Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Orchard Shops

At long last another step forward.  Today Stockton Council issued the necessary notice, granting permission to demolish the burnt out shops.  I've spent a lot of time in recent weeks working with council officers to try to find a way to speed matters up and finally this announcement came today.  Of course it's only the next stage.  Getting rid of the burned and charred remains will make a huge difference to the appearance of the site and might mean that we can have some movement on the blocking off of car parking spaces at the front.  Disabled people are not finding it easy to access the Library at present, having to park at the side and negotiate the cobbled paving.
The next question of course is, what's going to replace them?  The owner has said all along that he wants to see shops there, and so do the people of Eaglescliffe.  But not just any shops.  The shops need to be affordable so that the services people want can come back - the pharmacy which provides much more than a prescription service, the hairdresser, the dry cleaner, the fish & chip shop, the Indian and Chinese takeaways, perhaps even the betting shop!  We don't want the shops to be so expensive that they are never occupied.  That parade, with the library at one end and the community centre at the other, is the heart of the area and needs to be full of life again.
No doubt there'll be changes.  Perhaps there'll be flats over all the shops rather than just at the end.  They'll surely have good secure rear yards, learning the lesson from recent events.  The front paving probably won't be quite as attractive to bmx and scooter fans.  We hope it'll be easily accessible from the car park and easy to walk along.
I hope that the owner is going to work with the community to come up with a design that will be the best for the area and good for him by being profitable too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Strange, that nice mr wharton and his strange ginger sidekick say that the local conservatives are the ones who got the job done.