Sunday, August 14, 2011

2011 Streak Day 202/365 (July 21): The old High Street

2011 Streak Day 202/365 (July 21): Walk - 3.34 miles, Time - 1hr 5min, Weather - Another dull day in a remarkably dull July
I walked through the Old Town and then the Park in a slight loop to make up a little extra distance. The picture is of a bric-a-brac shop in the Old Town.
The planning of the New Town shopping centre was a little strange. It is nearly a mile south of the old High Street, separated by a municipal area of college, civic centre and library. I don’t know the thinking behind the division,  except the planners’ liking for orderly, distinct groupings. however the consequence is that the old and the new shopping areas seem further apart than their geographical distance and most shoppers stay in the newer shopping centre of the familiar chains stores, whilst relatively few people walk past the local shops in the old High Street.
The lack of footfall means the shops are small and tend to be more more specialised: hairdressers, restaurants, antiques and bric-a-brac, that sort of thing (along with the towns cycle shop). But they all struggle. The planning separation might have preserved the character of the old street but it is not quite quaint, or large enough, to become a destination in its own right. It is something the current Dacorum planners constantly struggle with, without actually doing anything that makes any difference. (Not that I can be too harsh though - I don’t have any good ideas either).
That said it is still a pretty street and I enjoy running along it and then into the park behind.

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