How many stores do we really need?

PUBLISHED: 08:53 05 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:24 24 May 2010

The Italian Gardens -  tranquil oasis or a site ready for redevelopment? The Sovereign Shopping Centre can be seen in the background.

The Italian Gardens - tranquil oasis or a site ready for redevelopment? The Sovereign Shopping Centre can be seen in the background.

DURING the last two weeks I have read various articles in the local press with a feeling of acute dismay and a sense of mild panic regarding the consideration of bulldozing the beautiful and unique Italian Gardens in favour of the Sovereign Shopping Centr

DURING the last two weeks I have read various articles in the local press with a feeling of acute dismay and a sense of mild panic regarding the consideration of bulldozing the beautiful and unique Italian Gardens in favour of the Sovereign Shopping Centre manager's proposal for a major department store.Some people may feel that as I only moved eight weeks ago I should not voice my opinion and I respect their feelings, as I hope mine will be.My decision to move here began 13 months ago when, because of the years of voluntary work I had performed for my community, a friend and I were offered an all expenses paid holiday to Weston. My friend - we are both senior citizens - could only vaguely remember a childhood visit; I had never heard of it. Every day we walked to and from the beach and shopping area. Before the end of the week I was truly enchanted with the place.In June, July and August I took advantage of three day trips to Weston and each time I was a little sadder to be returning to what then had been my home town of some 25-30 years.My first port of call was always to the Italian Gardens where it was wonderful to see people from all walks of life relaxing and enjoying life in the brilliant sunshine and landscaped surroundings. Young mothers with babes in pushchairs, some with toddlers happily playing, students revising in a relaxed atmosphere, senior citizens passing the time of day etc.Second call was always to the Sovereign Shopping Centre for a much needed coffee and lunch, followed by a quick browse round the shops and an afternoon along the seafront talking to many of the locals and, of course, daytrippers like myself, and holiday makers. Many told me they come here several times a year.I never dreamt I would realise my dream and buy an apartment with balcony seven minutes' stroll from the shopping area and 10 minutes from the seafront in less than a year.The shops and stores that Weston already had cater for absolutely everyone across the whole of the social scale in such a way I have never experienced before.God has given us trees, flowers, plants, and the sounds of nature to enjoy. Man has invented sheets of glass, blocks of concrete, pollution, and financial greed. Just how many stores do we really need?So come on people of Weston, whether you agree or disagree, be you eight or 98, put pen to paper and make your views known.MS G FLETCHER - Baker Street, Weston

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