Glad that serious debate has begun

PUBLISHED: 15:36 09 November 2007 | UPDATED: 23:08 28 May 2010

IT would seem that living in Ely and having access to Starbucks and Costa coffee houses qualifies one as a snob if the attack on Patricia Goodenough in last week s letters page is anything to go by. If that s the case, I m afraid I m guilty on both counts

IT would seem that living in Ely and having access to Starbucks and Costa coffee houses qualifies one as a snob if the attack on Patricia Goodenough in last week's letters page is anything to go by.

If that's the case, I'm afraid I'm guilty on both counts (although Patricia has an advantage on me in that at least she started in March in the first place). I came from some obscure northern outpost called Wigan.

I find it extraordinary that someone who voices an honest opinion about the shopping facilities in March is looked upon as some sort of traitor. It's not as though Ms Goodenough was criticising the inhabitants of the town.

I have been concerned for some time about the erosion of retail shopping facilities and the loss of independent family-owned businesses in particular.

Fenland Council's own figures, presented to the planning inspector who overruled the council's democratic decision recently, which has resulted in the loss of another retail outlet in Broad Street show that 43 per cent of the premises on Broad Street are non retail, ie banks, building societies and the like.

It's possible that Peacocks will occupy an out-of-town site if it comes here which again will be a detriment to the town centre (why can't it occupy the derelict freezer centre site?).

Having said that, I wouldn't say Ely is God's gift to shoppers. It has only one large food store in the town centre whereas March is fortunate to have three and it doesn't have any better representation from large retailers other than WH Smith. Plenty of coffee shops though.

Parking, particularly on market days, is horrendous unless one owns a boat and in my opinion, it has a lot of thinking to do about its central shopping area and facilities.

It's time there was a serious debate in March about the future for the town centre and I for one am pleased Patricia Goodenough has sparked it off.

REG KEMP

Scargells Lane

March

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