Hope Springs Eternal

I’ve just returned from my inaugural visit to The Springs Retail/Entertainment Park at Thorpe Park, Leeds. A wondrous emporium of clothing, food and coffee provision, bequeathed to this fair metropolis by our corporate masters, innovative architects and a cosmopolitan cast of craftsman.

Men who’ve worked around the clock, missing numerous Leeds United games on TV and the ending of drama The Bodyguard, allowing us access to goods our forefathers could only have dreamed of owning. Things like M&S’s Pigs in Blanket flavoured crisps, a candle that’s not made from ear wax, and a pack of socks it’s impossible to lose in washing machines.

As the crow flies this retail park is situated around a mile or so from my humble abode…… That’s unless the avian becomes disorientated, causing it to travel via Sheffield, in which case the outlet would be around 50 miles as the crow flies.

As the noose tightens further on high street traders, even the older retail parks, like my local out of town outlet at Colton, aren’t safe from these contemporary state of the art shopping and leisure utopias. Some of the bigger retail names within my local park already jumping ship to take up The Springs’ offer of larger units, significantly more parking and easier customer access.

This desertion unsettling some local people, leading to a plethora of rumours as to the fate of Colton Retail Park (CRP). As I made up many of them, I know several to be outright lies. Porkies that are more fabricated than some of the new buildings constructed 50 miles from my home, as the disorientated crow flies.

Consequently, if anyone tells you CRP is to become a lion park, house a new stadium for Leeds United football club, or provide a surveillance building (akin to RAF Fylingdales) to be utilised by a nosy neighbour of mine, I’d take it with a very large pinch of salt.


To be honest, even though I genuinely hope The Springs doesn’t decimate CRP, I’m fairly pragmatic about this development in the local economy’s evolution. Deeming I’ve far bigger fish to fry, I’ve let ongoing speculation into how my immediate landscape may alter wash over me. Something I wish my clothing had done during yesterday’s  incessant rain – Anecdotes I refer to in greater detail in my article Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.

As Crossgates fire-eater and some-time philosopher Herman Clopp once advocated “You can’t stop progress. It answers not to traffic lights, Stop signs, nor the misguided sentimentality of Luddites or the Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) brigade…… Oh, incidentally, could you lend me a couple of quid for my bus fare home, Gary?”

Amongst the rumours I didn’t make up about CRP’s fate was it’s earmarking as a site for residential development. A confused local citing speculation that 5,000 ten story homes, along with a statue of Herman Clopp, were scheduled for construction in the current locale of the CRP units and it’s car park.

Bearing in mind the relatively small size of Colton Retail Park, I’d moot there’s not enough space for the construction of so many new residences. Additionally, I’d venture the building of ten story homes is highly unlikely. A move that, should it come to pass, would cause such sunlit deprivation in the area it’d likely result in a local rickets epidemic.

Whatever becomes of CRP, I just hope it doesn’t become a metaphorical sinking ship. Unable to attract retailers, while sitting forlornly in the shadow’s of it’s less fatigued rival outlet.

As a precautionary measure, in the unlikely event those ten story houses do get constructed close to chez Strachan, I’m concluding this narrative to go bulk buy vitamin D tablets online.

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