Council must no longer ignore this dying street

The German Christmas market in Commercial Road
puts Cheryl Gibbs in a festive mood

CHERYL GIBBS: I’ll be blasting out non-stop Christmas music for weeks

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Cast your mind back 20 years to the hustle and bustle of Charlotte Street market.

As the traders bellowed to be heard above each other, shoppers would nip into the packed-out cafes for a cuppa in between buying their fruit and veg.

It was vibrant and full of life – until we had the announcement that the road would be cleared to make way for a glittering new shopping and leisure complex, the Northern Quarter.

Then the credit crunch struck, putting paid to those multimillion-pound plans, and no progress was made at all.

Shops around Charlotte Street were left to wither and die.

Fagins cafe was a prominent fixture in the street for two decades.

But it has become the latest victim after the owner decided to retire and shut up shop.

Although it’s going to be reopened under a different name, it’s such a shame to see a long-established business go the way of so many others in the street.

We have been promised so much by the city council and developers, but they have never delivered.

Instead the historic street is being ignored, left to die a slow, painful death.

But, if the shiny new Northern Quarter isn’t going to happen, at least do something with it to revive its fortunes.

Don’t leave it in limbo. As Councillor Stephen Morgan says, while the council is planning improvements to the rest of the city – including a £300,000 makeover for Commercial Road – something needs to be done to improve trade in Charlotte Street.

It doesn’t need to be the radical, glitzy development promised in 2003.

But don’t just ignore it and hope for the best.

Action needs to be taken, and quickly.