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Contributed by Philip Crush
Supermarkets are convenient.

They offer easy parking, useful trolleys, a wide range of products, competitive prices, special offers and open at times that suit our busy lifestyles.

BUT convenience costs.

In the days before the growth of supermarkets every town centre was full of small local traders serving their local communities. High Streets were bustling with life and each had its own character.

What a contrast to today !

Travelling the country we see empty shops, charity shops, banks and building societies, pubs and coffee outlets. Many shops that are still trading display the gaudy corporate livery of massive chains. At street level most towns look the same.

Fortunately if you lift your gaze you will see a glimpse of Newcastle’s former character and individuality. We have some very attractive buildings (if you can ignore their hideous “modern” shop fronts).

We must find a way of breathing new life into our town centre. We need to promote Newcastle’s individual character and encourage the establishment and development of specialist shops and workshops providing goods and services not available in the large chain stores and supermarkets.

I want the best of both worlds –

Convenient supermarkets AND a thriving town centre.