Ralph Oswick (pictured) whose heart is surely still in Widcombe, and whose place, along with his alter ego Lady Margaret, in Widcombe residents’ hearts is assured, delivered a cheerfully lethal rebuke to Paul Bowden in the Chronicle of 10th Dec. Mr Bowden, whose knowledge of Widcombe seems to be fairly limited, had written the following in the Bath Chronicle of 3rd Dec 2015:
The meddling, car-hating, cycle-loving, pedestrianising bureaucrats in B&NES just couldn’t resist destroying the once vibrant little row of shops that was Widcombe Parade.
I don’t think the worthy Georgian townhouse residents had any concept of the destructive floodgates they were about to open?
Now no buzz, no atmosphere, no parking, no people, no trade for the independent traders. One has already relocated, undoubtedly more will follow.
No doubt it will soon be taken over by a plethora of fast food outlets (with their inherent gull problems), charity shops, and other retailers that will complete the dumbing down of another jewel in Bath’s crown, now lost forever. Wid-come is now Wid-gone.
Ralph instantly took up his trusty pen and wrote the following:
Wid-come now Wid-gone? A terrible pun from your correspondent Paul Bowden (letters 3/12/15) even if it were true. And not exactly positive encouragement for the Widcombe traders and residents who are going great guns to revive the area after the long drawn out roadworks fiasco. No atmosphere? No people? Poppycock! Last week’s Widcombe Welcomes Christmas attracted a decent crowd despite horrendous weather. The (real) Christmas trees were looking fabulous. Live music, mulled wine, late shopping and Lady Margaret , what more could one ask for? Some great new shops on the block and more on the way, a brace of convenience stores, pubs and gastro enterprises heaving. No seats available in any of them last night, and just getting in the door of The Ram was nigh on impossible. Even the Baptist Church was rocking to the sounds of disco.
With the fantastic new Social Club opening in the not too distant future and Natural Theatre up the hill reporting that their building is buzzing with more creative and community activities than ever before, Widders is certainly looking up. Even at this time of year on a sunny day there are folks sitting outside at the café tables, which they certainly wouldn’t have done prior to the traffic bypass scheme. I came out of my doctor’s and heard a blackbird instead of yet another screaming siren. The bypass is brilliant! What the heck did a never-ending stream of Belgian articulated lorries lend to the quoted ‘vibrancy’ of the area? And as to parking, it’s really not that difficult now the shopper’s car park has reopened. And the Claverton Street shops are actually nearer the Southgate car park than Milsom Street, if only the place was properly signed.
If the Society of Bath Whingers would stop moaning and come and enjoy this flourishing village within the city, the future would be even brighter for Wonderful Widcombe!
Ralph was joined on the letters pages by 2 more outraged letters, including one from the WA Chairman, Jeremy Boss. See the Bath Chronicle of 10th Dec 2015 http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/letters