Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 19 November 2007

Shoptastic - or is it?

I'm now within walking distance of some shiny new DIY, pet and electrical stores. Sounds great, as long as I don't have anything too heavy to lug home. However, it got me thinking about how the face of Chippenham's shopping has changed over the past 2-3 years. We seem to have reached a demographic tipping point that's beginning to make the town look like a smaller clone of Swindon. There's now a couple of shopping sites on the town's borders replete with national chain DIY, home furnishing and electrical stores, plus the odd fast food outlet to keep the kids happy. I don't understand how a town the size of Chippenham can sustain no less than 4 DIY outlets.

I'm glad that the town's high street is continuing to bustle and look busy, but I'm worried about the growing number of coffee shops and mobile phone outlets to be found there. If we don't have a decent, wide-ranging choice of shops to attract customers, that and the recent loss of free car parking for an hour, is bound to make even more shoppers take themselves elsewhere to places such as Bath, Bristol and Swindon.

I realise that I too have a role to play in all of this and have set myself a challenge for my Christmas shopping this year:
  • No internet buying
  • Shop locally, preferably in the centre of town
  • Independent shops take preference over national chains
  • I'll walk, not drive into town

Wish me luck in my quest!

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