We have three secondary shopping centres in tis constituency: Plymstock Broadway, Plympton Ridgeway and Ivybridge town centre (including Glanville’s Mill). At various times during my 26 years their fortunes have ebbed and flowed.
Given the hammering that the high street has taken generally due to out of town malls and the rise and rise of internet shopping, it is a wonder that they still exist. But they do and if we want them to continue we had better support them as best we can.
Ridgeway appears to have received an unexpected boost from the giant Wetherspoons opening in the centre of the street. It is always busy and seems to have brought a younger clientele to the area, which benefits all other shops too. Free parking is essential in keeping this centre alive. My instincts are that the Ridgeway is doing well currently.
Ivybridge faces the challenge of many commuter towns – people live there and shop elsewhere, perhaps popping into Tesco on the way home from work. However, the town council and business chamber continue to battle. Hopefully, the footfall generated by the forthcoming development of Stowford Mill – together with a more relaxed planning approach to Glanville’s Mill - will bear fruit. It is a town that deserves to succeed.
I recently met with the corporate owners of Plymstock Broadway. They are keen to give this longstanding centre a boost and in particular to be more flexible with terms granted to tenants. They know that in a centre like this there will be a mixture of national and local businesses, and they are keen to attract and retain the local entrepreneur. This means being more bespoke and flexible in the packages they put together. This has not always been the case and is to be welcomed.
Hopefully the old C0-0P unit will soon be a Wetherspoons pub. This along with the excellent Costa and a new approach by the landlords will give this much needed retail area a boost in terms of footfall and energy, benefitting all of the businesses that now operate there.
The car park could do with some work. This is still owned by the Council and understandably they have been reluctant to spend money on it. However, the centre would greatly benefit from a spruced-up car park with clearer directions and more hands-on management. If the Council cannot deliver this I suggest they transfer it to the shopping centre owners who most certainly will.
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