I had a visit recently from the widow of an old school friend who had moved away from the town almost 50 years ago. Both had been back over the years to visit family and friends but this time she was on her own and it was her first visit back for about 10 years.
We had a long conversation about the ‘old days’ and I finally got round to asking her what she thought of the town now. She was a little upset about how – as she put it – the town had become ‘dirty and apparently uncared for’. No one seems to be making any effort to keep it clean’.
She did not like the new layout of the Market Place – see, I’m not the only one! - and asked if anyone else had noticed how many weeds there were in the central part of town. I must admit I hadn’t really thought about that but then last week I looked in the Market Place, through the precinct and down Bargate: weeds and grass growing between the cracks everywhere.
We are continually hearing about savings having to be made and services having to be cut; but if we want to encourage visitors surely we have to keep the place looking tidy? It’s a sad indictment that we who live here are seemingly blind to how ‘dirty’ the town seems to be, and it takes a visitor to point out our failings. Sooner or later, and let’s hope it’s sooner, money is going to have to be spent on the town.
No one likes having to pay more council tax but if that’s the only way we can improve things, someone in authority is going to have to bite the bullet and make decisions – welcome or not.
l It seems we might be getting a ‘personality’ standing here for election after Mr Simmonds leaves. I wonder if there would have been the same interest if UKIP hadn’t had such a good showing in the European election? And it looks like another case of ‘parachuting’: can we really not find anyone local good enough – for any party?