Shoppers say town is lacking festive sparkle

Swindon Advertiser: The Christmas lights switch-on went off with a bang, but shoppers are less than impressed with the end result The Christmas lights switch-on went off with a bang, but shoppers are less than impressed with the end result

THE Christmas lights in the town centre have received a mixed reaction from shoppers, with many suggesting not enough has been done to get shoppers in the festive spirit.

Pop sensation Jahmene Douglas switched on the lights last month, alongside a huge firework display which attracted more than 10,000 people. But despite the huge launch event, many trees and lamp posts have been left bare and efforts to sprinkle some Christmas joy around the town centre have been criticised.

InSwindon are responsible for the display in the town centre and have accepted that the lights are not to the standard they would have liked, largely due to a limited budget and problems with attaching them to privately owned property.

Many shoppers have said more needs to be done to bring Swindon in line with other town and city centres nearby, including Bath, Salisbury, Oxford and even Calne.

Sam Skeates, 25, of Greenbridge, said: “There needs to be more lights across the whole town centre and not just in certain parts.

“Some of it is quite good but there are spaces, like Canal Walk, which have nothing like the Green Wall.

“If you go to a lot of other towns they have done a lot more and it makes a big difference.”

Other shoppers said they liked what was up but still felt the town was lacking something special.

Derek Bettis, 48, of Kingshill, said: “I think it looks really nice but it is lacking somewhat and feels as though we are behind everywhere else. It is very important to have good Christmas lights as it sets an atmosphere and can attract people to the town.”

Coun Russell Holland (Con, St Margaret & South Marston) said he believed a good job had been done and the lights added to the festive atmosphere.

He said: “I think the town centre looks very good this year and a good job has been done.

“When combined with the Christmas market there is a very good feeling in the town.”

InSwindon are financed by the businesses which operate in the town centre, who each pay a small amount extra on their business rates.

Rebecca Rowland, the BID manager, said: “I fully understand the festive lights are not as prominent throughout the town centre as much as we would ideally like. This is just one of the areas that is funded by the retailers of the town and an area I would like to look at improving for next year.

“We are already looking at improving the layout and number of festive lights for 2014, and we have already started looking in to overcoming some of the previous problems like restrictions on putting-up any lights on the lamp columns, on privately- owned buildings and looking at getting sponsorship opportunities to help with the budget constraints.”

Comments (34)

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7:44am Mon 9 Dec 13

Ringer says...

It's really not the Christmas lights, or lack of, that is the problem.
It's really not the Christmas lights, or lack of, that is the problem. Ringer

7:57am Mon 9 Dec 13

Wildwestener says...

I don't now why people keep thinking anything can be done to make Swindon the same as Bath or Bristol etc. Bath is a historic city with all its history in the town centre. It is very appealing as a day destination for shopping. Bristol just has a massive catchment area and therefore can attract the bigger shops that attract the bigger numbers of people and the money.
Swindon is a middle size town surrounded by easily commutable mega shopping destinations. It will never be able to compete directly with the likes of Bristol and Bath.
Where it does have strength is in the outlet market where it attracts many people from around the region. It also has a small number of very good independent stores (such as The Forum and Carry On Vintage in the Brunel Centre) and carving a niche by encouraging such businesses into the centre is the way forward as a town centre made up of such businesses as a USP would be attractive to those from around the region fed up of the same old shops. Unfortunately high rent and rates means it's hard to do a start-up in Swindon.
I don't now why people keep thinking anything can be done to make Swindon the same as Bath or Bristol etc. Bath is a historic city with all its history in the town centre. It is very appealing as a day destination for shopping. Bristol just has a massive catchment area and therefore can attract the bigger shops that attract the bigger numbers of people and the money. Swindon is a middle size town surrounded by easily commutable mega shopping destinations. It will never be able to compete directly with the likes of Bristol and Bath. Where it does have strength is in the outlet market where it attracts many people from around the region. It also has a small number of very good independent stores (such as The Forum and Carry On Vintage in the Brunel Centre) and carving a niche by encouraging such businesses into the centre is the way forward as a town centre made up of such businesses as a USP would be attractive to those from around the region fed up of the same old shops. Unfortunately high rent and rates means it's hard to do a start-up in Swindon. Wildwestener

8:22am Mon 9 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Both good quotes and correct. The problem isn't the lights, its that we can shop elsewhere very easily for better shops and choice. Town centres are dying around the country so no matter how much money is spent on it, nothing will change. We have to accept it for what it is and try and make the best of what we have, instead of pretending we have some wonderful shopping experience to offer anyone.
Both good quotes and correct. The problem isn't the lights, its that we can shop elsewhere very easily for better shops and choice. Town centres are dying around the country so no matter how much money is spent on it, nothing will change. We have to accept it for what it is and try and make the best of what we have, instead of pretending we have some wonderful shopping experience to offer anyone. house on the hill

9:25am Mon 9 Dec 13

The Jockster says...

