I first knew Wellingborough, some 50 years ago, as a pleasant little market town with a good variety of individual shops besides the essential multiples like Woolworth’s and Currys.
Later, when we moved here, almost 50 years ago, the new Arndale shopping centre had two large supermarkets and a Co-op department store, plus a Saxby’s delicatessen and James Bro’s upmarket grocers.
There was also a bus stop in my street.
Today, we have only one small supermarket but lots of choice for buying mobile phones, spectacles or houses – just your everyday shop?
Sadly, today I saw that yet another of the town centre’s larger shops, QD, is closing.
Yet another dead site.
Compare that with today’s offerings!
The nearest bus to my house comes from town via Northampton Road, Queensway and Shelley Road, taking longer than it would take me to walk, were I fit.
The bone-shaking bumping over the “traffic-calming” humps was so uncomfortable I just have to drive.
Driving north from the Tesco roundabout, I may have to stop at 10 sets of traffic lights, none co-ordinated, which does the environment no favours, and the junctions are often logjammed, even at non-peak times.
The mind boggles at the effect of adding in the 3,000 cars which will accompany the Stanton Cross development!
Despite the growth in Wellingborough’s population, we have lost two secondary schools, along with their playing fields, concentrating still further the traffic problems around those that remain.
Now we have lost the decrepit former technical college and are told that it will not be replaced, so we have no further education in the town.
The fact that it had to come down is yet another example of the local authority’s short-sighted, irresponsible attitudes, throwing up the cheapest possible structure which would soon be beyond repair – as the council’s representative said of Glamis Hall; although brighter and more courageous people seem to have found a solution!
The council’s attitude to employment is also partly to blame.
It has allowed the town to be turned into a warehouse paradise, lumbering us with low-employment, low-skilled, low-wage jobs.
This results in increasing numbers of HGVs adding to our world championship pothole collection and a population whose low pay means that they absorb more in benefits than they can contribute in taxes or purchasing.
A county plan, published some years ago, concentrated on Corby and Kettering as centres of education, industry and employment, and left Wellingborough as a commuter town.
Yet the journey to Milton Keynes, where I worked, can take over an hour at peak times.
Despite the fact that I have brought this to the attention of various councillors, the foyer of the Tithe Barn has a display which verges on the mendacious, as the beautiful calligraphy boasts of local employers such as the Leyland Foundry, Saxby’s Pie factory, Chapman’s box factory, etc.
These are very difficult to find if you want a job!
Wake up Wellingborians, and shake up your councillors before it’s too late to make our town a place worth living in.