North Side needs more than shops

JUDGING by the social media engagement to the news broken on Saturday’s front page about the imminent arrival of Home Bargains – the popular retail chain where the mission is encapsulated in the name – islanders are excited.

It’s unusual enough that there is public excitement in a real, bricks and mortar (and glass, plenty of glass) shop, but also that there could be further hope about benefits for the Bridge.

With Leale’s Yard now seemingly on the way, supported by States cash for homes and flood defences, a revamp of North Side – and South Side, let’s be honest – is also long overdue.

The concern about the arrival of Home Bargains will be that if it is merely a like-for-like replacement for the once-loved Quayside, even a really nice-looking one, the area arguably needs more.

Calls for homes to be built in the area seem to crash on the demarcation of an LPG ‘blast zone’, but not so long ago, the Vale Parish was publishing dreams of ‘a waterside plaza’ created with al fresco eating, restaurants and coffee shops.

However it has to be homes that will make the difference and create the vibrancy that the area deserves. It might take years, but North Side’s industrial past is now largely redundant – symbolised by all the boarded-up windows and doors – and it’s a prime area for a bright future.

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