People want more choice in Halifax

In Part 3 of our week-long series on Halifax's controversial Northgate development opportunity, Halifax trader Tracy Harvey calls for more big-name shops. Tomorrow we speak to Dr John Hargreaves of Halifax Civic Trust

I AM passionate about Halifax.

I never forget how privileged I am to live and work in this town, and for Harveys to be a part of the community.

It does not really need saying what treasures we have in this area, from the incredible architecture to the friendliness and enthusiasm of the people.

I desperately want to ensure that our town centre has a strong and viable future for my children and their children to enjoy.

To this end, I genuinely feel we have to move forward with sensible and well thought out development opportunities.

In Halifax, people leave our town to spend in neighbouring towns and cities as they do not feel Halifax provides the right choice for them.

Of course, people will always want a variety of different places to visit, and never stay exclusively in one town.

But, we have to fight to retain our market share. In just six years, Halifax has slipped down the league table of retail centres by 30 places.

Quite simply, we are getting left behind.

And no, it's not all about shopping. It's about getting local people and visitors to use our town centre.

The more choice we offer, the more people will use it, and the more chance we have to introduce them to the wonders of the Piece Hall, the borough market, the Minster, the town hall – I could go on.

Any development needs to be very carefully considered and must be in keeping with our centre.

It is vital that we do not become the same faceless centre that has caused the decline of many other towns.

We must also be mindful of listening to what shops and stores people actually want.

I am not in favour of demolishing parts of our town for the sake of it but without a stronger retail offer, people will continue to vote with their feet and leave our town.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who has supported Harveys over the last 60 years. We do invest into Halifax and could not do it without the support of local people.

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