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Opinion : Does this picture symbolise modern day High Wycombe?

| November 1, 2018

If you could sum up modern day High Wycombe in a picture would it be the picture above?

The picture in question is the aftermath of a suspected arson attack on the rear of a building that, until Friday 27th July 2018, was home to a well known catalogue based retail store that graced our High Street for many years.

A few days ago yours truly read with utter dismay an article in the news section of this site headlined ‘Arson suspected following fire at rear of former Argos store in the High Street, High Wycombe‘.

For many years the shop in question provided the town with useful goods. Kettles, televisions, children’s toys, hair dryers, washing machines, cameras and a whole host of items required for everyday life. No doubt there a good number of parents who visited the store to get Christmas and birthday presents for their children.

But alas, the store closed. Three months after closing a fire broke out at the rear of the shop, which backs onto St. Mary Street, resulting in the charring of the rear side of the building and destruction of a canopy.

Read the news article on the fire and you will discover that a tent belonging to a homeless person also caught fire. Look closely at the picture of the fire (below) and you will see the metal remains of the insides of a mattress which was presumably also used by a homeless person sleeping rough under the canopy that covered the rear of the premises.

Yet this building is not in a far flung corner of town. It’s in a prominent part of the High Street and the rear, where the fire was, backs on to a fairly busy thoroughfare that runs behind the theatre.

The Council Offices and police station are literally a stones throw away in Queen Victoria Road.

It just shows how quickly an area of town can sink into depravity. All it takes is an arson attack and the whole vista in the local area changes.

Now, my good self wonders what will happen next? No doubt there may be an insurance claim to be made to put right the damage but how long will this fire ravaged eyesore be left to fester in open view to the public?

It’s scenes of charred buildings like that that need to be eradicated quickly to show that real Wycombe does not look like this. But alas, based on my experience of the town, passers by will be left to see the sight of an arson attack for months to come.

The building itself is being offered for sale or to let so it’s likely that nothing may possibly be done until a new owner or tenant takes over. But suppose you were looking to start a business in Wycombe and happened to pass by the charred remains of this property. Would you open a business close by?

In my opinion the pictures that accompany this blog and the events that lead up to the fire symbolise modern day Wycombe. Isn’t it a shame how our town has been left to go down the pan over the years?

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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