Herts Ad Comment: Save our retail districts

PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 April 2017

The Quadrant shops in Marshalswick

The Quadrant shops in Marshalswick


Banks, Post Offices, newsagents, convenience stores, pubs, all vital to the lifeblood of a community.

Yet the past few weeks have seen the closure of many of these facilities in locations across St Albans, leaving residents with no other option but to travel to alternative locations elsewhere in the district.

The loss of the Barclays and Lloyds banks at The Quadrant, the imminent closure of the Beech Road Post Office and newsagent, all probably for very good business reasons, but with little regard for the impact on local users.

Instead, those people who prefer that face-to-face contact with bank staff, or just want to post a parcel to a loved one, are forced to travel elsewhere, adding to the pressures on those facilities which have thus far survived the axe.

Those pockets of retailers which can be found scattered across the city, whether in Jersey Farm, New Greens, Marshalswick or Cell Barnes Lane, are essential to people whose only means of getting around is on foot or if the journey really demands it, by taxi or bus.

But the closure of essential services at these locations, such as a Post Office or bank, will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on those businesses remaining, as customers are forced to travel elsewhere to access them.

Sometimes it isn’t just about the bottom line, sometimes it’s about providing a community with the services they need to get by, but unfortunately the companies who run these facilities just don’t seem to appreciate that role.

It would be nice to see the district council step in to safeguard some of these retail communities, perhaps by providing “hubs” similar to the one at the Civic Centre, before they are lost forever.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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