There might be a number of things not right with Reading but my trip to Scotland last week (hence no blog post), revealed how far ahead we are from some places.
This is Motherwell, where a pedestrianised 1960s ‘town centre’ is pretty much an elongated precinct, dominated by pound shops, pawnbrokers and Primark. In between were betting shops, empty units and a few charity shops and one or two brand names like – ironically – New Look.
It was clear the moment you set foot here how the town is a struggling one.
Yet in Reading while the Oracle’s fashion shops do well, we have many of the same shops as Motherwell.
What seems to be lacking in both places is the mid range. We might have some top range places, many bottom range ones and Motherwell has an abundance of the bottom end, but there are simply no middle range shops in either.
The odd WH Smith is there along with Tesco and Sainsbury’s but as for clothes, TV, furniture and general household, both places are sadly lacking.
Given the choice I think here is better but for all our efforts to plan town centres, they are still a random mix where none I can think of really stands out.