The Town Centre is dying on its feet, dull, soulless and totally disenchanting. Coincidentally I was speaking to the team from InSwindon who were erecting the pityfully meagre chalets last week for the markets ( bearing in mind Bath Cardiff etc have been up and running for at least two weeks) and they said that SBC had only given the nod for it in September - mmm! Not a lot if time to attract stall holders at that late stage- oh and then there was the budget to spend which apparently was not huge. So no wonder folks are flocking to surrounding towns - why wouldn't they!
The Town Centre is dying on its feet, dull, soulless and totally disenchanting. Coincidentally I was speaking to the team from InSwindon who were erecting the pityfully meagre chalets last week for the markets ( bearing in mind Bath Cardiff etc have been up and running for at least two weeks) and they said that SBC had only given the nod for it in September - mmm! Not a lot if time to attract stall holders at that late stage- oh and then there was the budget to spend which apparently was not huge. So no wonder folks are flocking to surrounding towns - why wouldn't they! The Jockster

9:58am Mon 9 Dec 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

The Jockster wrote:
The Town Centre is dying on its feet, dull, soulless and totally disenchanting. Coincidentally I was speaking to the team from InSwindon who were erecting the pityfully meagre chalets last week for the markets ( bearing in mind Bath Cardiff etc have been up and running for at least two weeks) and they said that SBC had only given the nod for it in September - mmm! Not a lot if time to attract stall holders at that late stage- oh and then there was the budget to spend which apparently was not huge. So no wonder folks are flocking to surrounding towns - why wouldn't they!
When you say "Chalet's" do you mean the tatty sheds?
[quote][p][bold]The Jockster[/bold] wrote: The Town Centre is dying on its feet, dull, soulless and totally disenchanting. Coincidentally I was speaking to the team from InSwindon who were erecting the pityfully meagre chalets last week for the markets ( bearing in mind Bath Cardiff etc have been up and running for at least two weeks) and they said that SBC had only given the nod for it in September - mmm! Not a lot if time to attract stall holders at that late stage- oh and then there was the budget to spend which apparently was not huge. So no wonder folks are flocking to surrounding towns - why wouldn't they![/p][/quote]When you say "Chalet's" do you mean the tatty sheds? The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man

11:09am Mon 9 Dec 13

street2000 says...

I went to Cheletenham on Saturday.Nice Christmas feel. On the other hand it made me realise that its the people that make a town. Swindon- Always moaning that it's no good etc etc. It is what it is! It ain't gonna get any better because we all like shopping on line to much. That's life!
I went to Cheletenham on Saturday.Nice Christmas feel. On the other hand it made me realise that its the people that make a town. Swindon- Always moaning that it's no good etc etc. It is what it is! It ain't gonna get any better because we all like shopping on line to much. That's life! street2000

12:23pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Oldtownmum says...

I've not been in one town centre shop for my Christmas shopping this year. The town centre is dead on it's feet. Too many pound shops, cheap tat and benefits claimants for my liking, It's a horrible, depressing experience to go into town in swindon, compared to Bath, Bristol, Reading. The decent hardworking folk go to these higher end shopping centres and I don't blame them.
I've not been in one town centre shop for my Christmas shopping this year. The town centre is dead on it's feet. Too many pound shops, cheap tat and benefits claimants for my liking, It's a horrible, depressing experience to go into town in swindon, compared to Bath, Bristol, Reading. The decent hardworking folk go to these higher end shopping centres and I don't blame them. Oldtownmum

1:13pm Mon 9 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Oldtownmum wrote:
I've not been in one town centre shop for my Christmas shopping this year. The town centre is dead on it's feet. Too many pound shops, cheap tat and benefits claimants for my liking, It's a horrible, depressing experience to go into town in swindon, compared to Bath, Bristol, Reading. The decent hardworking folk go to these higher end shopping centres and I don't blame them.
Which just perpetuates the downward spiral of course. I did have reason to go into town at the weekend and couldn't get back out again fast enough. And those tatty sheds selling absolute rubbish. They say some dont know the true meaning of Xmas, well i sure now know the true meaning of tat!
[quote][p][bold]Oldtownmum[/bold] wrote: I've not been in one town centre shop for my Christmas shopping this year. The town centre is dead on it's feet. Too many pound shops, cheap tat and benefits claimants for my liking, It's a horrible, depressing experience to go into town in swindon, compared to Bath, Bristol, Reading. The decent hardworking folk go to these higher end shopping centres and I don't blame them.[/p][/quote]Which just perpetuates the downward spiral of course. I did have reason to go into town at the weekend and couldn't get back out again fast enough. And those tatty sheds selling absolute rubbish. They say some dont know the true meaning of Xmas, well i sure now know the true meaning of tat! house on the hill

1:23pm Mon 9 Dec 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

amazon.co.uk

It has pretty much all the Christmas gifts I could need, want or ask for, delivered to my home or work as I request, and all from the comfort of my lounge chair while having a cuppa and watching a movie on the telly.

Tell me again why I'd want to go into *any* town over the Christmas period?
amazon.co.uk It has pretty much all the Christmas gifts I could need, want or ask for, delivered to my home or work as I request, and all from the comfort of my lounge chair while having a cuppa and watching a movie on the telly. Tell me again why I'd want to go into *any* town over the Christmas period? The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man

1:26pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Swindon_AOK says...

