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Maggie/915

Dear Waitrose

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We are a small town here in Bedlington but we have a huge number of people living in the 'Shire' and beyond.

There is an opportunity to build and convert an existing property or two into a thriving business.

Most towns are overdeveloped and only have the usual boring shops.

Your company Waitrose together with John Lewis would have people travelling from far and wide to shop here.

The link up with the morals and ethics of your company could have many many unique possibles .

Our little dog The Bedlington Terrier is one .

Then there is :-

Saint Cuthbert .

Our Mining heritage gives us many Banners that reflect your company ideology.

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Dear Maggie915

                            thank you for your letter informing us of an opportunity to invest in your Town, however after contacting your County Council regarding this matter they have stated categorically that any investment whatsoever in the Wansbeck constituency must go into..... Ashington.  We hope this clears up the matter and just like your representatives at County HQ and Westminster,  we don't want to hear from you again! 

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Foxy let us hope things work out.

The site at the Market Place is second to none as a retail opportunity .

The number of people who live in our town and the number who drive through must be huge.

People come to the Court House and all we need is a brave company.

Waitrose are looking to expand.

No other town has any better site.

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Well said Maggie.

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Maggie down here they deliver to your house free of charge even symptoms would like that with his pinch of salt & not forgetting his spoon of extra virgin oil LOL

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I hear that the court is earmarked for closure & the cells at the police station will also close soon meaning anyone arrested anywhere in Northumberland will be taken to Wallsend or Newcastle.

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Maggie,

 

"The number of people who live in our town and the number who drive through must be huge."

 

While I appreciate your impassioned plea to Waitrose, and I'm one of those advocating optimism, the above quoted sentence highlights the problem. Officially, Bedlington has a population of around 15,000. That's not particularly great. Also, it's a town that is, geographically, 'stuck in the middle'. There is, in truth, very little through traffic; the Spine Road and A1 see to that. The only people who would shop at a Waitrose in Bedlington would be those who either live or work here. Otherwise, where would they come from? All the surrounding towns - Cramlington, Blyth, Ashington, Morpeth - have more than adequate shopping facilities. Why would they choose to come here instead?

 

One of the areas in which I agree with those who propose a doom-laden future for the town is that I personally cannot see any store of this type bringing people here to shop. Quite simply, out-of-towners don't need to. The question is, what do we want? What would we use? I doubt, sadly, that Waitrose see the site as having anything but minor potential. I don't claim to know what the answer is, but I don't think it's another supermarket giant who would quickly see that the footfall just isn't there.

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I hope you are wrong mercuryg.

It seems to me that the volume of people are there.

You only need to see the rush for parking spaces in Morpeth or Cramlington to see a different side to the argument.

Cramlington is not on the A1 or the A189.

Ashington is out on a limb.

Morpeth has accieved more since the new Sandersons Arcade was developed.

People , for long enough now, have not got all they need from the Bedlington Shops.

Introducing Waitrose and more variety could change everything.

On numerous occasions we (and people I know) have been unable to get simple items in Bedlington.

Once that happens patterns are set to shop elsewhere.

I personally would like to see our town prosper with a vibrant town centre.

Anyone who remembers Bedlington in the past will / would know there is a need for more variety and diversity..

Given the shops and quality , people will return .

I will say again 'In huge numbers'.

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The best use for the building imo would be to split it up into a few dozen incubator style offices/meeting spaces with reception services. I expect these would be quite tempting to the likes of Merc working from home, it would create activity in the town centre and some may grow to fill the more visible high street retail premises over time. There would be lots of networking opportunities and a lot of the hassles many start ups face would be eliminated.

 

There a couple of ways of looking at our location, some see it as a downside but our town is centrally located between 4 larger towns which could be a huge advantage if treated correctly.

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"I hope you are wrong mercuryg."

 

I do too, Maggie. The worry is I was 'right' some years ago when I expressed the opinion that, due to a lack of through traffic and low footfall, the planned Tesco development would never happen. I'm afraid it will take more than a big supermarket to draw in people from the surrounding towns who already have such facilities, and that would be needed in order to justify the investment.

 

4G...

 

"The best use for the building imo would be to split it up into a few dozen incubator style offices/meeting spaces with reception services. I expect these would be quite tempting to the likes of Merc working from home, it would create activity in the town centre and some may grow to fill the more visible high street retail premises over time. There would be lots of networking opportunities and a lot of the hassles many start ups face would be eliminated."

 

Great idea, and it would certainly be of interest to me at the right price.

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GGGG/merc,..............

I wanted to do something like that with the old Elliotts Garage site, though the Development Trust, but my idea relied on attracting someone like Wilkinson's to take the ground floor and having a second floor for open office type spaces.

The point is that as merc said a lot of people said they would be willing to use the hot office space just for the social aspect if nothing else as long as the charge was reasonable. I think it could have worked.

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"I think it could have worked."

 

It certainly would have worked. Before it all went tits up (pardon the expression) and Wetherspoons stepped in, there was a similar idea in place for the Red Lion. I had my name down for an office in that development.

 

Working from home is all very well, and convenient, but I honestly believe I would be more productive if I were to 'go to work' every day rather than simply moving from one room to the next.

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We need a viable shopping centre.

It seems local landlords and local councillors have 'messed up' big time.

If the buildings are not fit for purpose then things have to change.

Investment in Gallagher Park Etc is all very well but we need local shops that provide us with more than the essentials.

Why should we need to go elsewhere.

Governments emphasis the need to walk and keep healthy.

Can we say in the future ' I am just off walking to the shops', in reality there will be no shops.

