Readers' letters - May 22
This decision by IKEA to pull out is a sensible and natural reaction to the changing retail world. We need fewer shops, not more, following the explosion of online shopping and we should be more focused on protecting existing town centres.
What was Lancashire County Council doing in the first place promoting this development, where large M&S and Next stores were also being proposed? This could well have led them to closing in Preston and other neighbouring town centres.
Hopefully, these retailers will also now lose faith in the scheme.
Unfortunately, yet again, planners were pressurised to approve proposals because of short-term financial gains, not looking at the longer-term issues.
Thankfully the market has seen sense on this one.
I am sending a before and after photograph of the new IKEA site in Cuerden, Bamber Bridge.
As you can see, the first is a green and pleasant land, complete with wildlife.
The second is taken in the same location after destruction, in order to build the new IKEA.
Now we learn that IKEA is no longer building on this site. What a complete waste of such an idyllic location.
Photo courtesy of Graeme Heaton
Can our towns live on coffee?
The time is rapidly approaching when we, the public, will have to decide how we want to see our town and city centres develop.
Are we prepared to see them become little more than ‘ghost’ areas with very few shops, or no shops at all?
There must surely be a limit to the number of ‘upmarket’ coffee bars they can support, and if they’re the only attraction, would we bother visiting the centres at all?
There must also be a limit to the number of pound and charity shops they can support, so that leaves what we are seeing already... graffiti-covered rusting shutters.
We thought that Woolworths and BHS would last forever. They didn’t.
Mothercare and Debenhams are struggling, and how long will we continue to see M&S on our high streets?
One thing is certain to me. If all our in-store shopping is done at the large out-of-town shopping areas, the first thing to go will be free parking.
And if we are eventually forced to do most of our shopping online because there are few conventional shops left, as sure as night follows day, prices will rise, and free postage will end on both deliveries and ‘returns’.
At the moment, the online customer is treated as someone ‘special’. Don’t think for one moment that this will last. It won’t. One answer would be to convert the empty premises into flats and encourage people to take up residence in our town and city centres, but would we really want to see this done on a large scale?
What about democracy?
The Conservative Government has announced new measures to back British shale gas exploration, a move that rides roughshod over our democracy. Included in the plans was the possibility to allow fracking companies to drill risky exploratory wells under permitted development without the need for planning permission and removing any chance for local communities and councils to have their voices heard.
You would need less planning approval for a shale gas well than, say, a new conservatory!
Furthermore, the government will consider adding shale gas production applications into the ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects’ portfolio. A move that would further erode the public’s ability to democratically challenge the fracking industry.
The Government’s own surveys show that only 17 per cent of the population are in favour of fracking and the vast majority support renewables. The Government should stand by its citizens and seriously reconsider its dangerous and dated policies on fracking, and implement an immediate ban.
We need good car parking
Re: Tesco U-turn on Penwortham plans (LP May 16). Penwortham does
not need a 24-hour supermarket.
What we need is a few independent shops with good parking facilities.
Since losing our car park at the health centre, Cop Lane is a nightmare.
There are cars parked on both sides of the road, plus drivers picking up children from the girls’ school.
This is an accident waiting to happen.