In 2012, a controversial decision was taken to demolish the town’s 40 year old Arndale Centre. It had become an eyesore frequented by drug users, vandals and underage drinkers. With no clear vision of how to redevelop the land, the council created an area of grass, tarmac, paving and a trio of silver birch trees miraculously missed by the demolition team!
Civic Pride were asked to take on the licence for its maintenance. As an apolitical organisation, we simply applied our Just Do It philosophy, without any involvement in the controversy. Grants were won, plants, boxes and materials were ordered and volunteers assembled from various organisations, including our own.
Our view was that it should be the hub of the town, an area where people could linger, smell the flowers and relax after their retail therapy on Bank Street! Additionally, it could be used as a functional area for events like the farmer’s market and provide shelter for birds and nectar for insects.
With the new bus station in place, a large part of the square has disappeared and the council currently have no firm plans for the redevelopment of the remainder. We are therefore doing our best to keep it tidy but there’s precious little more we can do until its future is finally decided!