Sad­dened by clo­sure of Bur­ton cloth­ing store

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

When I was a small boy, my fa­ther used to take me fish­ing in the ditches and canals around Rom­ney Marsh. With a small boy’s in­no­cent en­thu­si­asm, I al­ways hoped that a shark – even a small one – might find its way to where I dan­gled my hook.

Well, this is very much like fish­ing. ‘What is’? I hear you ask. Writ­ing a weekly col­umn in the lo­cal news­pa­per, I re­ply.

Each week a hand­ful of bait is thrown upon the wa­ters in the hope that a shark will come along to do bat­tle. Sadly, so far I seem only to have caught a few tid­dlers. But then, we live in hope.

So Bur­ton – once, Mon­tague Bur­ton the Fifty Shilling Tai­lor – is to leave our High Street. This, in two ways, is a cause for sad­ness.

Firstly, of course, we will be los­ing what amounts al­most to an his­toric land­mark in our High Street and, se­condly, the spec­tre of an­other large empty shop front in so prom­i­nent a po­si­tion is not one to be de­sired.

I have to con­fess that I have twice, over the years, walked out of the shop with­out be­ing served, while the staff stood and chat­ted amongst them­selves. This, I has­ten to say, has not hap­pened re­cently.

What Bur­ton’s clo­sure does seem to point out is what I have al­ways re­garded as the un­re­al­ity of re­ly­ing on ‘foot­fall’ as a mea­sure of com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity.

We have been told how foot­fall has in­creased re­cently but shops are still clos­ing.

I see that the mag­nif­i­cent Hu­bert foun­tain has achieved a grade two list­ing de­spite the mis­treat­ment it re­ceived dur­ing its pre­vi­ous ‘re­fur­bish­ment’ when it was painted a hideous and ut­terly un­be­com­ing orange.

Per­haps Steve Sal­ter, our lo­cal his­to­rian and guardian of an­cient things will bring some in­flu­ence to bear and per­suade the philistines that restora­tion does not mean slap­ping on paint of an in­ap­pro­pri­ate colour.

Proper re­search should be car­ried out to en­sure that the in­ten­tions of the sculp­tor should be re­spected and the thing taken back to as near its orig­i­nal con­di­tion as pos­si­ble.

We should con­grat­u­late those re­spon­si­ble for de­sign­ing the var­i­ous flo­ral plant­ings in the town cen­tre.

They, at least, are in­di­ca­tors that life is not ex­tinct. The march of the flo­ral ‘Daleks’ around the place works pretty well – though, un­for­tu­nately, some id­iots have taken to plant­ing their rub­bish in among the blooms.

‘We have been told how foot­fall has in­creased but shops are still clos­ing’

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