You Could Be in Chippenham!

Chippenham's making the mainstream media lately. A few weeks ago, it was featured in The Guardian's regular Lets Move To... slot* and now, this week Justin Webb mentions it prominently in his Radio Head column in the Radio Times.

He's talking about how the power of the internet is enabling people to keep in touch with their roots: in this case keeping up with the live commentary from the rugby game in Bath, the team he supports. He says:

When I grew up in Bath, BBC Radio Bristol was a fine station if you were no further away than say, Chippenham. But, my lovers, as we say in the west, Chippenham feels like a dream to me now.

My son and I - nearly 80 miles east of Chippenham - fiddled around a bit with the local radio websites and suddenly - as clear as if we were sitting in the Roman Baths - we were by the pitch.

So if you find yourself on a desert island like the couple in the cartoon, fear not. Just fiddle around with that laptop you magically have to hand and like me, you could be in Chippenham ;)

Here's hoping these prominent mentions are a good omen for the town's Portas bid...

* = though any Chippenham resident reading it would have spotted it wasn't that well researched, or something was lost in the edit. E.g. St Mary's Street is magically relocated to East Tytherton, which is quite a way out of town. But hey, a feature's a feature :)


  1. What is a Mary Portas program?

  2. Hi Petoskystone :)

    Mary Portas rose to prominence as a retail guru who's had a few TV series where she's sorted out charity shops and other retail businesses on the High Street. As a result she's been dubbed 'The Queen of Shops'.

    Our ailing town High Streets are quite an issue at the moment owing to e.g. out of town shopping, the rise and rise of the supermarkets etc., so the government asked her to look at the problem and produce a report with recommendations on what can be done.

    As a result the government has now put aside 1 million pounds for 6 'Portas Pilots', for small towns like Chippenham to bid for, to give them some much needed cash to put her recommendations into practice and to kick start the revival of the centre of town. Naturally there's plenty of towns bidding to take part and the closing date for bids is this Friday - 30th March.

    Chippenham could do with the cash, but then so could so many other places. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

  3. So many of the small, independent and interesting shops in Colchester have closed. Others have tried to open up in the spaces they leave, but never last long. Every time a shop is closing I go in and ask why- same thing each time, business rates. We have dozens of empty retail units now :(

  4. Helena - it's the same here too. It's not just Business Rates, but car parking charges have rocketed too. Our local county council doesn't seem to 'get' that their policies are helping massively to destroy our town centre.


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