Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Capital confidence

Without wishing to gloss over the serious challenges that are facing town's retailers and the many other firms that do business in our town, it's important that we recognise the continued resilience of St Helier's retail offer in difficult economic conditions. Recently I was shown around the former CT Maine jewellery shop that is being fitted out by Sandpiper as a clothing store; not only was I impressed by the skills of the craftsmen and women who were involved in an extensive renovation of this historic town centre shop to an ambitious deadline, but I was inspired by the confidence that Nick Steel, from Sandpiper, has in the future of retail in St Helier.

The work being carried out on CT Maine will make it rival the splendidly restored National Trust property just a stone's throw away at 16 New Street; it's as much a museum as a clothes shop, and I look forward to spending time and even some money there this Christmas.

The Parish Roads Committee were persuaded to relax the 'scaffolding embargo' sufficiently to allow essential work on the roof of CT Maine's (a name which it is likely to stick in the public mind for many years to come!), and Sandpiper responded by putting up an attractive hoarding during the work; apparently this has attracted neither graffiti nor fly posting, which goes to show that the public appreciate such attention to keeping the public realm attractive.

At the same time, it's depressing to note that a sculpture on the Esplanade has been vandalised again; a new focus on incorporating public art in developments was one of the key acheivements of the former Environent Minister, Freddie Cohen. I hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice and that we send out a strong message to such people that the majority of us want St Helier to be a clean, safe, attractive and vibrant capital of our island.