The one store that had the potential to kick start a regeneration in retail was/is John Lewis. 'The 'nicer' people you all talk about would be prepared to come in, park and shop there, and maybe even venture outside if things started to pick up.

The New Swindon Company / Forward Swindon tried to attract John Lewis to the centre as part of regeneration, but 10 years ago they weren't interested / thought it was too soon.

Fast forward 10 years and we have an outline plan for the massive 'Kimmerfields' regeneration site. And yet....rather than trying to lure John Lewis again, the Council sold out and allowed them to go out of town and build their 'At Home' store instead.

This one act single handedly killed any chances of John Lewis opening in the centre and has removed the one possible major new anchor store that would kick start any future regeneration plan.

You might think its mad that one store could have such an effect, but believe me upmarket retailers will not commit to an area until it has established footfall and research proves the business plan. If you don't believe me look what has happened to Manninton - which was a sh*ithole retail park - once JL arrived. The whole place has taken off again!

Without a major new anchor, Swindon town centre is dead/dying and nothing In Swindon or any of the other bodies can do will change that. Past mistakes were not learnt from and we will all pay the price.
The one store that had the potential to kick start a regeneration in retail was/is John Lewis. 'The 'nicer' people you all talk about would be prepared to come in, park and shop there, and maybe even venture outside if things started to pick up. The New Swindon Company / Forward Swindon tried to attract John Lewis to the centre as part of regeneration, but 10 years ago they weren't interested / thought it was too soon. Fast forward 10 years and we have an outline plan for the massive 'Kimmerfields' regeneration site. And yet....rather than trying to lure John Lewis again, the Council sold out and allowed them to go out of town and build their 'At Home' store instead. This one act single handedly killed any chances of John Lewis opening in the centre and has removed the one possible major new anchor store that would kick start any future regeneration plan. You might think its mad that one store could have such an effect, but believe me upmarket retailers will not commit to an area until it has established footfall and research proves the business plan. If you don't believe me look what has happened to Manninton - which was a sh*ithole retail park - once JL arrived. The whole place has taken off again! Without a major new anchor, Swindon town centre is dead/dying and nothing In Swindon or any of the other bodies can do will change that. Past mistakes were not learnt from and we will all pay the price. Swindon_AOK

1:34pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Ringer says...

It had been coming for years, but the real death knell for Swindon town centre was when House of Fraser downgraded their store to an outlet version.

In common with many towns, Swindon town centre now really only exists to give those on benefits somewhere to hang around - hence the companies that do well in the town are Wetherspoons, mobile phone shops, smaller supermarkets that make most of their money selling booze and fags and the pound shops.

It's not going to change because no up market retailer would see any point in opening in Swindon town centre.
It had been coming for years, but the real death knell for Swindon town centre was when House of Fraser downgraded their store to an outlet version. In common with many towns, Swindon town centre now really only exists to give those on benefits somewhere to hang around - hence the companies that do well in the town are Wetherspoons, mobile phone shops, smaller supermarkets that make most of their money selling booze and fags and the pound shops. It's not going to change because no up market retailer would see any point in opening in Swindon town centre. Ringer

1:48pm Mon 9 Dec 13

stu2010 says...

I don't know why people think that better festive lights would make Swindon more attractive, after all there are only so many ways to polish a turd!
I don't know why people think that better festive lights would make Swindon more attractive, after all there are only so many ways to polish a turd! stu2010

1:54pm Mon 9 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Ringer wrote:
It had been coming for years, but the real death knell for Swindon town centre was when House of Fraser downgraded their store to an outlet version.

In common with many towns, Swindon town centre now really only exists to give those on benefits somewhere to hang around - hence the companies that do well in the town are Wetherspoons, mobile phone shops, smaller supermarkets that make most of their money selling booze and fags and the pound shops.

It's not going to change because no up market retailer would see any point in opening in Swindon town centre.
Have to disagree with the first point, I have bought some could value stuff in the outlet store.

Completely agree with the other points though, very downmarket both shops and shoppers and no reason to go to the town centre if you absolutely dont have to!
[quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: It had been coming for years, but the real death knell for Swindon town centre was when House of Fraser downgraded their store to an outlet version. In common with many towns, Swindon town centre now really only exists to give those on benefits somewhere to hang around - hence the companies that do well in the town are Wetherspoons, mobile phone shops, smaller supermarkets that make most of their money selling booze and fags and the pound shops. It's not going to change because no up market retailer would see any point in opening in Swindon town centre.[/p][/quote]Have to disagree with the first point, I have bought some could value stuff in the outlet store. Completely agree with the other points though, very downmarket both shops and shoppers and no reason to go to the town centre if you absolutely dont have to! house on the hill

2:10pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Wiltshirereader says...

