Letter: Kettering's demise began in the 1950s

Neglected towns like Kettering, with low cost housing and under supervised open spaces, become an attractive environment for those with a drug addiction and and alcoholics; but it is not the police that residents should blame (your report October 4, 2018.)

Saturday, 20th October 2018, 9:00 am
Birdseye View: Kettering: Views of Kettering from the spire of Ss Peter and Paul, Market Place Kettering Market Place and High St Monday June 5th 2017 NNL-170506-205151009

The deterioration of Kettering started in the 1950s with the demolition of the old grammar school, vigorously opposed at that time by J.L.Carr and Leo Corvesor, but ignored by the town council, who approved the shopping arcade which has now become a white elephant in Gold Street.

The next error also made by the town council was the moving of the buses to Newland Street and abandoning the Market Square.

This was followed by the ridiculous one way traffic scheme which has the effect of discouraging people to enter what was previously the centre of the town.

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It is not surprising therefore that M&S have decided to close their store.

All this was watched by the local residents who failed to protest to these changes.

Hastings, on the south coast, had a similar problem with addicts but by obtaining a grant for a new art gallery and by encouraging shop owners in the old town they have transformed Hastings into a place worth visiting.

Where I live, near Wallingford, which has similar challenges of low employment, we have a thriving weekly market, a theatre run by volunteers, a museum run by volunteers, a local bus service and a library, with daily newspapers, which is staffed by local residents.

It is not enough to close your garden gates and hope the problems will go away.

I note there are many meetings in the Manor House Museum, etc but these are all private functions not affecting the overall quality of the town.

What is required is greater involvement by the residents in local politics.

Tell your Cllr Dearing that providing benches and small trees will not solve the problem.

The city of Oxford tried this but it only gave the addicts the opportunity to sit together and drink their strong beer. Ask Cllr David Bishop and Paul Thomas – the programme manager for Kettering town centre – what happened to their plans for a new future.

Unfortunately the solution is almost lost.

It is unlikely that Northamptonshire Council will supply funds to help, therefore it is left for local residents to take the initiative.

Remember, if you don’t look after your pot you can’t make good jam.

Professor Alan Brookes (by email)