Scathing view of a child about town centre

COUNCIL bosses have blamed rain for the drop in shoppers visiting Northampton town centre. To which Councillor David Palethorpe has retorted: “Balderdash”. It’s a remark with which I agree. I could not put the real reason better than the unprompted words of my nine year old grandson who said “It’s a dump. It’s dirty, uninteresting and not a patch on other places mum and dad have taken me.”

Northampton is one of the biggest towns in the country yet its facilities belie that status. Towns much smaller than ours have far more to offer. Some years ago attempts were made to portray Northampton as ”a place that doesn’t sleep.” The main result of that has been an increase in drunkenness and disorderly behaviour.

In these circumstances the plan to restrict the sale of alcohol between midnight and 6am in some parts of Northampton seems reasonable. Most sensible people will be tucked up in bed between those hours rather than knocking back the hard stuff in some bar.

The freedom to buy booze at any time of the day is not the way to encourage people to come to Northampton or at least the type of person the town would welcome. The only way to do that is attract more big household names in the retail world which would not only bring visitors to the town but discourage residents from going elsewhere for their needs.

It’s a challenge so the council must do everything in its power to achieve it,starting with a thorough spring clean.


SIR Charles Isham, the 12the baronet, of Lamport Hall,would be absolutely delighted if he were alive today. It was he who introduced, from Germany, the first garden gnomes to this country, around 170 years ago. He provided them with mining tools and placed them in an alpine garden. His daughters despised them, a view still shared by a legion of gardeners today, and got rid of them but one, named Lampey, escaped their attentions and the story is that it survives today.

But Sir Charles has had the last laugh. The other day these ornaments received the ultimate accolade in the gardening world – their presence in displays is now accepted at the Chelsea Flower Show. An honour indeed. But I suspect that not even this will change the minds of those diehard toilers of the soil who form the anti-gnome brigade.