It would take far more than a few pretty lights to brighten up Swindon town centre! I recently had visitors from USA - when we went into the shopping centre I can honestly say that I was totally embarrassed..... you see it in an even dingier light when you're looking at it through the eyes of visitors!! They actually "felt sorry for Swindon"...... oooooh the shame!
It would take far more than a few pretty lights to brighten up Swindon town centre! I recently had visitors from USA - when we went into the shopping centre I can honestly say that I was totally embarrassed..... you see it in an even dingier light when you're looking at it through the eyes of visitors!! They actually "felt sorry for Swindon"...... oooooh the shame! Wiltshirereader

2:26pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Always Grumpy says...

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
The Jockster wrote:
The Town Centre is dying on its feet, dull, soulless and totally disenchanting. Coincidentally I was speaking to the team from InSwindon who were erecting the pityfully meagre chalets last week for the markets ( bearing in mind Bath Cardiff etc have been up and running for at least two weeks) and they said that SBC had only given the nod for it in September - mmm! Not a lot if time to attract stall holders at that late stage- oh and then there was the budget to spend which apparently was not huge. So no wonder folks are flocking to surrounding towns - why wouldn't they!
When you say "Chalet's" do you mean the tatty sheds?
The same 'sheds' they use in Bath!
[quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Jockster[/bold] wrote: The Town Centre is dying on its feet, dull, soulless and totally disenchanting. Coincidentally I was speaking to the team from InSwindon who were erecting the pityfully meagre chalets last week for the markets ( bearing in mind Bath Cardiff etc have been up and running for at least two weeks) and they said that SBC had only given the nod for it in September - mmm! Not a lot if time to attract stall holders at that late stage- oh and then there was the budget to spend which apparently was not huge. So no wonder folks are flocking to surrounding towns - why wouldn't they![/p][/quote]When you say "Chalet's" do you mean the tatty sheds?[/p][/quote]The same 'sheds' they use in Bath! Always Grumpy

2:29pm Mon 9 Dec 13

A.Baron-Cohen says...

I think the whole idea of Christmas is long gone, everybody knows that it is the biggest Marketing and retail event of the year.
Lights or no Lights, who does really care about it, as long as the service, refund and pricse are right, people will come and spend money.
I think the whole idea of Christmas is long gone, everybody knows that it is the biggest Marketing and retail event of the year. Lights or no Lights, who does really care about it, as long as the service, refund and pricse are right, people will come and spend money. A.Baron-Cohen

2:39pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Ringer says...

house on the hill wrote:
Ringer wrote:
It had been coming for years, but the real death knell for Swindon town centre was when House of Fraser downgraded their store to an outlet version.

In common with many towns, Swindon town centre now really only exists to give those on benefits somewhere to hang around - hence the companies that do well in the town are Wetherspoons, mobile phone shops, smaller supermarkets that make most of their money selling booze and fags and the pound shops.

It's not going to change because no up market retailer would see any point in opening in Swindon town centre.
Have to disagree with the first point, I have bought some could value stuff in the outlet store.

Completely agree with the other points though, very downmarket both shops and shoppers and no reason to go to the town centre if you absolutely dont have to!
I'm sure there are plenty of bargains at the HoF outlet store, but that wasn't the point I was making.

Basically, Swindon did not sustain the HoF store and so once their peppercorn rent came to an end they had no choice but to either close the store or turn it into a bargain basement outlet version.

That really said all that ever needed to be said about Swindon's town centre as a whole.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: It had been coming for years, but the real death knell for Swindon town centre was when House of Fraser downgraded their store to an outlet version. In common with many towns, Swindon town centre now really only exists to give those on benefits somewhere to hang around - hence the companies that do well in the town are Wetherspoons, mobile phone shops, smaller supermarkets that make most of their money selling booze and fags and the pound shops. It's not going to change because no up market retailer would see any point in opening in Swindon town centre.[/p][/quote]Have to disagree with the first point, I have bought some could value stuff in the outlet store. Completely agree with the other points though, very downmarket both shops and shoppers and no reason to go to the town centre if you absolutely dont have to![/p][/quote]I'm sure there are plenty of bargains at the HoF outlet store, but that wasn't the point I was making. Basically, Swindon did not sustain the HoF store and so once their peppercorn rent came to an end they had no choice but to either close the store or turn it into a bargain basement outlet version. That really said all that ever needed to be said about Swindon's town centre as a whole. Ringer

3:39pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Bimbosforjustice says...

Swindon Town Centre needs the following-

More bookies (Ladbrokes)
A statue of a man and woman on a ball holding a brolly
C&A Store
Texas DIY store
Ten new Public Toilets
Swindon Town Centre needs the following- More bookies (Ladbrokes) A statue of a man and woman on a ball holding a brolly C&A Store Texas DIY store Ten new Public Toilets Bimbosforjustice

3:46pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Wildwestener says...

Swindon_AOK wrote:
The one store that had the potential to kick start a regeneration in retail was/is John Lewis. 'The 'nicer' people you all talk about would be prepared to come in, park and shop there, and maybe even venture outside if things started to pick up.

The New Swindon Company / Forward Swindon tried to attract John Lewis to the centre as part of regeneration, but 10 years ago they weren't interested / thought it was too soon.

