‘Astro-turf’ seats

We’ve been impressed by how well the artificial grass has lasted on the stone seats in front of the Natwest Bank and the House of Fraser in Park Street. We sat on one only a few days ago drinking our take-away coffee.

But we’ve never seen any explanation for this colourful plastic top on one of the seats. What’s its purpose? Who added it? – it must have been there for years by now. Are we just missing the obvious?

Our favourite bollard…

Our photo shows the bollard at the entrance to the service area at the top of Park Street. It’s in the wars quite frequently.

As we don’t get into the town centre as often as we used, we’re not sure exactly what happened this time. We can only assume that the bollard AND the metal railings behind it were struck some while ago, and that the bollard has since been replaced for the nth time. The railings and brickwork, we suspect, will remain damaged for considerably longer.

In the past we’ve thought that it was probably the large Argos delivery lorries that clipped the corner. But Argos is no more, of course, so we can’t blame them.

A new home for Home from Home

We were walking past the former Cutting Edge Fabrics near the top of the High Street the other day, and we saw that there were a few people inside wearing hi-vis jackets. Also, as you can see in our first photo, someone was cleaning the windows. But since then we’ve found out that the shop will be the new premises of Home from Home – the charity shop that used to be a little further up the High Street on the other side of the road. Hence our second photo today.

It looked as if the shop was being stocked when we walked by yesterday, so maybe it’ll be open quite soon.

It’s a bit of a pity that we didn’t notice that blue bollard sleeve when we took our photo. But generally we like to see them around the town. They bring a bit of life and colour into a rather quiet shoping centre.

Signs close to parking bays are vulnerable

It must have been so easy for a car backing into this parking bay to collide with the adjacent sign post. The damage was caused almost as soon as the High Street re-opened.

But what’s the solution? Relying on technology to warn the driver? Moving the sign so that it’s against the building? ‘Rubber’ posts that bounce back after they’ve been struck? Just putting up with occasional damage? There’s no easy answer. (There’s no point in blaming the driver; even the Eye can make mistakes.)

The London Road Block…

All forecasts for the redevelopment of the London Road Block should be written in pencil. (You’ll remember, the LRB is the area between Park Street and the High Street, and the London Road and Obelisk Way.)

The latest – how long will it last? – target is that “a [draft] refreshed strategy for the Town Centre to encompass the London Road Block development … [will be produced by] October 2021” This target is set out in the draft Annual Plan that the council Executive considered a little while ago.

Of course, we appreciate that an unpredictable pandemic has knocked things off course. And we guess that a predictable, albeit accelerated, shift to on-line shopping has upset proposals for a new shopping facility. (One day we might ask how much the council spent on irrelevant studies into the need for more retail space.) But after more than two decades of watching nothing happening, we get a little weary. The council has waited so long without taking action that all its previous plans have become obsolete. And how many years of effort have gone down the pan?

In spite of which, a happy Easter to all our readers!