mix of indoor and outdoor leisure, arts and a thriving independent retail sector. An empty shop unit could be used for local art and photography displays. Our schools produce fantastic artwork every year that almost no-one gets to see. A new central cinema would encourage more people into the Town Centre and provide more demand for cafe/restaurants. Frequent toe-tapping street music would enhance the shopping experience. An interesting and vibrant Town Centre brings in more visitors and, in turn, more customers to make retail shops and market stalls alike, more profitable in this internet age.

Town centres are evolving and nationally only 35% of Town Centre space is now retail. It's vital that the Council's approach is ahead of the curve not lagging behind.