Monday, 21 March 2011

Snob In My Back Yard

What a reaction there has been here on the blog to the arrival of Poundland in Worcester Park - opening this Thursday in the former 'M&S Simply Food' unit next to Midas Touch.

I am quite happy to go on the record and admit that I am quite looking forward to having Poundland on our doorstep. I for one will not be rolling my eyes skywards and proclaiming  'there goes the neighbourhood'. 

After all, if having a Poundland in your High Street really does meant he area has gone to the dogs, then Worcester Park will be keeping good company with those reknowned slum settlements of Orpington, Harrow and Epsom. 

The fact that 'downmarket' Poundland is moving in to what was once an upmarket M&S Simply Food store must only serve to rub freshly-ground Atlantic sea salt into the wounds of the offended middle classes. The fact is, of course, that whilst we loved the idea of having M&S Simply Food in Worcester Park we simply didn't love shopping there enough to make it work. 

After years of the unit lying empty, it is being used again, bringing more money and employment in to the town and much-needed footfall to that end of Central Road. 

It will naturally bring uncertainty to some smaller independent traders who might see an element of competition from Poundland, but if we really do support our independent traders (with custom and not just warm words) then they will have little to fear.

Most importantly it means one fewer empty shop unit - surely a boarded up vacant unit is far greater a sign of a failing High Street than a bustling Poundland?

Finally, as we are on the subject of class, this article in yesterday's Independent On Sunday is well worth a read for David Randall's reminiscences of life and subtle snobberies as he grew up amongst the middle-classes  of Edenfield Gardens in Worcester Park. It would seem that very little has changed.