Fast forward 10 years and we have an outline plan for the massive 'Kimmerfields' regeneration site. And yet....rather than trying to lure John Lewis again, the Council sold out and allowed them to go out of town and build their 'At Home' store instead.

This one act single handedly killed any chances of John Lewis opening in the centre and has removed the one possible major new anchor store that would kick start any future regeneration plan.

You might think its mad that one store could have such an effect, but believe me upmarket retailers will not commit to an area until it has established footfall and research proves the business plan. If you don't believe me look what has happened to Manninton - which was a sh*ithole retail park - once JL arrived. The whole place has taken off again!

Without a major new anchor, Swindon town centre is dead/dying and nothing In Swindon or any of the other bodies can do will change that. Past mistakes were not learnt from and we will all pay the price.
I understand what you are saying but if we waited for John Lewis to go the town centre it would never have come at all. As it is, it is here, it's nice, it employs many people and it brings business to the town that would be taken elsewhere if it was not here. Just because it's not in the town centre does not mean it isn't an asset to Swindon.
[quote][p][bold]Swindon_AOK[/bold] wrote: The one store that had the potential to kick start a regeneration in retail was/is John Lewis. 'The 'nicer' people you all talk about would be prepared to come in, park and shop there, and maybe even venture outside if things started to pick up. The New Swindon Company / Forward Swindon tried to attract John Lewis to the centre as part of regeneration, but 10 years ago they weren't interested / thought it was too soon. Fast forward 10 years and we have an outline plan for the massive 'Kimmerfields' regeneration site. And yet....rather than trying to lure John Lewis again, the Council sold out and allowed them to go out of town and build their 'At Home' store instead. This one act single handedly killed any chances of John Lewis opening in the centre and has removed the one possible major new anchor store that would kick start any future regeneration plan. You might think its mad that one store could have such an effect, but believe me upmarket retailers will not commit to an area until it has established footfall and research proves the business plan. If you don't believe me look what has happened to Manninton - which was a sh*ithole retail park - once JL arrived. The whole place has taken off again! Without a major new anchor, Swindon town centre is dead/dying and nothing In Swindon or any of the other bodies can do will change that. Past mistakes were not learnt from and we will all pay the price.[/p][/quote]I understand what you are saying but if we waited for John Lewis to go the town centre it would never have come at all. As it is, it is here, it's nice, it employs many people and it brings business to the town that would be taken elsewhere if it was not here. Just because it's not in the town centre does not mean it isn't an asset to Swindon. Wildwestener

4:43pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Oldtownmum says...

Wildwestener wrote:
Swindon_AOK wrote:
The one store that had the potential to kick start a regeneration in retail was/is John Lewis. 'The 'nicer' people you all talk about would be prepared to come in, park and shop there, and maybe even venture outside if things started to pick up.

The New Swindon Company / Forward Swindon tried to attract John Lewis to the centre as part of regeneration, but 10 years ago they weren't interested / thought it was too soon.

Fast forward 10 years and we have an outline plan for the massive 'Kimmerfields' regeneration site. And yet....rather than trying to lure John Lewis again, the Council sold out and allowed them to go out of town and build their 'At Home' store instead.

This one act single handedly killed any chances of John Lewis opening in the centre and has removed the one possible major new anchor store that would kick start any future regeneration plan.

You might think its mad that one store could have such an effect, but believe me upmarket retailers will not commit to an area until it has established footfall and research proves the business plan. If you don't believe me look what has happened to Manninton - which was a sh*ithole retail park - once JL arrived. The whole place has taken off again!

Without a major new anchor, Swindon town centre is dead/dying and nothing In Swindon or any of the other bodies can do will change that. Past mistakes were not learnt from and we will all pay the price.
I understand what you are saying but if we waited for John Lewis to go the town centre it would never have come at all. As it is, it is here, it's nice, it employs many people and it brings business to the town that would be taken elsewhere if it was not here. Just because it's not in the town centre does not mean it isn't an asset to Swindon.
Mannington retail park is brilliant, was there this morning having a civilised shop! Higher end stores, no riff raff and set to improve even more with M&S food coming. Just wish it was bigger and Lakeland hadnt been put off. This and the Outlet Village are Swindon's only assets. They may as well bulldoze the town centre (along with the soap dodgers)
[quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Swindon_AOK[/bold] wrote: The one store that had the potential to kick start a regeneration in retail was/is John Lewis. 'The 'nicer' people you all talk about would be prepared to come in, park and shop there, and maybe even venture outside if things started to pick up. The New Swindon Company / Forward Swindon tried to attract John Lewis to the centre as part of regeneration, but 10 years ago they weren't interested / thought it was too soon. Fast forward 10 years and we have an outline plan for the massive 'Kimmerfields' regeneration site. And yet....rather than trying to lure John Lewis again, the Council sold out and allowed them to go out of town and build their 'At Home' store instead. This one act single handedly killed any chances of John Lewis opening in the centre and has removed the one possible major new anchor store that would kick start any future regeneration plan. You might think its mad that one store could have such an effect, but believe me upmarket retailers will not commit to an area until it has established footfall and research proves the business plan. If you don't believe me look what has happened to Manninton - which was a sh*ithole retail park - once JL arrived. The whole place has taken off again! Without a major new anchor, Swindon town centre is dead/dying and nothing In Swindon or any of the other bodies can do will change that. Past mistakes were not learnt from and we will all pay the price.[/p][/quote]I understand what you are saying but if we waited for John Lewis to go the town centre it would never have come at all. As it is, it is here, it's nice, it employs many people and it brings business to the town that would be taken elsewhere if it was not here. Just because it's not in the town centre does not mean it isn't an asset to Swindon.[/p][/quote]Mannington retail park is brilliant, was there this morning having a civilised shop! Higher end stores, no riff raff and set to improve even more with M&S food coming. Just wish it was bigger and Lakeland hadnt been put off. This and the Outlet Village are Swindon's only assets. They may as well bulldoze the town centre (along with the soap dodgers) Oldtownmum

