The Economist—the English magazine that is right about all things (except the need for bankers)—has an interesting article that, though it is about London, is relevant to Weston. Why, it asks, when rising tides lift all boats, do some streets stay anchored, stubbornly, to the bottom?
I think we can agree on two things:
- Weston is two towns. One is rich. One is not rich.
- Weston Road caters to the not-rich population.
Why is this? One of The Economist‘s answers is surprising: not enough renters. Spaced-out houses mean lower population density and fewer shoppers.
The result is fewer shoppers on the high street. Wealthy residents are more likely to get their groceries online or drive to bigger stores. And most will go out to the West End rather than a local restaurant.
More middle-income rental properties is the solution.
NIMBYism is also a problem.
Lots of civic groups are active in the area, campaigning against [liquor] licences and the like.
That describes Weston. Most of the restaurants in town are dry, and Frances Nunziata has prevented AGCO licenses before.
Finally, there is traffic.
The sheer volume of car and lorry traffic on the busy high street which is a main road into the city, might deter shoppers from visiting and swanky businesses from setting up on the area.
Couldn’t be more like Weston.
The solution is clear and I endorse it: more drinking, less driving.