Traders need to repel invaders

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BARRY VAUGHAN, of Townsend Close, West Alvington, writes:

I was disheartened to read the letter listing the demise of Kingsbridge by Michael Carr, Gazette, December 9. This in back-up to your headline ­feature with its undercurrent of justified alarm, not forgetting a spooky glimpse into the future via News of the Weird.

Yet for all Michael’s concern, joining with hundreds of ­observant others’, there is no clue in his letter as to how to extract ourselves from such a nightmare entanglement of potent, targeted national and international business aims, way above what ordinary local folk could compete with – let alone be experienced enough to forge ahead regardless of where or who they trample on.

The big supermarket in Totnes was discovered to be taking away 10 times more per year than all the rest of the Totnes shops’ takings put together.

But wait! Going round at least six shops and asking ­independently what the actual figures were, produced 100 per cent answers of: ‘Don’t know.’ Quite unbelievable.

That there was such a ­disinterest in a truly massive derogatory statistic against the town’s healthy business outlook is positively chilling. Their town is just being used in effect as an attractive bait to ensure the greater catch.

These national chains have got the formula right, and they prosper at the expense of those who seem quite unable to even bother their heads enough to pull their awnings down to keep the shoppers dry as they windows shop, for displays help to sell; who seem more interested in protecting their scanty goods through the long hours from theft than engaging in research and investigation as to how to sell them. Standing around ­disconnected sells ­nothing.

Kingsbridge is continuing its terminal decline. The town used to have a ­thriving harbourside, was served by a railway and was ­formerly a prosperous town. It was never a true ‘market town’, nor did it have a main high street that could accommodate that concept.

Its unremitting wrong-way gradient and lack of critical access space frighten off any sensible modern business and just torment residents. The whole conurbation needs a master plan drafted by local people who have learnt from former ‘jigsaw’ mistakes and irritating make-dos.

Kingsbridge is missing out on so many exciting and ­lucrative key infrastructure projects – it is heartbreaking when one begins to list them. But most of all, a good, creative heart first needs to be cultivated to enable that stimulating zeal to fulfil our dearest dreams. How?

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