We made a huge fuss when Ladbrokes threatened to spoil our Town's unique shopping status. So it's with great sadness that I notice that Boots are arriving, albeit by stealth, on Crown St.
And if the ridiculous Garden Street development were to go ahead, who would be the only retailers likely to be able to afford DF's rents?
So has Ladbrokes spoiled our town then do you think?
And, in what way are Boots arriving by stealth?
Posted by Anne Handley
The situation with the Crown St. chemist is very different from that of Ladbrokes! Both pharmacies in Hebden Bridge have been part of a chain for quite a few years – Moss, then Alliance - as are most pharmacies, even in small towns. The shops haven't been bought by Boots or taken over. Last year, Alliance and Boots merged and Boots being the more recognisable name, that's what the merged company is known as. The shop will have a refit and look more like a mini Boots. It will carry on being staffed by local people and carry on providing health care for the local community.
Posted by Rev Tony Buglass
Nobody so far in this correspondence has mentioned the Co-op. So is there a difference between ideologically sound and ideologically unsound chain stores? What about the banks? Do those who wish to keep Hebden Bridge the way they envision it manage to keep themselves unsullied by any taint of "chain-store-ness"?
A touch more realism, please. All economic life is interlinked, and its roots go down into some of the murkier depths of capitalism, where there is no such thing as clean or dirty money, but it's all a bit messy. As far as Ladbrokes are concerned, those of us who objected did so for various reasons; the chain-store bit was only one. I still fail to se how Ladbrokes brings any real benefit to the community, while both Co-op and Boots do. It doesn't appear to me to be the beginning of a take-over.
Posted by Jason Elliott
The issue to me isn't whose name is above the store, but whether they are part of the community.
The Co-op at least puts plenty of money back into the community by on the one hand giving grants to local projects and, on the other, operating its long running dividend scheme where a proportion of each consumers spend is returned to them.
Contrast this with Ladbrokes who operate in a parasitic manner, preying on the more easily tempted members of society, generally those who can least afford to lose. It's not as if Hebden didn't already have a bookies. It does, but tucked away in a sidestreet rather than covered in red signs right in the centre of town like an angry boil waiting to be lanced.
Hebden Bridge is famous across the country for being full of independent shops and, as this is one of the "unique selling points", surely local legislation could be created to keep it this way and to prevent the creeping "cloning" by PLCs of our town?
The trouble with the Co-Op - much though I support it's philosophy - is that it's not very good and, as such, will leave itself and the town open to other more competitive brands.
Posted by Jason Elliott
I agree that the Co-op isn't that brilliant, in fact it can be incredibly frustrating when, for example, they don't have fairtrade demerera sugar for a month or more.
However, in the last few months they have started having members meetings (open to anyone with a dividend/members card) where you can go and moan about the things that bug you about them.
This information is actually acted upon, much to my great shock, so, if you want to change something about them you can.
Posted by Myra James
Jason is correct. We now have a Co-operative Members' Group for Hebden Royd & District and I was about to post a notice of our next meeting on HebWeb very soon. Meanwhile, be advised that it will take place on Tuesday 8 April, 7.30pm at the White Lion, Hebden Bridge, in the upstairs function room. The Co-op's Area Manager and the manager of HB Co-op will be present to answer our questions and listen to constructive suggestions. Please come along. If you haven't got around to joining the Co-op yet, you can pick up a membership form at the meeting.
Posted by Bill Smithson
I'm sorry, but no matter how many meetings they have the Co-op in Hebden still has on sale mouldy 'fresh food', limited choice, and has amazingly poor service at the tills. Never have I shopped in a worse emporium - but it's the only one we have. Therefore I shop in Todmorden. And you can park there as well, and visit a decent Library!
Posted by Peter Ford
I would just like to say as someone who has lived in Hebden Bridge for well over 35 years that I see nothing wrong with any large national chain companies coming to the town.
The major change that Hebden Bridge has seen is an influx of people who are always looking for their next campaign or issue to make a big noise about. An example of this is the carry on over Ladbrokes opening a shop in the town. The minority who make a big noise try to tell us the town would be a far worse place. The majority as usual kept quiet as they were happy or not concerned. The result the shop opened and life goes on as normal.
Posted by Ian M
Ah yes, Fair trade products! Yet another scheme by which large corporations part people from their cash under the banner of helping developing countries.
Posted by Rev Tony Buglass
Supposition on your part, Ian. Do you have any data to back it up?
Some of us have been involved in fair trade campaigns for decades. I never got into the actual figures, percentages, overheads, etc, simply being an ethical customer, but it was always possible to tell which communities had fair trade support and which didn't. It was the extra generated by fair trade that paid for clean water, schools, health centres, etc.
You can scoff and be cynical if it makes you happy, but fair trade does make a difference.
Posted by Liz W
Peter, I feel that you are overlooking a vital fact regarding the fundamental essence of our glorious town. Is this because you have lived here for so long and that you have fallen into that common trap of under-appreciating what's on your own doorstep? The truth is that Hebden Bridge, contrary to your impression, is very definitely not like other towns! That is precisely why people are flocking here, both as visitors (spending loadasa money) or 'offcumden's' moving to the town.
I have yet to overhear exclamations of delight from visitors encountering the sight of Ladbrokes along the lines of 'oh look, Ladbrokes, how very interesting, you don't see those on every High St'.
Our town is very different! Thankfully we have, until now, largely avoided the dreary trend towards corporate bland uniformity. We have interesting, independent, proper shops. We are not a cloned town. We should be proud of that and protect it from the dreary assault of high street chain-stores.
Posted by Anne Handley
Liz, I agree that our town is very different - and we should encourage that where it is to the town's advantage - but that doesn't mean that every single aspect of the town has to be very different or that every single shop has to be independent.
At the moment I can get pretty much everything I need in Hebden, but only because of the existence of certain large shops which happen to be part of a chain.
Posted by Derek Pollard