How sad that once again “Disgruntled Nelsoner” has taken the trouble to write to your newspaper to give their view that “Nelson is dead”. How does that help anyone?
Everyone knows town centres are facing a difficult time everywhere, and Nelson is particularly badly affected because of lack of spending power and “footfall”, i.e. the number of shoppers and the amount of money they have to spend. To suggest the answer was to build a new shopping centre instead of the ACE Centre is nonsense – as the writer points out themselves, we already have several empty premises, including virtually the entire Victory Centre – excellent modern retail space which is only a decade old. So clearly the problem is more complicated.
Let’s try to look at the positives. The town now has modern high quality public areas and is easily accessible, with access right through the centre. There is plenty of free parking in and around the town centre. It has a number of key attractions such as the ACE Centre, Wavelengths and Inside Spa, thriving indoor and outdoor markets, and it still has a good range of shops despite all the difficulties. Pendle Council is continuing to do everything it can to support the town centre, and has given many grants to retailers to improve shop fronts and so on. We are also continuing to work with the owners of Pendle Rise to help them develop plans for a longer term redevelopment.
But the council does not have either the powers or the resources to force retailers to come to the town – they will only come if they believe it will be profitable for them. So ultimately, the only way for Nelson town centre to become thriving again is for local people to support it by shopping there more often and supporting the local traders.
Executive Director (Regeneration), Pendle Council