4:56pm Mon 9 Dec 13

bradley red 1 says...

All investment from retailers is all going into the internet shop at home and get it delivered market!! Town centres for a number of retailers will come to an end over the next few years,online is the way it is going! fact.
All investment from retailers is all going into the internet shop at home and get it delivered market!! Town centres for a number of retailers will come to an end over the next few years,online is the way it is going! fact. bradley red 1

5:23pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Craig-o says...

I'm not bothered what lights they put up, I'm not spending an hour in traffic just to travel 3 miles from west Swindon
I'm not bothered what lights they put up, I'm not spending an hour in traffic just to travel 3 miles from west Swindon Craig-o

5:23pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Empty Car Park says...

In the small market town that I'm moving to, only 3 people organised the installation of the christmas lights.

No "celebrity" was employed to switch them on. That honour fell to the person who designed the installation.

Despite the bitter cold night if the "switch on" the prople of the town filled the market square and completely blocked the high street.

The lights are so impressive that the town looks like a scaled diwn version of Blackpool Illuminations

It's all very well for InSwindon to blame a budget and for SBC to puff themselves up and pretend it's all "vibrant", but it all goes to show how disenchanted the residents of the town are AND how dusconnected with the public the pompous SBC are
In the small market town that I'm moving to, only 3 people organised the installation of the christmas lights. No "celebrity" was employed to switch them on. That honour fell to the person who designed the installation. Despite the bitter cold night if the "switch on" the prople of the town filled the market square and completely blocked the high street. The lights are so impressive that the town looks like a scaled diwn version of Blackpool Illuminations It's all very well for InSwindon to blame a budget and for SBC to puff themselves up and pretend it's all "vibrant", but it all goes to show how disenchanted the residents of the town are AND how dusconnected with the public the pompous SBC are Empty Car Park

5:26pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Empty Car Park says...

Despite the bitter cold night of the "switch on" the people of the town filled the market square and completely blocked the high street.

It's all very well for InSwindon to blame a budget and for SBC to puff themselves up and pretend it's all "vibrant", but it all goes to show how disenchanted the residents of the town are AND how disconnected with the public the pompous SBC are
Despite the bitter cold night of the "switch on" the people of the town filled the market square and completely blocked the high street. It's all very well for InSwindon to blame a budget and for SBC to puff themselves up and pretend it's all "vibrant", but it all goes to show how disenchanted the residents of the town are AND how disconnected with the public the pompous SBC are Empty Car Park

6:00pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Empty Car Park wrote:
Despite the bitter cold night of the "switch on" the people of the town filled the market square and completely blocked the high street.

It's all very well for InSwindon to blame a budget and for SBC to puff themselves up and pretend it's all "vibrant", but it all goes to show how disenchanted the residents of the town are AND how disconnected with the public the pompous SBC are
Nah, it's just that the lights aren't very impressive.

Have you gone yet?
[quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: Despite the bitter cold night of the "switch on" the people of the town filled the market square and completely blocked the high street. It's all very well for InSwindon to blame a budget and for SBC to puff themselves up and pretend it's all "vibrant", but it all goes to show how disenchanted the residents of the town are AND how disconnected with the public the pompous SBC are[/p][/quote]Nah, it's just that the lights aren't very impressive. Have you gone yet? Ringer

6:01pm Mon 9 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Not sure they are pompous, just flipping useless, councillors, partners, and staff.
Not sure they are pompous, just flipping useless, councillors, partners, and staff. house on the hill

7:14pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Davey Gravey says...

Can't help but remember that utterly pathetic tree from a couple of years ago on the magic roundabout. So awful it was actually funny.
Can't help but remember that utterly pathetic tree from a couple of years ago on the magic roundabout. So awful it was actually funny. Davey Gravey

10:44pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Justcommenting2 says...

Organised a "late night" shopping trip to the town centre last Thursday arrived at 7pm. The Brunel was locking up. M&S closed, House of Fraser closed, Boots closed, jewellers closed, WH Smith closed, BHS closed, Primark closed, Christmas markets closed, cafes and places to grab a drink after a busy day at work closed. Oh but the pound shops were open.

