Thursday, 5 March 2009

Open at last!

Gosnold Street from St Andrews Street South

Charter Square
The Worshipful Bob Cockle cracks a joke...

...and cuts the ribbon

Gosnold Street from Debenhams Restaurant

Charter Square from Debenhams


Paul F said...

SEB - Is 13 'Very few'? You can't expect all shop fitouts to be co-ordinated for one date. In a few days three further big names will be open. This development is nearly 90% let or in solicitors' hands in a time of severe economic conditions. Your glass is obviously half empty.

The money for the development itself (£80M+ or so) has been put in by Delancey, not SEBC. It is their investment for our town.

St Emunds Blogger said...

But many of the "new shops" have just relocated, which I think makes the town centre look really deserted and is in fact detrimental to the town centre.

I am neither a half-empty or a half-full type of person. I look at things objectively unlike yourself, who as a cabinet member of SEBC has to sing the praises of everything the borough do. So whereas on this occasion my glass is half empty, yours is always half-full.

Sorry, I think the analogy got a bit over used. Tee hee.

Paul F said...

4 out of the 20 larger retailers = "many"?

St Emunds Blogger said...

20% is a fairly large percentage in my book, especially as it makes the town centre look deserted.

Paul F said...

Four shops moved from the town centre makes it look 'deserted'? Many more have closed down because of external market forces that are nothing to do with the new development. It is only because of arc that the town will after a period of time become a more popular shopping destination and thus thrive througout.

Perhaps you would like to continue this discussion on your own blog as I have work to do, and I am sure my readers will be bored with a two-way conversation.

By the way, I and others have a pretty good idea of who you are now. The clues are all there...

St Emunds Blogger said...

yes, but if the Arc had never existed , then perhaps many of the stores in the new shopping centre would have filled the vacant shops, making the Town centre look vibrant.

Bury Boy said...

"It is only because of ### that the town will after a period of time become a more popular shopping destination and thus thrive througout".

I have heard a number of statements recently on this subject, but this one really is too much. Get out and about and see these developments in other towns and cities, the effect if any after the first 5 years is minimunal, and after 20 years we will be knocking it down. It is debatable if this development will even draw the number of people the old cattle market used too. This is not a Willis building, or a land mark, its a small out door retail shopping centre

Where as the REAL draw of Bury is its markets, its small shops, its History, and the Abbey Gardens. 100s of years of development, growth and toil. The very heart this development puts at risk.

Paul F said...

SEB - Don't you realise that Debenhams left precisely because there was insufficient space in the town? Most of the new retailers are coming to Bury for the first time, and can only do so because they have the space now.

BB - If the real draw of Bury is as you say (and I don't disagree) why all the fuss?

Richard Rout said...

“It is amazing, it is incredible, I have always had to shop in Ipswich - I’ll never have to leave Bury again”, this is the comment printed in the Bury Free Press today from Zoe Gooden, age 13. This is, perhaps, the most revealing comment I have read in relation to the new development. Furthermore, of the eight comments on page 2 of the Bury Free Press only one is negative and that is simply a reaction to the Debenhams building.

People like Zoe were not catered for in Bury St Edmunds, the retailers she, and doubtless her friends, like to visit could not, until now, find suitable premises in Bury – otherwise I’m sure they would have come here long ago. Those people being so negative would also have been interested by an excellent presentation, given to the Borough Council last year, by King Edward VI Upper School students - they spoke eloquently and at length about the town and why they were so excited by the prospect of the Cattle Market development.

Delightful though Bury St Edmunds town centre is, many of its premises are not suited to the type of national retailers now occupying positions within the new development. They need purpose built storage, ease of access and a layout that can accommodate standardised point of sale material and equipment.

The shops in the new development may not be to everyone’s taste – I confess I’m unlikely to shop in many of them. However, and quite thankfully, the arc offering is not aimed at slightly grumpy Tories with receding hairlines. It is aimed, more squarely, at youth and mass market retail – a market relatively untapped in Bury St Edmunds. This may not appeal to everyone but if it keeps more people shopping in Bury St Edmunds then that is a positive thing – it means more jobs and more footfall. For every person, like Zoe, who will be staying in Bury St Edmunds there will be parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, friends (need I go on?) who also shop here instead of going elsewhere and they will, most likely, spend money in the existing town centre.

Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I visited a number of retailers and enquired how they were faring. I won’t reveal precisely who they were but they were all located in the Buttermarket, Cornhill, the Traverse and Abbeygate Street. Every store, some rather sheepishly, reported strong sales which were notably up on equivalent days. This is the footfall that supporters of the project have long talked about.

Perhaps the arc isn’t for you. It isn’t really for me. However, if more people like Zoe shop here, more people spill over into the existing town centre and more jobs are created – how is that a bad thing?

St Emunds Blogger, your view that 4 out of 20 is a large proportion probably explains your rather relaxed attitude to council attendance. Also, why no ‘d’ in Emunds? I think I’m missing something major over the inclusion of additional letters or the exclusion of them. What with that and ‘LLink’, I’m becoming rather confused.

Yes there are empty units in the town centre and it is unfortunate that the opening coincided with an economic downturn. If you truly believe you saw the recession coming back in 2003 or 2005 – go and get a job with Goldman Sachs or, at the very least, consider managing my share portfolio. Please.

St Edmunds Blogger said...

I think you may have misinterpreted my views, I am all in favour of development, and keeping Bury St Edmunds thriving as a market town. I just feel that the Arc is not the right development for this town, it is not in keeping with the heritage or the aesthetics and I think it looks out of place.

I think it is great the people don’t have to go shopping elsewhere and I think it is great that local money will be spent locally, paying for more jobs and higher paid jobs.

I also think it is good that the town has a FEW free shopping units, simple free market economics will eventually drive down rent for all shops elsewhere as a result.

So all in all I think the idea, the concept of the arc is great. What I don’t think is great is the structure, design or the timing. Even the world’s smartest individuals never predicted the current recession. So I can’t blame anyone for that.

The building however is an eyesore and out of place for a small market town. Many of the people that live in Bury, love the tranquil life that it offers. If they had wanted to live in a big city, with a massive commercial shopping centre they would have moved to Ipswich in the first place.

On a different subject, are you implying you know who I am? I think that you are mistaken if that’s the case. Thank you for pointing out my typing error, it was nothing more than that. No inference, clue or anything other than fat fingers.

Paul F said...

Not sure to whom you are replying, RR or me. Don't think I have criticised your spelling - just your logic.

As for your aesthetic leanings, you are entitled to them, but Bury has evolved over hundreds of years, and coped with all the changes in building styles since then. It will now. People don't have to look at Debenhams, except on leaving Waitrose from Kings Rd, in which case they can use the stairs at Robert Boby Way.

Richard Rout said...

St Edmunds Blogger, I was simply referring to your comments on Paul’s post about the Town Council – I wasn’t suggesting I know who you are. I’m glad that St Emunds was a typo, I was starting to think I had missed some new trend kicked off by LLink. Perhaps that was a typo too.