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 Book Shops > Atherstone Book Town Critic Censored

Atherstone Book Town Critic Censored

Atherstone resident and Book Town critic James Holdaway emailed us because his comments are being banned from the Atherstone Forum website.

Over the last year Atherstone's image has gone through some changes. Most recently by the success of its shops which are steadily attracting a growing clientele. The fact that there are four independent book outlets and various other new ventures amongst the numerous pubs, diners, hotels and shops shows that this is a place to invest.

One of the main attractions of our small town is the low ground rent to turnover ratio, given the proximity to major commercial strategic points such as Birmingham, the M6 , M5, M42 and M1. And this confidence is being shown by numerous developments in the area, which are supported by local government.

However, it could have been a very different story. In 2005 , with the support of a local councilor , the town was described in The Independent as: " Atherstone. It's a small market town (population 8,600), somewhat scruffy and drab. It's had its moments of glory ... Atherstone has declined. Discount stores and empty shops pepper the main street. There's an air of weariness about the place".

However, this should be a a message to all about the unregulated power of the local council members. In fact the public statistics show that the town has shown a consistent upturn in occupancy, wealth and employment, and the miserable times of the 80's have long disappeared.

After rubbishing the town it was declared that Mr. Hanna would be our saviour, with the Book Town concept to fill the empty town.

What a load of 4X. The Book Town concept had indeed been rolled out elsewhere and whilst it has had some success in other hands; Mr. Hanna's particular brand has a history of failure.

How can a council official unilaterally run down and then decide the fate of a town (this was not a town or borough council decision) without consultation.

I have raised this subject a number of times on the "Atherstone Forum" which is supposed to be a forum for local issues, but each time the topic has been banned.

At the end of the day the Book Town concept is not relevant here, it is the unofficial powers of local government that need to be addressed.

James Holdaway

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