It's the same old story all over west London, traders and councils complaining nobody shops down the High Street anymore.
Some blame the internet, some blame cheap shops, some blame the credit crunch. Actually, the answer is fairly simple - it's because a day out shopping in the town centre is painfully dull.
There's no choice at all. Take any shopping area you like and I can guarantee you'll see a ridiculous number of New Look/H&M/Top Shop clones as apparently women need 20 similar stores in a two-mile radius – and worse, there often several branches of the SAME shop – what a waste of space, why not just let bigger premises?
Men's retailers are almost always outnumbered by five to one, so what are the good blokes of west London meant to do on a Saturday afternoon while the missus is raking through a hundred identikit outfits?
Even if you avoid the clothes shops, you are left with only: coffee shops (which I won't go into my hatred for again), turf accountants, blood-sucking estate agents, pound shops and banks.
How many banks do we need? There are usually several branches of the same one on the same street - set to get even worse when they all merge into one glorious whole - LloydsTSB-HBOS-HSBC-Barclays-NatWest or whatever they'll come up with to call themselves. How much banking do you need to do on a Saturday afternoon? Hopefully not much as very few of them actually open on a weekend.
Every shopping street is the same, not just with the same distribution of different establishments, but with exactly the same shops in the same order. If you were to blindfold someone and dump them in any high street in London, I can guarantee they wouldn't be able to tell you which one it was. Each one's as bad as the next.
And they wonder why the High Street is deserted and nobody's spending money - quite plainly nobody’s shopping there because there's nothing worth buying and it's a total nightmare being there at all! We'd be better off bulldozing half the shopping streets, having one branch of each store in a three-mile radius and building affordable housing on the rest of it.
The sooner I can do everything online and never have to set foot in a shop or bank again the better.