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Started by Arjuna on Feb 11, 2021 11:27:01 AM
Is Stockton the future of Britain?

What do you do when M&S, Debenhams and New Look are all gone? Knock down the shopping centre and replace it with a riverside oasis. Could the ‘visionary’ plan of Stockton-on-Tees spark a revolution?

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/feb/
11/is-this-the-future-for-britain-stockton-on-tees-park-high-street

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Arjuna - 11 Feb 2021 11:27:55 (#1 of 73)

If the plans go ahead, the project will see an ailing shopping arcade ripped up and replaced with a riverside park three times the size of Trafalgar Square, providing grandstand views across a bucolic scene of rowing, sailing and waterside promenading along the Tees. As retail continues to retreat, might our future high streets embrace the great outdoors?

mingmong - 11 Feb 2021 11:31:11 (#2 of 73)

Wouldn't work for every town, but shows what can be done with a bit of imagination

HerrWalrus - 11 Feb 2021 11:31:14 (#3 of 73)

Isn't there a similar proposal for the Broadmarsh site in Nottingham?

Can't see it being done to Oxford Street, unfortunately.

Arjuna - 11 Feb 2021 11:33:22 (#4 of 73)

I guess the whole point is to make towns different from each other rather than one size fits all with the same old shops.

Arjuna - 11 Feb 2021 11:35:21 (#5 of 73)

and a lot of retail outlets have abandoned centres for out of town sites, something needs to replace them and the emphasis on creating a nice place to hang out makes a lot of sense.

Jacob_Richter - 11 Feb 2021 11:36:05 (#6 of 73)

One of my daughters has just moved to Stockton-on-Tees because rent is cheaper than Durham.

That is my Stockton-on-Tees story. What's yours?

FGBFGB - 11 Feb 2021 11:43:16 (#7 of 73)

Stockton's high street, said to be the widest in Britain, is in effect an elongated market place, an enclosed urban space dating from medieval times. The proposals would destroy that sense of enclosure and hugely damage the landscape and historical landscape of the town.

TommyDGNR8 - 11 Feb 2021 11:44:41 (#8 of 73)

Similar plans on the drawing board for Huddersfield.

I was put up in the hotel the article refers to for a month when I was doing some work at Billingham about 25 years ago - it was lovely by corporate hotel standards.

That stay was my first experience of Wetherspoons, too. All based on Thomas Sheraton - what a smashing pub, I though, and fairly decent, cheap food too. Then a fight broke out. At a quarter to one in the afternoon.

RosyLovelady - 11 Feb 2021 11:45:07 (#9 of 73)

Stockton already as its own tune from The Shadows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsY1Mp0h6ks

It's the B-side of Wonderful Land, perhaps appropriately.

Arjuna - 11 Feb 2021 11:52:30 (#10 of 73)

Stockton has a river which is a huge assett, always amazes me how many towns and cities do not make the best of them

HorstVogel - 11 Feb 2021 11:56:06 (#11 of 73)

nah, #7, rubbling Castlegate into the ground and putting a park (not an empty field) would be a good thing, especially if the shopping can't be used.



The few Victorian buildings may come to light better. I visited SoT three years ago, popped in not having been there for 30 years. Leslie Browns had closed of course, apart from the a new fountain thing in the middle seemed like not much had changed - even the Globe Theatre was still standing although some construction was going in.



Stockton was my childhood shopping town in the mid 70's.

hailesaladdie - 11 Feb 2021 11:56:08 (#12 of 73)

> Stockton has a river which is a huge assett, always amazes me how many towns and cities do not make the best of them

Absolutely! I live in a town like that. You see old photos of the place, and it looks like Cambridge - slow, old river, filled with punts (careful now) and surrounded by greenery.

So, the council have naturally decided to line the banks with concrete and surround the park with high-security fencing (gates never locked).

Paisley (my birth town) is one crying out for something like this. The town centre was more or less destroyed when Braehead opened, but the core of the town is really quite attractive. Demolish the awful Piazza building, open up the buried White Cart once again, and you could create a really good town centre.

ReverendBlueJeans - 11 Feb 2021 12:04:19 (#13 of 73)

Paisley (my birth town) is one crying out for something like this. The town centre was more or less destroyed when Braehead opened, but the core of the town is really quite attractive. Demolish the awful Piazza building, open up the buried White Cart once again, and you could create a really good town centre.

Agreed. Paisley tried to reverse things by lots of town centre residential (converted mills etc) but the people just drove out to Braehead instead of shopping locally. I think Paisley has more listed buildings than anywhere else in Scotland bar Glasgow and Embra. Just needs a bit of imagination to make the most of it all.

I expect 'Is Stockton the future?' was also asked back in the 1820s what with that new-fangled railway thingy.

Arjuna - 11 Feb 2021 12:06:36 (#14 of 73)

Well I guess that still supplies them a steady source of train spotter tourists

rearranged - 11 Feb 2021 12:08:29 (#15 of 73)

The towns which seems to do best to me are the ones with no vast retal spaces, and instead have large numbers of smaller shops, allowing the independents to thrive.

Pedestrianisation can help, but only if you have a decent amount of parking close by. People might carry something bulky a couple of hundred yards, but they aren't going to do it if they then have to get on a bus.

Putting residential property in the mix helps, too. Retail only and you have a ghost town in the evening. Put in residents and you can have restaurants and bars with an extra few hours to make money, making them viable.

HouseOfLametta - 11 Feb 2021 12:08:40 (#16 of 73)

It's sort of what they did in Bristol. Castle green is on what was once a main shopping area, but was bombed out.

The weirdness comes from the various shopping centres built over old docks. You end up with three city centes. And a park.

Arjuna - 11 Feb 2021 12:13:15 (#17 of 73)

The Stockton Darlington railway was built by Quakers who were responsible for much of the investment on Teeside and many ran their businesses in distinctly ethical manner for the time. So I guess it was innovative back in the day.

I hope the new development taps into the rich history.

ChankNolen - 11 Feb 2021 12:26:43 (#18 of 73)

Wait a minute, I thought Preston was the future of Britain?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar
/06/brutal-cuts-fight-back-preston-dragons-den

Dubris - 11 Feb 2021 12:27:11 (#19 of 73)

What's the point of a town centre that's been part-demolished so it isn't a town centre any more? You just have a space with fewer reasons for people to visit what's left behind.

FleurDuMal - 11 Feb 2021 12:29:14 (#20 of 73)

Son #1 went to university in Stockton. For a short while, Durham University has a campus there. He claimed it was impossible to buy fresh fruit and veg there.

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