Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Persistence pays dividends

THE decaying frontage of Woolworth’s old shop has been a blight on the shopping centre of Seaton for too long.

Woolworth pulled out of this prime trading site before the recession started to bite so there’s been little hope of finding a new tenant for such big premises. Business rates alone are said to be £25,000.

With the appointment of local agents (Richardson Gill) there is renewed hope that a new tenant may be found, especially as the landlord has agreed to free rent providing the business rates are covered.

That they have taken this unusual action is very much down to the efforts of John and Rita Buckley, comparative newcomers to Seaton who recognised the town was looking a bit tired and decided to do something about it.

Showing great persistence, Mr and Mrs Buckley set about trying to get the High Street conglomerates to improve their premises. Lloyds Bank and Boots redecorated their buildings, encouraging other independent traders to do the same. 

And their sheer determination has spawned a refreshing community action which tomorrow (Wednesday) will see a group of volunteers turning up outside the unkempt frontage of the former Woolworths building armed with buckets and mops, brushes and paint, to give the eyesore a makeover it needs so desperately.

East Devon District Council are also doing their bit by power washing the front of the building.

There are those, of course, who believe that landlords should be forced to keep their premises in pristine condition. In an ideal world that would be the case and it would seem that most small towns suffer greatly through the neglect of premises once they stop trading.

With all other efforts to smarten up Marine Place having failed, at least the people of Seaton, led by the indefatigable John and Rita Buckley, are trying to do something about it.
I applaud them.
  • On Saturday I went to Whitford Show, 48 years after I first covered the village’s annual flower show. That was on World Cup Day 1966 and they installed a black and white television in the village hall. Whitford Show is still going strong, a microcosm of traditional Devon Life at its most charming.  Long may it continue.

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