Dunstable Town Council start a shop front accreditation scheme to improve the appearance of the town which could attract even more new businesses.
I have posted many articles pointing out the how Dunstable as a town is improving with companies moving into the town such as Amazon and others such as Signature Flatbreads expanding and bringing more workers who will then use the town centre. These new workers and families all require housing and planned new housing developments like the one proposed on the large empty site next to the BP garage and empty offices being brought back into use as residential will provide some of this.
As I drive into Dunstable each morning along the Luton Road and under the Busway bridge into Church Street I’m impressed by the new Priory View development on the right which is close to completion. This is quite an impressive sight and with the Stokers Close development on the opposite side the approach into Dunstable is quite promising, however as you continue towards the town centre you are greeted by a mix of buildings some of which are impressive but others that are very tired and run down. These are not an appealing sight when trying to attract more businesses to the town.
On the right after the Priory View development is the Dunstable Ladies Lodge Almshouses an impressive building which is set back from the road and probably missed by many driving past.
On the opposite side is the old Black Cat Café and associated accommodation buildings. These are looking quite tired now and in the windows of one of the building are large advertisements for another letting agent long since closed down. I think the adverts show that ‘cheap’ doesn’t always work!
As you continue you reach the grounds surrounding the Priory Church. The church is fully visible this time of the year when the trees have no leaves. Unfortunately on the opposite side is the burnt out ruin of the Norman King pub. Not a pretty sight especially as it is right next door to The Palace Lodge Hotel.
As you approach the main junction you then have a mix of mostly modernish buildings on the right such as Priory Heights and The Quadrant shopping Centre. Priory heights is what it is and provides accommodation for many people. We can see small improvements taking place in The Quadrant from our shop, but nothing that most people would notice.
The old Winston Churchill pub between these buildings now looks much better in its reincarnation as an Indian Restaurant but work stopped again about 5 months ago so it is still to be completed.
The Poundland store is not helping with its large £1 displays in the windows. Good maybe for Poundland, but not an attractive display from the road. At least the old Burger King shop unit has been tidied up externally it’s just a pity that the owners of The Quadrant didn’t continue to paint the rest of the white render facing Church Street.
On the opposite side where our shop is there are a number of smaller shops all occupied apart from the old Double Coffee / Broadway Wine bar which is soon to reopen as a café.
If we want to continue to attract businesses to the town we need to smarten up the existing buildings and approaches. The Town Council is starting to tackle this by starting a shop front accreditation scheme to encourage owners to keep their shop fronts in good repair and clean. All business should be encouraged to be part of the scheme and take pride in the appearance of their shop from the outside. More information can be found at http://www.dunstable.gov.uk/shop-front-accreditation-scheme.htm#sthash.9xbtcgj3.dpbs
Daniel Bourke is the owner of Belvoir Lettings Dunstable and in his previous career in Architecture he was an Associate in a leading London Architectural practice