'If we took a bit more pride in this town it would become attractive again': Mixed views on state of Northampton retail
Most Chronicle & Echo readers' opinion of the state of retail in Northampton seems to be a far cry from the reports suggesting the town is bucked the national downward trend for 2019.
While last year saw several high-profile store closures, domestic sales and orders in the county increased and the general impression of the festive period from retailers was buoyant.
However many people on social media complained about a lack of shops, cleanliness and better options elsewhere in response.
Alex Torpy wrote on Facebook: "Northampton is a fast-growing town and needs a proper modern shopping mall, with a full range of shops and entertainment and restaurants.
"People would rather shop locally and support their town if there was more on offer and it was a nicer environment.
"Corby has improved a lot recently so no reason Northampton can’t."
Charlotte JW commented: "I was always a supporter and defender of our town centre, making an effort to visit regularly for a wander, shop and coffee.
"Over the last few years it's deteriorated so far that I no longer go. I'll pop in if absolutely necessary to Clark's to get the boys' feet measured but that is all.
"The streets are a disgrace - spitting, shouting, open dealing in the town centre.
"It's not somewhere I want to expose my children to, so I don't go. Makes me so sad, it was once so different."
Places like Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre and Milton Keynes were cited by some as places with a 'better' choice of shops and a more desirable place to go.
But others highlighted the independent traders in Northampton who make it different to other towns and retail parks.
Stu Vincent said: "It strikes me that, now that the large chains have cleared off to Rushden Lakes and MK, the chances of any returning to Northampton town centre are probably very slim.
"But there are some excellent independent, Northampton-owned businesses and I believe that these may be the key to regenerating the town centre.
"If there are empty properties, then maybe rates incentives to independent Northampton business owners to help them establish themselves in the town centre.
"I believe if people had the opportunity to support local businesses, they would do so."
However, not everybody was downbeat about what the town has to offer in terms of shopping.
Scott Watson posted: "Whilst there are certainly better places to go shopping etc, Northampton is by no means the worst place.
"Whenever I go to town, be it a weekday or weekend, it's usually quite busy. I happened to be in Kettering on Sunday, now that is a ghost town!
"Maybe, if we took a bit more pride in this town it would become attractive again."