Sunday, January 31, 2010

Comments from Barkingside 21

“I just think Barkingside has had it!” So says a well known and much loved Barkingside High Street trader who is currently closing down his store. We wish him well in whatever venture awaits him. Where am I going to buy my fat balls now?Barkingside Home Hardware, Barnes Carpets, and Tootsies the childrens shoe shop are all closing down. The pound shop that recently took over from Harmony has been closed for at least a week. The old Halifax is still vacant and the Estate Agents just along the road has been abandoned. The Chequers pub owners have given up and it is being run temporarily by the Brewery pending a new landlord. Clinton Cards have a massive sale – is that normal? Or are they on the way out too? The advertising hoardings attached to our lampposts have been blank for months. We do though have a new Asian jewellers.So, what better time to remind everybody that on Monday week, 1st February at 7pm in the Aldborough Room, Fullwell Cross Library, there will be consultation meeting on Barkingside Town Centre’s future.Chaired by B21 this meeting will have on the panel Keith Prince, Leader of the Council, Mark Lucas and Matthew Maple [Planning Officers] and representatives from the consultants who have conducted a feasibility study. See the flyer here. 4,000 being delivered this weekend in this area.Note: I nicked the post title from Flesh is Grass, but she used it for a much happier purpose.

Barkingside Home Hardware

I returned from working away for a week yesterday to read in the Ilford Recorder that more local shops were having to cease trading including Barkingside Home Hardware. I was a regular customer at this shop and whilst not often a big spender, I enjoyed the polite, friendly and knowledgable service that I received and was always impressed by the wide and diverse range of goods stocked at very competitive prices. This morning (Sat 30th Jan) I’d hoped to pay one last visit to the store and wish the staff and owners well but was sad to see that I’d missed the opportunity to do so. I think its terrible that more is not being done to support local traders; especially those that have served this community well for many years if not decades. I have lived in this area most of my life (more than 40 years) and Barkingside is now in danger of suffering the same demise that the once flourishing Gants Hill did several years ago. Why is this being allowed to happen? At a time when much of my hard earned wages are being used to prop up failing banks that won’t even extend my overdraft facilities and rip me off at every opportunity, why isn’t more being done to help small businesses survive these harsh economic times? Yes I know the growth of the internet and superstores havn’t helped and I have used both and its easy to be seduced by them; but lately I have preferred to walk to local shops as much as possible. My car stays on the driveway so I am not burning expensive fuel which in turn is better for the environment. Also I can only purchase what I can carry so tend not to be encouraged by impulse buys which means I spend less! To the personnel of Barkingside Home Hardware; I wish you and your familes all well and hope that you can see better times. I thank you for your many years of service and will miss you. Dominic Malvern (Barkingside Resident)