It is the local residents who should have priority in thinking about the needs of Alnwick.
Retail expert Bill Grimsey seems to focus quite a lot on the needs of tourists, but tourists come and go and their buying needs are very different from those who live here.
Some years ago I suggested using the model of Marylebone High Street in London, once a road full of empty or charity shops, now one of the busiest shopping streets in London.
A mix of businesses were cherry-picked to take over premises there at an initial low rate. These businesses are still thriving today.
We do have some great shops in Alnwick, selling and providing great products, but, unfortunately, these are becoming few and far between.
We don’t have many new outlets, but thank heavens for Joules.
If a business has a great product, selling what people want to buy, then people will support it, as Catherine Nairn mentioned in last weeks Gazette.
Mr Grimsey suggests more leisure facilities for the young, but they need jobs to pay for their leisure activities. What better than some businesses where they might find work?
I note that he has advised many businesses, including Iceland. Might he have perhaps suggested it reduce its number of stores, hence Alnwick losing ours?
Also, Mr Grimsey’s suggestion of a 20-year plan is ok, but we need to act now.
My suggestions all those years ago, and referred to I think by Anne Shilton in last week’s Gazette, were ignored and I had some less than favourable comments from councillors.
Maybe that suggestion could be looked at again.
We all enjoy walking round a small town and having some interesting shops in which to buy good quality, interesting products so let’s get on with doing something.
A small working party of people with the right skills could get things going.