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Opinion : Should there be a better mix of shops in Wycombe?

| June 3, 2016


Walking along the High Street at lunchtime on Friday the market was in full swing.

Passing the pound shops, betting shops, charity shops and public houses yours truly made my way to the grounds of the Parish Church to eat my sandwiches.

Sitting on the bench my good self was looking out onto Church Street. Once this was the centre of town where all big name retailers wanted to be, however with the construction of the shopping complex back in 2008 all that changed.

The big retailers moved out of the old town centre and the stagnation set in. Boarded up shops and ‘To Let‘ boards became common place hanging like an albatross around the neck of many retail units as a symbol of failure to consider the implications of building a shopping centre in the Newlands area.

Late last week an article appeared on the news section of this site about a new Brewery Shop opening in the former Millets shop in Church Street.

Even though yours truly does not approve of the consumption of alcohol in any shape or form the opening of this new brewery shop is indeed good news, after all it will be one less empty retail unit in the town.

However what concerns me is that Wycombe is now a divided town. The new shopping complex is home to the ‘nice’ businesses i.e. fashion shops, shoe shops, etc…. while the old part of town houses betting shops, charity shops, pawnbrokers and pubs.

It’s interesting to note there are no gambling, charity or alcohol related businesses in the new shopping centre. Conversely you can’t buy fancy clothes from a boutique or a pair of shoes in the old part of town.

Surely the businesses should be mixed through the town rather than being located in pockets?

I fear that Wycombe has become a town of three halves, there is the posh part, the old part and Frogmoor which seems to have been abandoned.

After dark the old part of town becomes a near red light area with fast food trailers parked in front of listed buildings to serve the drunken youngsters who share the streets with the gentlemen of the road who settle down for a night sleep in the doorways and alleys.

It’s interesting to note that while new life is being breathed into the many of the disused retail units in the High Street area no use has been found for the magnificent building that once housed the library in Queen Victoria Road. This is a dreadful shame.

As for poor old Frogmoor, well, not much seems to be happening there. I say dig up the concrete and return the layout to how it was in the late 1800’s when the Frogmoor Gardens were there complete with a fountain.

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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