Tuesday, 2 March 2010



My thanks to a 'Strife Team' member for pictures and information from Broadstairs gathered in the sunshine yesterday. Here is his report:

Despair hits the High Street, Broadstairs again as the third lot of roadworks makes the lower High Street inaccessible to all bar pedestrians. and even then they have to pick their way cautiously round the roadworks. Local traders described the current situation as 'desperate' as footfall has dropped dramatically.
The 56 bus has had to be re-routed cutting off those who need it most from accessing this lifeline. Drivers are confronted with 'Shop Local First'signs but have no idea where to park due to confusing 'Road closed' signs.
Readers might remember that last summer three local businessmen had tables in among the barricades while they enjoyed an al fresco lunchbreak to highlight their catastrophic situation.
The puzzling factor is the current lot of roadworks are undoing what was done last year to re-do the junction with Queen's Road. Bus stops have been resited meaning the elderly have further to go to get to a bus stop.
How many local traders can survive this third disruption to their livelihood? Will the individual shops filling a local need still be there come the summer?
I just wonder if Westwood Cross businesses would tolerate this same level of disruption to their business that Broadstairs traders have had to suffer in the past 12 months?  I doubt it. Local businesses in our Town Centres are struggling against all the odds; double yellow lines; extortionate TDC car parking meters; inadequate parking; key chains legging it (to Westwood X) or failing and all the time  TDC has some warped vision of Westwood Cross being its fourth and 'main' town centre. It is private property, a windswept and mediocre 'mall' that even puts its 'gorillas' onto a local citizen to stop him photographing. Do our Councillors really support their local businesses  (who are also, in the main, their electorate) or is the reality that ' grandiose visions' are more important?



Anonymous said...

What have the two KCC councillors been doing to alleviate the situation? It's Kent Highways that has come up with the scheme that must be costing a great deal at a time when so many roads are like the rocky road to Dublin? I'd like to know if either has been to speak to the businesses to find out concerns since one has a business in the town itself.

Having talked myself to shop-keepers whilst doing my best to keep shopping locally, it's clear to me the situation is dire.

Moving the bus stops may to the fit seem nothing but to anyone less footsure, the extra walk is sufficient to dissuade some from going into Broadstairs and they are choosing to go to Westwood Cross instead.

Perhaps it's all a cunning plan to ensure empty properties can then be sold for development. A small number of sites are already earmarked for yet more flats so who knows?

Anonymous said...

i understand that tdc actively encourages the key chains to go to westwood cross, i am unsure what carrot they give them.

Ramsgate pensioner said...

I really sympathise with the shopkeepers in Broadstairs but please reassure them not everyone travels by car and a lot of local people including me hate going to Westwood Cross and avoid it as much as possible. As soon as the weather improves I'm sure there will be more visitors.

ascu75 aka Don said...

Note to self DONT GO TO BROADSTAIRS SHOPPING. Not a thing I would normally say but I am sure Broadstairs traders understand and the rate reductions will more than compensate them I am sure

Anonymous said...

You are living in a different world Bertie, the same place as the misguided souls who try to eak out a living offering second class service in second class surroundings on our high streets. The trend for out of town shopping started in the 70's, but only reached Thanet in a big way in the noughties. Time catches up with even Thanet in the end, and may even catch up with you one day.

Anonymous said...

'Second class service in second-class surroundings'? There are shops in Broadstairs like the Herbalist in Harbour Street, The All-Weather Clothing Company and The Bottleneck off-licence that give excellent service, all locally owned and run businesses.

I was in one shop on Saturday at mid-day and was the first customer they'd had. Sad state of affairs when you think about what they've had to battle the last few years since Westwood Cross opened.

Bertie Biggles said...

15:47, I can assure you that my knees tell me that the years have caught up with me.

On the subject of 'out of town' shopping malls of the poor quality of Westwood Cross; look no further than Canterbury or further afield to Shrewsbury. Both cities incorporated first class shopping centres as developments within their environs to the benefit of all the local businesses. When will people like you realise (i gave up on TDC Cllrs long ago) that what we have at Westwood Cross by allowing large chains to do their thing, is actually to impoverish the local community as a whole. Other than low paid minimum wages to p/t employees, very little money from the millions spent at Westwood Cross and its environs is recirculated in Thanet. Local businesses employ local garages, electricians, shop-fitters, decorators, roofers, builders etc etc and as a result Thanet money is recirculated in Thanet. That is not the case with big chains. In simple terms, Gp 4 vans take money away out of Thanet. So it is a specious argument to claim that Westwood Cross keeps money in Thanet.

Has it crossed your mind why Tesco want to set-up in Arlington Parade? If there is no where else and they assess that money is to be made still, they will set up in the town. How many other chains would have stayed in Margate or have come to Margate if there was no alternative like Westwood Cross?

Anonymous said...

And has it not occurred to you that us, the great unwashed of Thanet, very much like what has happened at Westwood Cross which is why we go there and not the tatty (for the most part) shops in the high street. However much you might like the high streets, why don't you just acknowledge that most people don't? And as for jobs, I am sure there are more jobs at Westwood Cross for people like me than ever there were in the high street. They might not be to your taste but then some of us are greatful for what we have.

Ali from Garlinge said...

The shops at Westwood Cross are fine in their way (I have to restrain my feet from automatically diverting into Waterstone's) but it's true that it has destroyed Thanet's High Streets. What is more annoying is the national press (and the BBC) bleating that Margate has the highest number of closed down shops in the high street in the country and blaming it on the recession. Bah Humbug. Everyone knew this would happen when Westwood Cross opened, and it has. The moment Marks and Sparks moved that was the end of it. Many elderly people took the bus into Cecil Square and then did their food shopping in M&S just a short distance away. Now they have to trek up to Westwood Cross or Morrison's and it's not that easy. No one asked the people of Thanet if they wanted their high streets stoned to death, it was just done. And all to suit the car driver. Those of us left struggling with overcrowded buses and expensive taxis know and have always known, just how valuable our high streets are. The centres have been knocked out of our community.

Anonymous said...

Margate High Street is a disgrace and TDC should be ashamed that they have permitted this to happen.

If they had planned and had a realistic regeneration strategy there was no reason why high streets in the area could supplement Westwood Cross.

The Council seem to think The Turner Centre and Westwood Cross will save the area.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

Anonymous said...

Oh you are all so funny.. be honest, what would it take for you to sell out the high streets of Thanet - some folk would do it for a nice little backhander, probably a lot less than you might think... coruuption ! in Thanet ?.. surely not.