CROYDON COMMENTARY: With Debenhams the latest Centrale department store battling for survival, reader LEWIS WHITE offers his views on the blight that is the modern, online retail experience
Hindsight says that it’s a pity that Centrale was ever built. Whitgift was probably enough shopping for Croydon town centre.
If Centrale is to stay, with its Debenham store, in the new reality of reduced real-life shopping, then the floor plan of the new Whitgift-Westfield will need to be one-third to one-half residential, to get the town centre’s shopping area down to a more sustainable level.
I do hope that the new Whitgift-Westfield project will feature at least a couple of the sunny open spaces with happy shoppers that featured in the artist’s impressions of the scheme offered at the time when planning permission was being sought. Or were they made public on April Fool’s Day a few years ago? So often in planning, the promised features that get the public support are quietly ditched later on, a cynical and unacceptable charade.
Let’s hope that Debenhams Croydon manage to live on, but to do so, they will also need to cater for the fatter and taller people of today. I gave up buying clothes in all department stores some decades ago, as virtually nothing they sell “off the peg” fits me.
Thankfully there are a few very good Croydon shops that cater for the likes of me, although sadly, one has moved to a boring industrial unit in Sutton as much of its trade is now “on t’internet”. Sad, I loved to pop in and chat and buy when it was in Croydon town centre.
This modern way of internet shopping might mean lower prices, and might be more convenient, but it’s soooooo dull. One has to ask one’s self— at the end of the day, is life really about sitting on your own indoors all day on the computer?
No – so let’s all get out , on the bus, train, bike or car, or on foot, and get into Croydon and go down Surrey Street or into a real shop. It’s called “Life”!
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