The streets of Stratford upon Avon are running hot rumour. The rumour being that the first of Mister Bird’s family projects is about to close. If true, and the MAYBIRD shopping centre is set to close* and give itself over to housing, then it looks like a large number of well-known shops will find themselves without a home.
Personally, I’ve always been of the opinion that Stratford upon Avon’s so-called (at least by me) ‘first citizen’, Tony Bird was the harbinger of doom when he built the Maybird out-of-town all those years ago. He caused and his baby is still causing the slow death of the town centre. But hey, when you have the kind of influence that he has, i.e.Local boy makes Good. You more or less can do anything that you like without too much opposition.
[Just as an aside, does anyone remember the rumours when the Maybird site was being cleared that it was going to be an athletics track?]
Assuming that there is some truth behind the rumours, AND using our imagination to pretend we have a Council with brains. I think that this could be a wonderful opportunity to revive Stratford upon Avon High Street. An all out effort to take the focus off out-of-town shopping and an open-arms-welcome-back to individual shops with individual owners could be the injection of energy that S-on-A needs. Innovation and surprise and a return to the days when shopping was a voyage of discovery rather that the drudge it has become. (OK, a little over the top but you know what I mean).
Let the Maybird get on with it is what I say. Let them move so far out of town that they fall off the edge of the world. While here in Stratford town centre we can welcome individuality back. No more stack ’em high mentality of the High Street giants. It’s a long time since we were ‘a nation of shopkeepers’ and I see nothing wrong in returning to the time when retail cared (when was that then? ED). The time is right. The big names are coming to the end of their lives anyway. They’re dropping like flies. Their lack of imagination and greed starving them of footfall and therefore profit so it’s just a matter of time.
On Thursday, the next extremely thin edition of the Stratford upon Herald comes out and we shall know the truth. I can’t wait.
*Rumour has it that the shops on the Maybird will actually be relocated somewhere in the wilds of Bishopton.