Car park attached to the Brunel shuts at 9. Not really a worry as within half an hour we'd abandoned the trip to head out of town.
Organised a "late night" shopping trip to the town centre last Thursday arrived at 7pm. The Brunel was locking up. M&S closed, House of Fraser closed, Boots closed, jewellers closed, WH Smith closed, BHS closed, Primark closed, Christmas markets closed, cafes and places to grab a drink after a busy day at work closed. Oh but the pound shops were open. Car park attached to the Brunel shuts at 9. Not really a worry as within half an hour we'd abandoned the trip to head out of town. Justcommenting2

11:37pm Mon 9 Dec 13

southside7 says...

The lack of festive spirit actually encourages me to go into the town centre more than if it was brimming with false 'joy'. I went into a local newsagent in Stratton in 2nd week in November (not a Boots or a Debenhams but a local store) and it had just been that very day, freshly decked out with all the trimmings. I pointed at the tinsel and said 'What's this up for?'(i.e. it's mid November) The shopkeeper said 'Christmas mate'. I went home , sat on the sofa and wept.
The lack of festive spirit actually encourages me to go into the town centre more than if it was brimming with false 'joy'. I went into a local newsagent in Stratton in 2nd week in November (not a Boots or a Debenhams but a local store) and it had just been that very day, freshly decked out with all the trimmings. I pointed at the tinsel and said 'What's this up for?'(i.e. it's mid November) The shopkeeper said 'Christmas mate'. I went home , sat on the sofa and wept. southside7

11:43pm Mon 9 Dec 13

moonshine50 says...

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
amazon.co.uk

It has pretty much all the Christmas gifts I could need, want or ask for, delivered to my home or work as I request, and all from the comfort of my lounge chair while having a cuppa and watching a movie on the telly.

Tell me again why I'd want to go into *any* town over the Christmas period?
Yes, but Amazon don't treat their workers very well.Have you seen the undecover episode of Panarama ? I would never use them and much prefer to shop in a store anyway . Example:- Debenhams the beautifully aromatic smell as you walk.in. We need another one and we did have one in Mc Kilroys, but that went by the wayside like a lot of other shops in the Town Centre because of people like you !
[quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: amazon.co.uk It has pretty much all the Christmas gifts I could need, want or ask for, delivered to my home or work as I request, and all from the comfort of my lounge chair while having a cuppa and watching a movie on the telly. Tell me again why I'd want to go into *any* town over the Christmas period?[/p][/quote]Yes, but Amazon don't treat their workers very well.Have you seen the undecover episode of Panarama ? I would never use them and much prefer to shop in a store anyway . Example:- Debenhams the beautifully aromatic smell as you walk.in. We need another one and we did have one in Mc Kilroys, but that went by the wayside like a lot of other shops in the Town Centre because of people like you ! moonshine50

11:52pm Mon 9 Dec 13

moonshine50 says...

Wildwestener wrote:
Swindon_AOK wrote:
The one store that had the potential to kick start a regeneration in retail was/is John Lewis. 'The 'nicer' people you all talk about would be prepared to come in, park and shop there, and maybe even venture outside if things started to pick up.

The New Swindon Company / Forward Swindon tried to attract John Lewis to the centre as part of regeneration, but 10 years ago they weren't interested / thought it was too soon.

Fast forward 10 years and we have an outline plan for the massive 'Kimmerfields' regeneration site. And yet....rather than trying to lure John Lewis again, the Council sold out and allowed them to go out of town and build their 'At Home' store instead.

This one act single handedly killed any chances of John Lewis opening in the centre and has removed the one possible major new anchor store that would kick start any future regeneration plan.

You might think its mad that one store could have such an effect, but believe me upmarket retailers will not commit to an area until it has established footfall and research proves the business plan. If you don't believe me look what has happened to Manninton - which was a sh*ithole retail park - once JL arrived. The whole place has taken off again!

Without a major new anchor, Swindon town centre is dead/dying and nothing In Swindon or any of the other bodies can do will change that. Past mistakes were not learnt from and we will all pay the price.
I understand what you are saying but if we waited for John Lewis to go the town centre it would never have come at all. As it is, it is here, it's nice, it employs many people and it brings business to the town that would be taken elsewhere if it was not here. Just because it's not in the town centre does not mean it isn't an asset to Swindon.
All in the wrong place yes with traffic bursting at the seams to come out on an already busy road and roundabout.. They should exit where they came in and send them up and back from Blagrove if they want to get back in to Swindon !
[quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Swindon_AOK[/bold] wrote: The one store that had the potential to kick start a regeneration in retail was/is John Lewis. 'The 'nicer' people you all talk about would be prepared to come in, park and shop there, and maybe even venture outside if things started to pick up. The New Swindon Company / Forward Swindon tried to attract John Lewis to the centre as part of regeneration, but 10 years ago they weren't interested / thought it was too soon. Fast forward 10 years and we have an outline plan for the massive 'Kimmerfields' regeneration site. And yet....rather than trying to lure John Lewis again, the Council sold out and allowed them to go out of town and build their 'At Home' store instead. This one act single handedly killed any chances of John Lewis opening in the centre and has removed the one possible major new anchor store that would kick start any future regeneration plan. You might think its mad that one store could have such an effect, but believe me upmarket retailers will not commit to an area until it has established footfall and research proves the business plan. If you don't believe me look what has happened to Manninton - which was a sh*ithole retail park - once JL arrived. The whole place has taken off again! Without a major new anchor, Swindon town centre is dead/dying and nothing In Swindon or any of the other bodies can do will change that. Past mistakes were not learnt from and we will all pay the price.[/p][/quote]I understand what you are saying but if we waited for John Lewis to go the town centre it would never have come at all. As it is, it is here, it's nice, it employs many people and it brings business to the town that would be taken elsewhere if it was not here. Just because it's not in the town centre does not mean it isn't an asset to Swindon.[/p][/quote]All in the wrong place yes with traffic bursting at the seams to come out on an already busy road and roundabout.. They should exit where they came in and send them up and back from Blagrove if they want to get back in to Swindon ! moonshine50

