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I personally think a lot of the blame lies with local councils. For decades I know that some have made pretty terrible decisions that have greatly contributed to the wastelands we see today.

There are also major issues with wider society that mean some of our town centres aren't the most hospitable of places and put people off going to them.

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2 hours ago, GUBRATS said:

The issue isn't the parking , the issue is who are these cheap apartments ' flats ' going to be rented to ? , If we end up with town centres full of asylum seekers and refugees , then we end up with things getting worse 

If so, lack of parking won't be a problem. For anyone else, it would be a complete stopper. 

Four legs good - two legs bad

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On 11/06/2021 at 13:59, ckn said:

I saw this pic today of St Helens' town centre. The last year has been brutal on town centres and really accelerated the previous decline. Is there a way back? Do people want it back?

 

Whilst as you say it may well have accelerated the decline has been over a long long period... well over a decade.

I used to live in St Helens and the centre was a popular shopping and hospitality as in social drinking place in which it was the primary visit as distinct to Liverpool or Manchester. Those trips were more a monthly trip as distinct to today a more frequent trip.  Even people from surrounding towns would come into St Helens to shop, the market being a key middle of week visit.

Now that was nearly 40 years ago... and my visits back to meet friends still living their being frequent but my observations in the last 2 decades and maybe x3 decades the decline was clear all be it accelerating in the last couple decade's. Even my friends living there and families from outside immediate St Helens don't visit the centre hardly ever.

Of course many reasons from local authority decisions and traditional employers disappearing. No real focus to replace those industries.

It was happening before the internet shopping revolution.  The contrast with where I live now is stark - yep retail has and is struggling but hospitality was thriving prior to Covid and recently has been getting back to normal. Yes some have shut, mainly the big chains, but soon replaced by other restaurant, cafe or bars opening. Although no doubt problems to come. Not least the local authority making it increasing difficult to park especially as a lot of us visit from outlying villages around the town and for which no public transport.

 

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It seems to me also that many town centres feature old (and decaying) properties not necessarily suited to modern  retail or domestic use- high maintenance, low efficiency. Inadequate services etc. 

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On 12/06/2021 at 12:44, Johnoco said:

Certainly Bradford and I'm sure other cities, are now suffering from the scourge of the planners in the 60's and 70's. Magnificent buildings torn down to be replaced by concrete boxes that have mostly already been demolished themselves. The author JB Priestley supposedly never forgave Bradford for demolishing the Swan Arcade and there's numerous other examples of such folly. Sure, times change but that was just madness. 

Leeds would have been as bad because they planned to demolish the market and the Victoria arcade. The only reason they didn't go through with it was not vision or anything, they just couldn't afford to pay the demolition contractors to do it! I know this because I used to work in demolition for the company concerned. 

This is so sadly true, Halifax for all its faults managed to avoid the wholesale demolition of most of its historic town centre, The Piece Hall only survived being demolished by one vote in a council meeting, and we still have a great indoor market hall, although it’s mainly non-food these days

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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Town centres in there traditional format are done and dusted with the odd exception.

I'd have thought the only future would be to slowly integrate residential property into future redevelopment projects and then the towns will naturally regenerate providing goods and services that local residents want.

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3 hours ago, Phil said:

This is so sadly true, Halifax for all its faults managed to avoid the wholesale demolition of most of its historic town centre, The Piece Hall only survived being demolished by one vote in a council meeting, and we still have a great indoor market hall, although it’s mainly non-food these days

Even contemplating demolishing the Piece Hall should be punishable by flogging. What on earth were they thinking of back then?

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1 minute ago, Johnoco said:

Even contemplating demolishing the Piece Hall should be punishable by flogging. What on earth were they thinking of back then?

They wanted to build an Arndale centre 😳

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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City/town centre landlords need to realise that charging less and actually having tenants that can pay is better than asking for the moon and sitting on empty properties.

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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13 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

City/town centre landlords need to realise that charging less and actually having tenants that can pay is better than asking for the moon and sitting on empty properties.

I have been a landlord for 20 years , I charge around 90% of the going rate , the property has been empty for about 6 months after the first 3 tenants , I spent that time refurbishing it , the latest has been in for around 6 years now , and as they are retired , will be in until they no longer are around , so 6 months empty out of 20 years is a very positive return IMO 

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7 hours ago, GUBRATS said:

Just an interest fact when looking at accomodation for asylum seekers and refugees , more asylum seekers are housed in Stoke on Trent , than the whole of the country south of Stoke on Trent 

Facts that aren't true aren't facts.

There are c.900 asylum seekers housed in Stoke.

There are over 5,600 in London.

5,600 is a bigger number than 900 and London is south of Stoke.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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did Dewsbury suck the life out of Batley or did Batley suck the life out of Dewsbury? 

did the bloke who invented the phrase "one hit wonder" invent anything else?

