Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough town centres – what you think

Willow Place in Corby
Willow Place in Corby

Last month we asked you to tell us what you thought about your town centres – the good, the bad and the ugly.

And here are the results. You responded in your hundreds so thank you to everyone who took the time to do so.

Some striking themes arose from the survey, not least the fact that more than half of you use your local town centre at least once a week.

Equally notable was the statistic that a quarter of the respondents don’t shop online regularly – 25 per cent do so less than once a month, if at all.

This is somewhat at odds with prevailing wisdom, which says our high streets are dying and everyone shops online.

Equally, moves to create more of a leisure and living experience in our town centres, instead of a retail one, perhaps don’t tally with how we currently use them.

Out of all the reasons for coming to town, more people did so for banking than anything else despite all the branch closures over recent years.

And leisure and eating out were the two lowest-ranked reasons for making a trip into the town centre – the very areas on which councils and developers are pinning their hopes for the future of town centres.

When town centre declines are discussed, one of the fingers of blame is always pointed at out-of-town retail parks.

And it’s hard to ignore the pull of Rushden Lakes based on our survey.

Almost 60 per cent of you sya you regularly visit the new retail and leisure scheme, which opened just over a year ago.

It’s by far your favourite retail park, ahead of Highcross in Leicester and the centre: MK.

What is more difficult to assess is whether Rushden Lakes is taking shoppers away from those places, from our town centres or from both.

There’s good news for independent stores and cafes, with three quarters of you saying you use them for a number of reasons – personal service, quality of produce and variety among them.

What is clear from the survey is the desire among our readers for our town centres to be improved.

There is obviously a lot of affection for the historic hearts of where we live, and plenty of ideas as to how they can be reinvigorated. People haven’t given up on their high streets – we now need to make sure those in authority listen to what you have said and don’t give up either.

Here are some of your comments:

CORBY

The old part is looking run down – more clothing shops, drinking places bars/clubs needed – more independent clothing shops – George Street and Corporation Street need updating and modernising – no book shop, too few coffee shops, no department store like John Lewis

The theatre / cinema / restaurant area - it’s nice having everything in once place – refurbish the outside of the flats above the shops and demolish the old building opposite Nandos – Corby is good for activities, however they are all spread out – there’s a choice of where to eat

Renovate Corporation Street / establish something in the old Co-op as it is now an eyesore – fill the shops, tie both sides of the centre together and modernise old facades – not enough security. People on bikes in town should be fined for riding their bikes – need more kids clothing shops

My masterplan would be to see what shops people want, not vape shops or money shops – modernise the old section of the town. It looks so 60s – turn the older part of the town into more of a centre for bars and restaurants – we need free parking and visible security personnel

KETTERING

No more food stores needed - let Corby Council take over – stop car parking charges – sadly all town centres are slowly dying! Open pedestrian parts to road traffic? It could help if managed well – the heart and soul were ripped out of it by the planners many years ago – smarten the place up!

Poor range of shops, one way system is terrible – introduce shops that people want to use rather than the tranche of charity shops that now fill our town centres – make it prettier and put better shops there – enlarge the shopping mall or create another one in the London Road car park area

More high street brands and less parking fees – dirty, no decent shops, expensive parking – far too many coffee shops, mobile phone shops, nail and tattoo parlours and betting shops – there are some good places to eat now – bulldoze everything and start again – get rid of the town centre clock!

WELLINGBOROUGH

Not enough shops – lower rent prices so more shops can open in the centre then they will be more likely to stay – too many charity shops. Not enough ladies clothes shops – get more litter pickers twice a day in all parks, and create every shop so they’re accessible to all – best thing is the Castle theatre

Knock down the Swansgate and bring back street shopping – we need a Primark for more options for 
children’s clothes – bring back the zoo – rejuvenate the market as it should be - it is a market town – change empty shops into housing – bring people back to living in the town

I’ve lived in and around Wellingborough all my life and it’s lost its charm. It used to be a lovely market town but stupid modernisation has spoiled it. What happened to our fantastic open market – it’s compact. Everything is within walking distance – litter and empty shops in every street