The assurance of jobs to be delivered by Arch’s retail proposal for Amble (Northumberland Gazette, July 26) is as reassuring to me as the stranded sailors on an ice flow shouting: ‘We are saved, here comes the Titantic.’
It seems an odd form of arrogance.
The layout and the hype on how it will boost Amble is bizarre.
After all, we are talking about the Best Coastal High Street 2015, with around 40 independent traders, now under threat as a direct result of the Arch plan.
It is a fact that out-of-town retail development makes it harder for small shops to survive. Brace yourselves.
Why? It’s simple. Cover a larger area with hard surfacing, throw up a few sheds and shoppers drive, park, shop and go home.
One councillor is quoted as saying that Amble has been ‘crying out for a supermarket for some time’, so I take it the existing Tesco and the Co-op are mirages?
Amble’s High Street is as near ideal as you can get – a supermarket at either end and shops, mainly independents, between.
As a tourist family from Devon told me: ‘It’s incredible – baked bread, fish, butchers, vegetables, fashion, a general dealer, remarkable really.’
Timing-wise, the launch of the Amble proposal is days after the Government brought back the Great British High Street Awards with the focus on: ‘The most ambitious high streets which are taking a lead and working together to revive, adapt and diversify.’
This is absolutely the opposite to the council’s proposal, a model in itself of sterility of vision.