Bitter sweet

photoThis familiar site is no more. Thorntons has quite the Oracle and consolidated into its Broad Street store which was formerly an outlet branch.

While it had been likely the Broad Street store would go, the brand’s 15-year lease at the Oracle came to an end and bosses decided to keep it and leave the Oracle.

Insiders say a sharp rise in rent has driven the decision and that the same happened at the recently closed Disney store.

It seems the Oracle is going to become home to yet expensive clothes, jewellery and gadget shops  and must be in danger of abandoning all hopes of diversity. Is this really what Reading wanted when the Oracle opened in 1999 to the predictable fanfare and celebration?

Only the riverside restaurants offer a change from the expensive fashions which dominate but appeal to just a fraction of the population, but that which has loose purse strings.

It might make money for owners Hammerson but is this serving the local population? Those who visit often come from afar and it’s town centre spot is in danger of becoming an exclusive venue, for just a minority well off visitors.

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About Alan Bunce

Freelance journalist Former Community Editor with the Reading Post. Former Business Editor with the Reading Chronicle.
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