After comments in a number of my columns have been published there has been much hand-wringing from some of our ‘worthies’ in West Street that I am painting the town in a negative light.
I have also, on occasion, been known to be complimentary regarding several initiatives they have introduced – not many, I know! But over recent weeks comments on this newspaper’s website and Facebook page in response to stories have shown that there has been support for much of which I have commented on.
I have been accused of ‘misunderstanding’ much of what has been done in the town: but many of those comments to stories have shown that many people support what I have said about the Market Place, for example. There have been suggestions that ‘the town is dying’ in several of those comments, and there is news this week of yet another shop in the Market Place either closing or moving.
This is not a negative comment from me: it is fact!
Could not one of the reasons be that the parking is too dear, so customers vote with their feet and go elsewhere? It is all very well for us to be told that the council can’t afford to cut parking fees, but by the same token can they really afford to drive shops away? Other towns in the county can seemingly manage to charge less, or in some cases charge nothing for short period stays. But not ours.
The latest idea of banning alcohol throughout the town in an effort to stop some of the anti-social behaviour appears to be one of those not completely thought through. On the face of it, it seems reasonable enough but there have been suggestions that it would prevent families having picnics in the park having a can or two. But the real problem is one of regulating it. There are not enough police about at the moment to take control of it and I can just imagine the reaction from some drinkers if ‘volunteers’ were to be recruited!