Rochdale Observer - - YOUR VIEWS -

WELL, it’s been a year now since the river was opened in the cen­tre of town and the per­fect time to as­sess just how suc­cess­ful it has been - or not - so I set off nice and early last Satur­day to take a look as I wanted to get there be­fore the crowds built up too much.

I re­call the rather tan­ta­lis­ing artist’s im­pres­sion with all the peo­ple sat out­side hav­ing a cof­fee un­der­neath the trees.

Un­for­tu­nately, when I got there, I didn’t see any of the tourists that were promised.

Or cafes. Or trees for that mat­ter.

I think maybe the peo­ple who were re­spon­si­ble for this project were hop­ing that thou­sands of po­ten­tial tourists would be­come bored with look­ing at Buck­ing­ham Palace, the Eif­fel Tower and the Pyra­mids and come and look at the river in­stead. Hmmm. Ad­mit­tedly, it has at­tracted wildlife back into the area such as ducks and birds and the odd fish - and not a sin­gle shop­ping trol­ley in sight.

And now two ques­tions come to mind,

1- how much did it fi­nally cost

2 – what are the ac­tual re­turns in terms of ad­di­tional business to the town has the project gen­er­ated? Al­though, by the looks of it, the only peo­ple who are do­ing any ex­tra business are Greggs and the lo­cal off li­cence.

And where is the me­dieval bridge that we were promised? The only peo­ple who have seen it so far are the ones that jumped down into the river.

And de­bate still rages as to whether it was all worth­while.

While I was down there, I de­cided to carry out a sur­vey in one of the town cen­tre pubs on open­ing up the river and out of all the peo­ple I asked, not one sin­gle per­son thought it was a good idea.

Ad­mit­tedly, one or two did not quite un­der­stand the ques­tion – one tried to sell me half a pound of ba­con and a gam­mon joint, one claimed I had spilled his pint and an­other told me that he loved me but, still, the gen­eral con­sen­sus was it should have been left as it was.

So was it worth it? Well, I have to ad­mit that al­though it looks ok, I still can’t see the real ben­e­fits.

I did pre­fer the old pedes­trian area and the rather pretty round­about.

I am afraid the jury is out for me.

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