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On 12/06/2021 at 05:32, Spidey said:

Our town centre in Warrington is currently going through a facelift. The old market was replaced and a new town centre cinema and retail units added. The council do seem to be trying to change the image and tone, and it’s very welcome to do by me

An example of the kind of developments going on in Warrington

 

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On 13/06/2021 at 15:52, Phil said:

This is so sadly true, Halifax for all its faults managed to avoid the wholesale demolition of most of its historic town centre, The Piece Hall only survived being demolished by one vote in a council meeting, and we still have a great indoor market hall, although it’s mainly non-food these days

Wakefield is similar. You can see there are still some glimpses of the market town with medieval roots, but the 1960s and 70s architecturally hit the town so hard (on top of everything else). 

Thankfully some steps are being done to rectify this. Terrible post war buildings are currently being earmarked for demolition and the council are working with local civic big wigs to help the regeneration - that is moving increasingly down towards Kirkgate which has been a part of the town centre which is notoriously rough. Aside from that, the city centre has a thriving independent restaurant, cafe and pub scene; far more so than Leeds where generally only bigger operations can afford to be in the centre. It feels far more like Headingley in some aspects.

It has to be said that Wakefield benefits in some ways from its proximity to Leeds compared to other places near big cities. Its probably the only example in West Yorkshire of a seriously well connected satellite town. Trains, buses and road connections to Leeds makes commuting not just possible but preferable for many given the comparative cost of living. Combined with Wakefield still retaining the last embers of a historic prominence (county capital etc) that towns like Castleford or St Helens haven't ever had, and you can see why I'm a bit more optimistic for Wakey than some other places. Though that is only fragile optimism.

Perhaps the lesson here is that these towns have to reinvent themselves by being something a bit different? If you're just Leeds but less good, then that will show.

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11 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Facts that aren't true aren't facts.

There are c.900 asylum seekers housed in Stoke.

There are over 5,600 in London.

5,600 is a bigger number than 900 and London is south of Stoke.

My info was from a couple of years back , the north must be full now 😉

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On 13/06/2021 at 23:11, Futtocks said:

City/town centre landlords need to realise that charging less and actually having tenants that can pay is better than asking for the moon and sitting on empty properties.

They don't care if is just an asset used to borrow money against to buy into the next trend.

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On 14/06/2021 at 18:20, GUBRATS said:

My info was from a couple of years back , the north must be full now 😉

Lesson you have just been taught is, all together now, check your facts.

 

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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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The decline of town centres goes back further than people think, the advent of the supermarket probably  kicked off the trend. Small town centre retailers selling general groceries probably took the first hit and next where the butchers and bakers. As supermarkets became larger and could influence politicians they moved into alcohol, books, clothing. Once they had the influence and backing large out of town super markets with mass free parking sucked the life out of a lot of small general retail. The rest follows on from there.

 

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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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10 minutes ago, Padge said:

Lesson you have just been taught is, all together now, check your facts.

 

I did , a couple of years back , it was point being made on a politics show , one was that the current ( then ) PM didn't have a single asylum seeker in her constitutency 

And if I'm wrong , really couldn't give a toss 

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2 hours ago, GUBRATS said:

I did , a couple of years back , it was point being made on a politics show , one was that the current ( then ) PM didn't have a single asylum seeker in her constitutency 

And if I'm wrong , really couldn't give a toss 

So if someone says that the population of the UK is 47million, that is a fact because the last time they checked was in 1975'

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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12 hours ago, GUBRATS said:

And if I'm wrong , really couldn't give a toss 

Noted

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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12 hours ago, Padge said:

The decline of town centres goes back further than people think, the advent of the supermarket probably  kicked off the trend. Small town centre retailers selling general groceries probably took the first hit and next where the butchers and bakers. As supermarkets became larger and could influence politicians they moved into alcohol, books, clothing. Once they had the influence and backing large out of town super markets with mass free parking sucked the life out of a lot of small general retail. The rest follows on from there.

I am older than most people alive today, and it has been going on since I can remember.

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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12 hours ago, Padge said:

The decline of town centres goes back further than people think, the advent of the supermarket probably  kicked off the trend. Small town centre retailers selling general groceries probably took the first hit and next where the butchers and bakers. As supermarkets became larger and could influence politicians they moved into alcohol, books, clothing. Once they had the influence and backing large out of town super markets with mass free parking sucked the life out of a lot of small general retail. The rest follows on from there.

 

I think this is fair. I'm old enough - just - to remember most parades of shops (not even town centre ones) having at least a greengrocer, newsagent, post office, butcher, hairdressers, off licence each and then possibly a couple of other oddities (one of the ones near us when I was about 6 had a shoe shop). Actually going into town was a pain. The equivalent parade now has, yes, the hairdressers still but the rest is now tanning shops and the like.

So you then had the move to more centralised shopping - those branches of Tesco just on the town/city centres for example - and then the move to out of town places.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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