7:29am Tue 10 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
Can't help but remember that utterly pathetic tree from a couple of years ago on the magic roundabout. So awful it was actually funny.
Haha, yes, that was hilariously bad.
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Can't help but remember that utterly pathetic tree from a couple of years ago on the magic roundabout. So awful it was actually funny.[/p][/quote]Haha, yes, that was hilariously bad. Ringer

10:48am Tue 10 Dec 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

moonshine50 wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
amazon.co.uk

It has pretty much all the Christmas gifts I could need, want or ask for, delivered to my home or work as I request, and all from the comfort of my lounge chair while having a cuppa and watching a movie on the telly.

Tell me again why I'd want to go into *any* town over the Christmas period?
Yes, but Amazon don't treat their workers very well.Have you seen the undecover episode of Panarama ? I would never use them and much prefer to shop in a store anyway . Example:- Debenhams the beautifully aromatic smell as you walk.in. We need another one and we did have one in Mc Kilroys, but that went by the wayside like a lot of other shops in the Town Centre because of people like you !
I don't see a gun to their head, no one forces anyone to work for Amazon. If they don't like the pay or conditions they can always improve themselves and get a job doing something else. However, having a job is better than no job at all surely? One day soon these "picking and packing" type jobs will be completely automated and then there will be no jobs at all.

If you don't want to use them because of a one sided low quality documentary, good for you. That's what consumer choice is all about and I applaud you for doing that. However, my consumer choice is to do my shopping from the comfort of my own home away from the crowds, where I can view many "shops" within minutes, don't have to deal with drunks, pickpockets.

Debenhams - the "aromatic" smell as you walk in is precisely why I will not go in there as I'm allergic to the perfumes they use. McIlroys was rubbish, particularly in its latter days. I've no idea why people view it with such esteem!

Actually a large number of shops in the town centre have gone by the wayside because of the sky high unrealistic rents they are charged, which impacts on the price of the product and the viability of the store. This has nothing to do with where I choose to do my shopping and everything to do with the huge debts of town centre property owners.
[quote][p][bold]moonshine50[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: amazon.co.uk It has pretty much all the Christmas gifts I could need, want or ask for, delivered to my home or work as I request, and all from the comfort of my lounge chair while having a cuppa and watching a movie on the telly. Tell me again why I'd want to go into *any* town over the Christmas period?[/p][/quote]Yes, but Amazon don't treat their workers very well.Have you seen the undecover episode of Panarama ? I would never use them and much prefer to shop in a store anyway . Example:- Debenhams the beautifully aromatic smell as you walk.in. We need another one and we did have one in Mc Kilroys, but that went by the wayside like a lot of other shops in the Town Centre because of people like you ![/p][/quote]I don't see a gun to their head, no one forces anyone to work for Amazon. If they don't like the pay or conditions they can always improve themselves and get a job doing something else. However, having a job is better than no job at all surely? One day soon these "picking and packing" type jobs will be completely automated and then there will be no jobs at all. If you don't want to use them because of a one sided low quality documentary, good for you. That's what consumer choice is all about and I applaud you for doing that. However, my consumer choice is to do my shopping from the comfort of my own home away from the crowds, where I can view many "shops" within minutes, don't have to deal with drunks, pickpockets. Debenhams - the "aromatic" smell as you walk in is precisely why I will not go in there as I'm allergic to the perfumes they use. McIlroys was rubbish, particularly in its latter days. I've no idea why people view it with such esteem! Actually a large number of shops in the town centre have gone by the wayside because of the sky high unrealistic rents they are charged, which impacts on the price of the product and the viability of the store. This has nothing to do with where I choose to do my shopping and everything to do with the huge debts of town centre property owners. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man

2:14pm Tue 10 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

That is the reason that Amazon and others are so cheap, did you not realise that? You want everyone to be well paid but you want low prices and they don't go together. As others have said it is a personal choice where you shop but we do need a bit of reality about why some shops are cheaper than others!
That is the reason that Amazon and others are so cheap, did you not realise that? You want everyone to be well paid but you want low prices and they don't go together. As others have said it is a personal choice where you shop but we do need a bit of reality about why some shops are cheaper than others! house on the hill

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