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I’ve been canned. By the Thanet Gazette that is.

I’d like to think it was one of the £15 million cuts being made by the struggling Trinity Mirror Group but sadly it’s not about money because when I was first asked to write a column, I foolishly agreed to contribute for free, because the company only turned-over £221 million last year and was feeling the pinch.

No, very wisely the Gazette tell me they would prefer a female journalist to write a business column and why not indeed, as I’m definitely an equal opportunity Blogger. I had to laugh though, because when the call came through, I was standing next to the Chief Operating Officer of the CO-OP together with the senior management of Tesco, Somerfield and Woolworth.

I was speaking at the British Retail Consortium’s conference in London. Ironically the Woolworth chap used to run our stores here in Thanet earlier in his career, so I’m sure he’s reading this with interest, because I was offering the conference my views on the consequences of retail devastation, with Westwood Cross vs. Margate High Street being my example.

Without doubt, a shrewd editorial move by the Gazette, so you’ll simply have to put up with me here in future! Tough luck all round I suppose?


simone moores said…
This must be a case for sex discrimination! Simon or Simone... a quick check and surf around the internet reveals that it's real easy to change your name and gender. Romainia are doing some pretty good deals at present... you fly out from Manston a man and come back with a brand new wardrobe as well.

Personally, I haven't read any of your business articles in the local rag, because, put simply, that isn't where I'd expect to read stuff like that.

Moving on to your observations regarding the impact of out-of-town shopping complexes and the demise of the traditional high street, you must have been around as a young boy when the "now Macdonald's" was first transformed into a brand new, pick-up your items off the shelf, supermarket, which was then called TESCO. You may also recall a large store called Bobby's.

The point I am trying to make is that there has always been changes occurring. There must be three, four times the number of people living in Thanet than there was 30 years ago and unless something happens (take your pick: war, plague, earthquake, flood...) the population of Thanet will continue to grow and probably the demographics.

So its time for that high street to re-invent itself. The idea of an art gallery like the Turner Center would help to regenerate not just the harbour area both would have a profound impact upon the lower parts of the high street bringing in visitors and creating a much different environment than we've seen decay over the last thirty years.

And what happened to that idea of enclosing the harbour, building a marina etc. etc.

Build-it and they will come!

Good on yer Westwood Cross- just get round to opening some shops that interest Men - or is that what's happening around the outskirts?
Unknown said…
Excellent points of course but the almost instant nature of the changes means that their is no sensible compensatory mechanism in the High Street other than the visible flight of retailers and the mobile towards Westwood cross, abandoning Margate High Street and Northdown Road to the refugees, the poor and those without transport
simone moores said…
What is this... a staunch tory exhibiting social values?

Without customers, stores will close anyway. It's the the equivalent of nature's survival of the fittist! (Is that spelt write?)

It's not the likes of M&S, River Island, or jewellery shops that attract shoppers to Margate High Street! After all, their presence can be seen in almost any high street - except perhaps Broadstairs, Birchington etc.

High streets in our other towns survive by having shops with serve the communities. My other half often went to Canterbury to experience the delights of shopping - now its WWX and MARGATE. Why Margate? And why do people all over Kent come to Margate to shop.

Well it's that old BHS store with the wonderful panoramic (Turner) views across the sea toward Reculver (well that's what I go in the shop for) - the other half for the rock bottom priced latest look-a-look fashions, which anyone, from any income class can afford.

There actually been quite a lot of regeneration down around the harbour already. The old hotel on the corner has had a grand face life and features in the clarks shoe ads "Milan - No Margate". Then there's Cafe G's, Impressions, the Harbour Cafe.... This is what I mean by re-inventing itself.

Slowly, but surely, the re-invention will creep up the high street and what appears will be sustainable for both the local community and for visitors.

This has happened in lots of places, especially in the USA, where out-of-town shopping malls sprung up and destroyed the equivalent shopping areas.

This is a great time to invest in Margate now and become part of it. Embrace changes - don't bury your head in the Margate Sands!

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