Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Westwood Cross - Eyesore Of The Future?

Holy underwear! I see Marks and Spencer have announced a 5.3% drop in sales, and are predicting stormy times ahead for the UK economy. Meanwhile separate data suggests that high petrol prices have led to a drop in trips to out-of-town shopping centres. According to figures from Experian's footfall index, visitor numbers fell by 5.8% in June from the same month a year ago. Even millionnaires like me are feeling the pinch. Recently I had to make the ultimate sacrifice and cancel my weekly Fortnums delivery.

All this must surely place a questionmark over the future of Brownwater. Even more units are going up, but you have to ask whether Britain's major retailers have their investing trousers on at the moment. I think the answer is probably no. And how long before we see abandoned units over there? There's nothing sadder than the sight of a derelict shopping centre. You only have to pop into Arlington Arcade to witness that!

On the other hand less out of town shopping could be good news for Thanet's beleagured local high streets. Margate was recently given a teeny-tiny boost when our beloved council agreed to a few hours free parking on Saturdays for an experimental three month period. As ever with our Cecil Square-centric councillors, no such concession was announced for Ramsgate. But then, really, what did you expect?

Click here for full story on BBC website


Anonymous said...

Ramsgate is doing great without the parking concessions. People just park in all of the side roads and walk down into the centre. It must be a great embarrassment to TDC that the one area they haven't "helped" is actually far more successful than all of the areas they have squandered public money on. Just goes to prove they should stick to mowing the grass, cleaning the public toilets and collecting the rubbish. Give Ezekiel a bog-brush and put him somewhere better suited to his language, then we'd all be happier.

Anonymous said...

An eyesore in the future, it's an eyesore now!!

Full of shops hanging on for dear life in a centre designed, either by a moron, or a wind tunnel expert!

Try going there in the wind and rain!!

Anonymous said...

Except the problem with shopping in Thanet used to be I would have to go from one town to the other to get what I needed, I might have gone from Foster Bros in Margate to Les Riggs in Cliftonville to Carousel in Ramsgate, my bank in Broadstairs, Quality Seconds in Ramsgate, back to Margate for BHS, then to Albion Bookshop in Cliftonville and have to go to the Broadstairs Branch instead. I can get everything I want at WWX. The more specialist things I still have to get in Margate....not what you think, there is a good artistry and craft shop in Cliftonville and I recently bought a particular tie I wanted in a Tailors & Outfitters there too. There are also 2nd hand furniture shops which of course you don't get at WWX. Towns need to think niche to a degree.

Mrs T.P. said...

I can never think of WWX as an out of town shopping centre.
that must be because:
I'm not an original local;
I used to live in London;
before that I lived in a town which had the population size & sprawl of Thanet.
To me WWX is in the centre - it is easily accessible to most.
And fit young things from anywhere on the Isle could even cycle there.

Personally, I am not a fit young thing at present and if I have any grumble that relates to your blog ER it is the with public transport.

I am a car driver who would love to be tempted on to the buses and trains.
Public transport often works out to be more expensive than taking my car.
This week, whilst car was having MOT, I tried to plan some local bus journeys - hours on phone, looking at route MAPs on line it would have been simpler to plan a trek in the Alps! It was also prohibitively expensive.
I supported our local mini-cab firms with my pennies instead.

Mrs T.P. again said...

I should add - I rarely go to WWX, I find all I need in Ramsgate, but you will often see Mr T.P.s van there.
He finds it most convenient - because it is on his route; parking; long bank hours.

Anonymous said...

Yes they park in all the side roads in Ramsgate, its a bloody nuisance. I want to live in a street not a carpark.

Mr. C said...

Mrs. T. P. My wife, Mrs. C. is an expert with the buses and gave up driving 10 years a go. She assures me a weekly bus ticket on the Thanet Loop is cheap in comparison. This will assist:-

Anonymous said...

Interesting then as there is a drop in customers that M&S have recently applied for planning permission for a giant snazzy mezzanine level at their WWX store. And about time, say I!

Michael Child said...

The real problem here is that WC is damaging our towns and for this reason I try to avoid using it, I was chatting to one of the bin men yesterday about my contention that in parts of Margate and Cliftonville the undesirable elements of society now outnumber the shoppers, making going there intimidation for ordinary people. Now it’s one thing having a 70 something woman saying that she finds it to intimidating to shop, as happened earlier this week, there but when a forty something bin man says he also does, as happened yesterday we have a serious problem and WC is the cause.

Anonymous said...

I think Westwood Cross is the best thing that ever happened to Thanet!
I lived here in Ramsgate for about 2 years in 1997/8 & found it to be utterly miserable...too few shops & a pathetic bus service! I moved back to Ramsgate (from living in the bowels of Essex) & was/am amazed by the transformation (ugly duckling into beautiful swan!). The bus service is fantastic now, regular & reliable with very reasonable fares (try living & using buses in somewhere like West Thurrock in Essex if you dont believe me!)WWX is very well the centre of Thanet, with a good assortment of shops (although, it does serve to emphasize the tattiness of the older shops - matalan/sainsburys/B&Q etc, by comparison!)Ramsgate town centre/harbour is much improved, with all the building & renovating etc going on, although it still has some way to go but at least its on the way up...more than can be said for poor old Margate(RIP).I think Thanet has a lot to be proud of!!!