Ok, as I said earlier, The New Rouse Hill shopping village (yes it really *is* called that) has opened up for business and we went over today to have a look around.
First impressions? I don’t like it. Not because it isn’t finished, or because it hasn’t enough shops. Not because it’s crowded or expensive. Mainly it’s because despite being brand new to me, sadly, it had an unmistakable air of… ‘tackiness’.
Perhaps I’m being a snob somehow but this place gave me the immediate feeling I’d gone downmarket. To give you some way of gauging just how awful I felt the place was, when I visited the new local branch my favourite supermarket, Woolworth’s, I decided within minutes I’d not be using it unless I *had* to go there for something essential. If I should need to shop at Woolworth’s, I’ll travel to one slightly further away.
Why did I dislike it? The concrete floors, the utilitarian designs looked like something thrown together to imitate the impersonality implicit in Orwell’s 1984 rather than a bright new *clean* store that reflected Woolworth’s ‘family’ appeal. Basically I thought the whole ‘town centre’ was a planning and design disaster. It’s within walking distance, but so are a number of small local shops.
The local shops are more expensive yes, and there are some things they don’t do well… or even sell at all. But I can get good quality meat from the Butcher, great fruit and veg from the Fruit Barn, fresh bread from the baker, and most odds and sods from the IGA (in the UK think ‘Spar’). Sadly no fresh fish shop, but I didn’t see one at the new ‘village’ either but I can get that at the specialist seafood shop at the old mall.
So do I *need* to go to the new town centre? Currently the answer is no. By next March the second phase of the place will open with cinemas and more ‘general retail’ shops (in the UK think Tesco Home ‘N Wear’) so maybe we could be tempted back then… maybe; but for now I have neither the need nor desire to return to shop there.
I was *very* disappointed despite the billions they’d spent developing it. Yes I have photos… but I can’t be bothered uploading them.