Why is it that we find more variety in Guidepost or Bedlington Station?

If it is simply that people cannot see the big picture, then they need to be educated.

Come on councillors, landlords and developers.

It seems to me that everyone is holding their breath waiting for better times.

Is that why developments are started and not finished or not started at all.

Maybe land banking until investment appears.

Bedlington is important.

We can rise from the ashes of this dark age.

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If whoever sets these rates would stand up and actually look at the Town, and more importantly care about what they are looking at, we could be onto a winner.

 

We've tried the "big brand" route, Perhaps now its time to lower the rates, lock out the bigger companies for the majority of the lots and allow small businesses a chance.

 

It certainly wouldn't do unemployment any harm, and with more people working, and less claiming, it has to be a good thing long-term... Right?

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I remember many, many years ago, when the Co-op was still there, they announced they were going to close.  The then Council persuaded them to stay open for a further 6 months, whilst telling the town "use it or loose it".  The people still didn't use it, so the Co-op closed.  It is all very well calling for shops, but when they were there people didn't use them.

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The Waitrose shopping experience IS a 'life style choice' by those demanding some sort of exclusivity whilst pushing their trolleys so they're usually (always) located in fairly affluent areas.  I'm not sure Bedders would be described as affluent by the Waitrose bosses so it wouldn't be considered as a location (ditto Ashington), however, Morpeth would seem to fit the bill perfectly.  Yep, I'm sure there are grotty bits in Morpeth but is suspect the perception is of it being a 'nice' middle-class sort of a place.

 

When I lived in London I had a choice of a couple of Waitrose stores nearby ... joy, oh joy when doing the shopping.  Wide aisles, polished fruit & veg, beautifully neat and tidy,  delightful atmosphere, excellent choice of 'unusual' scoff, excellent choice in the booze section, lovely staff ... oh, and no rampaging screaming brats, no fat folks in their polyester shell suits stacking their barrows with white bread, crisps and biscuits.

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Bedlington is changing, people are changing,

The past was good wholesome food !

Nowadays tastes for different styles of cooking are increasing daily fuelled by all the television programmes on baking.

There are more and more people who would shop locally at Waitrose or any other supermarket that provided a decent range of produce.

The reason they do not now is because you only have to try once to get something ordinary but extraordinary and fail to shop permanently elsewhere.

After all other shops have failed , we have to decide why?

Waitrose have a smallish shop in Newcastle in Eldon Square and shops in Hexham and Ponteland I think.

Now here's the thing their budget range is excellent and everything is of a high quality.

Sounds like an advert for Waitrose but in my defence I do like their policies within the John Lewis organisation.

Policies I think that fit with Bedlington and even the old Coop Movement.

Stores in Bedlington fail because they do not think people will buy anything out of the ordinary.

It is my belief that given a decent service and a variety of merchandise we would all shop locally.

We need something unique to start the ball rolling .

We need everyone on side, no one hanging onto past ideas of failure.

The Council and land bankers realising that they have everything to loose and nothing to gain by doing nothing .

Morpeth is not the answer for Waitrose , Bedlington could be!

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We can now accept Bedlingtonshire has a population to match Ashington and Blyth.

So

Dear NCC and the Labour Controlled Bedlington Council,

Show us you care!! (Or maybe not)

Please please can we have a shopping centre (like the Keel Row) maybe call it The Lonnen.

Waitrose and a Marks and Spencer Food store plus other retailers.

Anyone who wants a way into a huge potential untapped market.

Lots of available space.

Bus station and parking on level ground.

Two other levels with a walkway over to the old Elliott's Garage site and the old school

Obviously there will be space available on the GAP Site.

Space may become available if and when The Court House and Police Station close.

All it needs is a little thought.

Maybe a leisure centre would be a step to far but if it could or would be viable then that too could be considered.

I sincerely hope this is not too much to ask after the years of no investment in a fantastic old town.

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"Please please can we have a shopping centre (like the Keel Row) maybe call it The Lonnen.
Waitrose and a Marks and Spencer Food store plus other retailers.
Anyone who wants a way into a huge potential untapped market.
Lots of available space.

Bus station and parking on level ground.
Two other levels with a walkway over to the old Elliott's Garage site and the old school
Obviously there will be space available on the GAP Site."

 

Just thinking about this; I understand your approach, but is it really what Bedlington needs, or wants? I know I'm going to sound like I'm going against my general approach on the subject, but for me, one of the joys of the town is the Front Street itself. Yes, it's currently blighted by unsightly closed shops and unfinished building sites, but on the whole it is a unique asset, a wide, pleasant, market town street that hasn't changed much in 100 years. Now, the idea of a shopping centre is a good one; indeed, that could be an ideal use for the Tesco's buildings, but a walkway over the road? Not for me, I'm afraid. Morpeth's Sanderson Arcade works because a) it is a spur off the main street and B) it incorporates major brand stores with eclectic boutique stores. It should be, in my humble opinion, the aim of any development to serve those in the 'shire' rather than try and encourage others to come and shop here, which will never work. Food for thought.

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Just 'Working My Ticket' mercuryg.

The developments in the market place, that have never been fully developed, need attention .

Maybe the threat of a compulsory purchase order could help.

A roundabout using the old school land !

Historical Dig First to a level of interest.

Bishops Place Era several metres down.

If the new houses are built on the Broadway House Field then access will be needed.

How many years has the land been left?

I believe a fire destroyed or melted windows nearby..

The present owners of the land have had there chance.

Land Banking maybe.

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keep on working your ticket Maggie, too few do!

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