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Opinion : Can improvements be made to the shopping experience in Wycombe?

| February 5, 2016


In this blog I would like to share with you some of things that my good self saw on my recent trip to Reading.

The success of any town, no matter how large or small is dependant on the shops, factories and companies who decide to trade there.

Over the years Wycombe has lost many of it’s factories to housing developments which is a great shame. However on the whole Reading seems to be thriving with very few empty retail units to be seen in the town centre.

Wycombe has a large shopping centre and so does Reading however the two are very different in the way they were constructed.

The shopping centre in Reading has a roof and doors so it’s nice and warm inside and the shoppers do not get wet. Sadly the new shopping centre in Wycombe does not have doors and lacks a roof that completely covers the whole centre.

The shopping centre in Reading is built close to the River Kennett and the river has been used as an architectural feature however contrast the new shopping complex in Wycombe is close to the River Wye but sadly the river has been banished to flow underground in a culvert. What a shame.

Just imagine what Wycombe shopping centre would have looked like if the River Wye was flowing through the centre? Wouldn’t it have been nice? Oh dear, what a lost opportunity.

Walking around the town centre Reading has very few empty retail units however as we all know in Wycombe there is a big problem with shops that have closed down.

So what could be the secret of success that keeps Readings shops trading?

Well, what surprised me was the number of smaller shops in Reading. Some shops were very small, say about 10ftx20ft. I even saw one perfume shop in the shopping centre where the trading area was only about 5ft deep and 30ft wide.

When you think about it the shops in Wycombe are very large and the turnover necessary to pay the overheads such as Business Rates, lighting, shop fitting, stock, etc…. must be huge.

I fear that Wycombe is lacking the smaller retail units that allow traders to get started in the world of business before moving up to larger premises.

Perhaps Wycombe should have some smaller retail units? After all it’s better to dabble in the world of commerce with an investment of a few hundred pounds rather than splashing out hundreds of thousands of pounds and ending up in crippling debt that brings the business down.

Wycombe has by far the better facilities but Reading seems to have used their facilities better and in a more varied manner that give more opportunity to the smaller traders.

It’s all very well attracting the large high street retailers to a town but it’s the small independent businesses that give the variety and excitement to the shopping experience.

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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