Shoppers desert town centre car park & shops(January 23, 2009)
FRIDAY has lost its magic for shoppers as Warminster faces the recession, loss of shops, less than half the usual market stalls, and an empty look to the town centre increasingly poor commercial shape.
The street scene leaves locals increasingly shaking their heads. The Christmas lights have been taken down to be replaced by an ever increasing number of 'for sale' or 'for let' boards in their place.
"It is so depressing," said a resident from East End Avenue pointing at the empty former Bath Travel shop.
"We are just going to end up with charity shops because they are the only ones who seem to be able to make it at the moment. Even the WI market was noticeably quieter."
In the central car park (area B) only half the area was needed for market traders and in the area (A) which allows two hour free parking to encourage trade there were plenty of spaces at 10am.
"I have never been able to park so easily," said the driver of a people carrier who had come in from Chapmanslade. "I usually have to drive round in circles trying to find a spot."
"How will we ever get things right again? I hope Copheap is a bit better this time when I go back."
An Alcock Crest pensioner who has lived in the town all of his life was shaking his head in disappointment.
He asked a market trader if it was the cost of renting a pitch that had left him with just six stalls to looks round.
"I cannot remember it being this poor," he asked. "Is it the money that you have to pay to be here?"
"It doesn't help," the stall holder replied. "I've been on the markets for 40 years."
"The trouble here is that we only get our loyal pensioners browsing and those on benefits."
In the Market Place there appeared to be just three workers working on widening the pavements outside the Bath Arms.
There were less than a dozen passers-by to admire their work and very little through traffic.
"It is all very well widening the pavements but by the time it is completed there will be a lot less than half the number of pedestrians to use it," added a bank customer.
The previous Friday after the market had long departed and the car park cleaned up and re-opened there were no cars using it at 2.45pm. (pictured)
Mid-morning on the same day in the western car park less than half the spaces available had attracted motorists who have to pay to park.
The Morrisons car park in contrast was full.