Friday, April 15, 2016

Unambition Unworthy of Brunel

The objections by the owners of the Brunel Centre to the Oasis redevelopment plan (and also the plans for Cribs Causeway) smack of someone in a boat that's slowly sinking blaming everyone round them for the seaworthiness of the craft they're bobbing about in.

The Brunel don't like the Oasis plan because it will include retail space which they feel will unfairly compete with the Brunel. The Oasis plan says that retail would be related to the sports activities, so you can bet one of them, at least, will be a shop selling snowboards. Not exactly something the Brunel has cornered the market in, or ever will or would want to.

It also complains about the empty units in the town centre and the lack of demand for them. It claims this would be made worse by the Oasis plan, yet the Brunel has figured out how to deal with it's long-term empty units as it's about to turn a large number into a food court, which it seems confident of letting. Also getting in on the leisure game, the Brunel has applied to turn units that have never been let since the Brunel Arcade was refurbished in the 1990s, into a gym.

The Brunel deserve strong praise for the number of events and higher-profile branding they've committed to in the last few years, this has brought more people in and shows that when an organisations spends the time and money, they can get things right.

So why whinge and moan about the Oasis and Cribs Causeway? Take a bit of spirit from the statue you're about to turn around of the engineer and make yourself the destination. Complaining about other developments makes it seem like you've left your ambition in an empty shop unit.

Give us a Brunel that can compete and see the crowds flock in*

*That goes for you too Forward Swindon. Raise your game, and while you're at it, your website doesn't seem to have been updated since June, hardly a vibrant shop window for a vibrant town is it?

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