Give Gosport shoppers an experience when they hit the high street: OPINION

Gosport High Street
Gosport High Street
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I’m delighted that Gosport’s high street is going to receive some funding from Historic England to help keep it alive. This is great news as it’s currently pretty much a charity store pedestrian wasteland with OAPs on mobility scooters drag racing the only entertainment.

That sounds miserly, but I am actually very fond of my high street and have experienced its – and the market’s decline – with great sadness. 

So what are we going to see?

I’m hoping Gosport will embrace the idea of ‘experience’ and come up with a collective theme to bring it all together, so that we can bring visitors in to the bigger picture, rather than just coming for something from the pound shop.

What that ‘theme’ might be, I’m not sure. I love, for example, what the Titchfield Festival Theatre has recently done with its frontage, taking an uninspiring factory-style building and making a Tudor-esque wonder.

A Gosport Tudor street, with animals roaming free would certainly encourage visitors.

Or perhaps a 1940s ethos, with all stores committing to move back, style-wise by 80 years, and staff dressing up to offer that authentic experience?

Or, we could have a road of history, with stores each adopting a decade and paying homage to that with the decade and music they play.

Then there’s the idea of using the central pedestrian area for a skateboard park, or massive play park with a zip line down the middle, or a zombie invasion every Saturday afternoon.

Of course, all of these are probably barmy thoughts, but the thing is, we need to recognise that people shop at experience destinations, and Gosport certainly has its work cut out to make itself one of those.

All the waterfront space which we could be harnessing needs to be used in a way which is unique and which will attract people.

Slapping up a bit of paint and hoping for the best won’t work.

It’s experience, experience, experience all the way, and unless we adopt an experience to work towards, we’ll be throwing money into the wind.

Let’s have more balance and less dinosaur on Radio 4 now, please

I am so looking forward to listening to the radio in the mornings – now that John Humphrys has gone.

I’m a Radio 4 fan; less personal chit chat and more wide-ranging subjects while I have my breakfast, make packed lunches and do the dishes works for me.

Now I won’t have to turn it down when the dinosaur-like opinions of Humphrys bellow out. Like when he berated Star Wars for being shown at the cinema – blocking out other movies.

He admitted he’d never watched one but felt angry enough to spout forth his nonsense. 

I despaired of hearing an interviewee’s opinion, so aggressive was his questioning. Sometimes it’d be good to hear an answer.

Peaky Blinders has particular political resonance in the current climate

On Sunday I treated myself to season five binge-watching of Peaky Blinders, nicely timed with an hour break before the finale.

And what a season it was – I loved the style, the drama and the storyline. Entering into politics with such resonance for what we’re experiencing at the moment, it was all terrific. So the ending of this season (spoiler alert) didn’t solve any of the storylines it created, but it’s set us up for a terrific season six which I hope will be the end of it as we all know the old adage about having too much of a good thing.

Plus, I don’t know how many more unanswered questions I will be able to cope with, including, how did that cross in the woods stay erect?