TOWN CENTRE: Not just foreign shops that ‘blank out’

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It’s not just “foreign shops” which are guilty of shop-window abuse (in Spalding). It’s B&M as well. It’s Marks and Spencer and Hughes Electrical and Peacock’s and the Halifax Building Society.

It’s welcome news that the Chamber of Commerce and Town Forum hope that discussion can be opened up with Eastern European owners, but there is an equal need for serious talks with the managers of the above stores and premises.

With their blanked-out, dead-eyed windows, they might as well be boarded up, and are equally responsible for the shabby, unwelcoming, lifeless appearance the town centre too often has, made worse by sagging plastic banners, fly-posting and clutter on poles. And of course blanked-out windows cut out that natural surveillance that helps to deter anti-social behaviour.

Matters like these would be one of the obvious priorities of a town centre manager. It is puzzling therefore to find the Town Forum, it appears, simultaneously blowing cold on the revival of such a post.

On the plus side, however, for high quality window-dressing we need to look no further than Watkin’s, for example, or Hill’s Furniture Store, M&Co, Store Twenty-One or Beale’s. Not to mention the many independents who know what shop windows are for: George Adams, Inkley’s, M&M Antiques, Stennett’s, Mann’s, Law’s, Gibbs’s, Flowers ‘n’ Things, to name just a few.

The colourful, ever-changing variety of window displays is one of the things that gives a town centre the sort of welcoming visual vitality that brings in shoppers and makes it a place which is pleasant to meet in and which visitors will want to return to.

It’s to everyone’s benefit.

Next time a window display strikes you with its attractiveness or imagination, just pop in and say how nice it is. Let’s appreciate as well as grumble.

John Charlesworth

Spalding and District

Civic Society