LIFE IN MY NORTHERN TOWN
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.