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The Slow Death of Bridge Street.


algy
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I walked down Bridge Street the other day and counted eighteen empty shops, some have notices advertising lets available, are these buildings privately owned or do the belong to the town. I think most people are aware that it doesn't take long for unoccupied buildings to start the process of decay and when this happens the restoration of the fabric of a building is extremely difficult and expensive to reverse, surely by reducing the rent on these properties a small revenue is better than no revenue at all, or in the extreme, demolishing these properties and destroying the character and heritage of Warringtons historical main street.

Young people of today generally do not appreciate the historical architecture of the town, as we probably did not either, but as they mature they are going to be very angry that our generation failed to look after the town for there children and grand children.

 

IT ISN'T TO LATE, BUT IT SOON WILL BE!!!!

 

Is it to be this -

1908WarringtonBridgeStreet.jpg

 

1908WarringtonBridgeStreetlookingtowardB

 

Or this again -

1912DemolishingbuildingsontheeastsideofB

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It is a great shame Algy & as you say something needs to be done before it's too late. Obviously, a consequence of moving the town centre into the Golden Square ,especially since its enlargement, but there are only so many large retailers to go round & they all want to be close to their competitors. May be an alternative ,if possible , would be to market Bridge Street as a boutique & similar specialist shops venture at, as you say, subsidised rent to attract these businesses to town. In this respect what happened to that woman who was supposedly coming to town & handing cash out to spruce up the place ? Something does need to happen quickly though because shoppers are not going to be happy trudging through Bridge Street bomb site to get to Golden Square.

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Been here many times Alg: there's only a finite amount of floor space required in the TC as a whole; and if provision is concentrated to one area (IE G/Square) the rest shrivels up;  this is further compounded in terms of reduced foot-fall by "out of Town" provision and now by internet shopping. :|

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When I visited at Xmas I was quite shocked by the state of Bridge St. Trouble is though, as Observer says, expanding the Golden Square so much was probably a mistake as there's only a finite demand for shop space. Warrington Town Centre now simply has too much. I think the Council could take an imaginative approach though, reduce rent, rates, invest in marketing etc. Warrington is lucky in the amount of traffic free pedestrian space that's available in the town centre, they should make the most of it. Outdoor cafes, street theatre, buskers etc Wavydavy has a good point re boutique, individual, specialist shops, All the retail giants seem to want Golden Square/Cockhedge type places. Bridge St could be lovely again with a small amount of creative thinking. 

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When the market is demolished along with Time square area and a new market built along with cinema etc as planned then Bridge street should once again be at the heart of the Town with footfall crossing all day long.

As a family man in their mid 30's I'd like to see the daytime trade do well, family places / entertainment but also also much better night life. ( cos i still got it ) I can't go for drink on bridge street because I'm not 16 and mental but if I do it's the Barly mow or cairo street. There needs to be more sophisticated night life/ restaurants in town but I don't think there are enough decent people interested and they tend to go to the city.

Town could be so much more.

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What has happened to Bridge St is happening everywhere there is a new development. Myself and my wife often travel to neighbouring towns for a change of scenery.

 

In Wigan for example, the openming of the new Grand Arcade has made the 80s built Galleries shopping centre semi derelict.

 

Similarly, in St Helens, the area around the rear of the tech college is full of run down shops and is dead on a saturday afternoon.

 

Only today, we visited Wrexham, that has a new shopping centre, Eagles Meadows. This is isolated from the traditional town centre, joined by a footbridge, a little like our Cockhedge.It was obvious thjat this has drawn shoppers away from the old town centre.

 

Bridge street is only yards from Golden Square, so we must ask "what does Golden Square not have"? Entertainment, restaurants and small specialist shops. We desperately need a cinema to attract families during the day and  teenagers/adults at night.

 

The old traditional style markets are dying out. I would suggest that the new market concentrates less on clothing and more on what it does best, such as food, fruit/veg, specialist shops (books, records, cheap toiletries, cards, sweets, clothiong repairs etc).

 

There is also a case for refusing to let small and medium size reatailers have outlets in the suberbs if the they don't have one in the town centre, I'm thinking of Early Learning and Mothercare for example. They should be in golden Square.

 

I see this week that our population is now 202,000, yet the facilities do not match this. Thousands of people must travel out of town, myself included, for a decent night at the cinema. It's about time we attracted people here. Even Widnes and St Helens have town centre cinemas.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Apparently, according to the Guardian website , WBC have signed a contract with a company called Muse to re develope Bridge St. with more shops ,cafes & leisure amenities ,while they have signed up with Langtree to develope & re vitalise Bridge Foot & its approach roads.

 

Let's hope there are enough shops to go round before they all turn into e businesses ! 

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I have no idea who owns Golden Square but talking to the manager of one of the shops there last week he was saying more or less what you are saying in that the owners of the Square had bought Boots in Bridge Street to try and force Primark, who wanted to purchase or rent the Boots store, to purchase units in the Square,  so they probably won't be bullied and will probably go elsewhere.

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Googling, it seems that there is more than 1 owner.

 

"NewRiver Retail are delighted to announce today that we have completed the acquisition of two large retail units in the Golden Square Shopping Centre in Warrington, Cheshire, in a move that brings value retailer Primark into the Company’s portfolio.

 

In an innovative transaction NewRiver acquired the long leasehold interest of the New Look store for a total consideration of £3.47 million from Standard Life and simultaneously acquired a long leasehold interest for nil consideration in the adjacent vacant retail unit from Warrington Retail Partnership Limited (“WRPL”), a joint venture between Warrington Council, Lend Lease and Legal & General, owners of the Centre."

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I have no idea who owns Golden Square but talking to the manager of one of the shops there last week he was saying more or less what you are saying in that the owners of the Square had bought Boots in Bridge Street to try and force Primark, who wanted to purchase or rent the Boots store, to purchase units in the Square,  so they probably won't be bullied and will probably go elsewhere.

 

Seems Primark didn't think they were being bullied Algy as they have agreed to a 25-year lease (in the Golden Square) at whopping £475,000 pa.  I suppose to them it's probably not much though :unsure:

 

As for the owners of GS maybe buying up some of the empty shops on Bridge Street well I can't decided if that is a good thing or not long term.   For some reason I though the council owned a lot of them   :oops:  

 

I wonder if the Foden Group has bought any too over the years and are just sitting on them waiting for the right time to sell  ? 

 

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Seems Primark didn't think they were being bullied Algy as they have agreed to a 25-year lease (in the Golden Square) at whopping £475,000 pa.  I suppose to them it's probably not much though :unsure:

 

As for the owners of GS maybe buying up some of the empty shops on Bridge Street well I can't decided if that is a good thing or not long term.   For some reason I though the council owned a lot of them   :oops:  

 

I wonder if the Foden Group has bought any too over the years and are just sitting on them waiting for the right time to sell  ? 

 

Looks like Golden Square management made a shrewd move then!

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