A fortnight ago, this paper’s front page was dominated by negative coverage of Aylesbury town centre, with particular focus on Hale Leys shopping centre.
I don’t go in for ‘tit for tat’ politics, so I simply want to present some facts and to celebrate the many improvements and investments in Aylesbury.
Firstly, footfall is above the national average - August saw a national decrease of 2.3%, while Hale Leys alone saw an increase of 1.8% and annually, the shopping centre welcomes four million shoppers.
When it comes to empty units, Aylesbury is well below the national average. The town centre has plenty to offer.
There’s a great vibe with the revamped market and the various fun events, which are put on by the Town Centre Partnership; there’s consumer choice including independents, as well as high street chain stores.
We’ve seen fantastic developments in recent years, including the theatre, Waitrose and Travelodge.
In the last year alone, UCAV, Warren James, The Entertainer, Pandora, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and the Works are among those who’ve opened.
These companies clearly believe in our town.
The same can be said of the retailer Next, which is maintaining its commitment by moving to a bigger unit in Friars Square.
Coupled with this is Waterside North– the next phase of the town centre redevelopment, near Exchange Street, which will start next year and include restaurants, a beautiful public square and apartments.
Investment is happening in Aylesbury, during a time which is tough for towns nationwide, and there’s demand to justify it.
It’s not just about the shopping and eating though, there’s plenty of culture too, including the theatre and museum.
Aylesbury’s fantastic attractions and developments are part of a journey of improving our town and there’s more in the pipeline for the future too.