Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Small Shops Are Best

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Small Shops Are Best

Article excerpt

I WAS dismayed to read Andrew Gilligan's feature on the Interim Barker Review of Land Use Planning, which suggests a policy shift towards building more shopping centres (29 August).

In Shepherd's Bush our hearts sink as we see cranes at work on Westfield's mega-mall at White City, particularly since the New Economics Foundation named Uxbridge Road as having the most diverse range of shops in London.

Shopping malls not only destroy the environment, they are also surely a sign of a bygone era, along with decking and gas-guzzling cars.

The popularity of malls in the US is declining, and the eruption of shops like Tesco Metro and Sainsbury's Local in this country shows that people prefer shopping locally to driving to big malls.

Did I say driving? While at Brent Cross John Lewis alone offers 6,000 free parking spaces, the larger mall at White City will only have 4,000 or 4,500 at weekends. Add to this the fact that the West London tram, destined to terminate inside the mall itself, seems as if it is being put on the back burner, and the whole development looks, hopefully, doomed.

Virginia Ironside, Save Shepherd's Bush Streets.

THE saga of Minerva plc's Park Place shopping centre in Croydon has disgusted many local people. We want to see Croydon grow. But there are already empty shops in two of the town's existing shopping centres.

After unveiling plans for Park Place, Minerva joined the consortium that took over Allder's, the main tenant in the neighbouring Whitgift centre.

Thanks to poor management, the chain nearly collapsed. Subsequently Minerva bought the freehold for the Croydon store; the suspicion remains it only got involved with Allder's to secure the site.

And the revelations about the Dome can only make us wonder about the connection between former Minerva chairman Sir David Garrard and Labour before John Prescott made a decision in favour of Park Place.

Why should a developer come in with big ideas if they are going to damage what we have already got? …

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