Echo comment: Why Poundland should be welcomed with open arms
WE pose a question on today's front page.
And it is crucial for Cheltenham, as changes continue apace, that the answer is the right one and that it becomes a shopping destination valued by all.
Rather than having a shopping centre dominated by either top-brand high prices or pound and charity shops, it is the right mix that is crucially needed
It has to be welcome news in the current economic climate if any major retailer sees fit to expand.
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For Poundland to be doing so well in Cheltenham that it is able to add the floor space of the former Peacocks store to its sizeable current shop in High Street will be seen by some as a sorry state of affairs.
But it is not. Poundland will suit the pockets of some who are not able to shop elsewhere regularly but it will also be used by a cross-section of the community. Is there anybody out there who doesn't want the odd bargain these days?
Poundland has also made the decision to expand in so-called affluent areas. It is clearly doing so because it works for the brand.
There may also be concerns that the proposed new Brewery development will not be helped by a "super Poundland" facing the proposed site. It is surely better than it facing out on to empty, boarded-up premises.
What does not work is when part of a town becomes the home of only one type of store. Everywhere needs charity shops, but a whole street of them will quickly damage any retail centre.
As the Cheltenham Development Taskforce and shopping centre managers work to ensure that the town remains a key shopping destination, it is the mix that is crucial.
It won't help to sneer upwards at some shops or look down on others.
EVEN if you haven't got £935,000 to spare, it is still nice to imagine just what it would be like to live in Dr Edward Wilson's former home.
It was here that he developed the love of nature that was to lead to him becoming one of the explorers of his generation.
The story that we retell today of his death of his return from the South Pole never ceases to move.
But, in a life cut tragically short, he still achieved so much. And the inspiration of Cheltenham's countryside cleared played a big part.