Shoppers have responded with anger, frustration and shock after it was announced that the Rochestale shopping center would be closed.
On December 2, the center’s bosses confirmed that the Wheatsheep shopping center would close at the end of the lockout.
The owners’ MCR property group has blamed the ‘nationwide change in shopping habits’ and the impact of the corona virus infection.
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But the news has devastated business owners and those who work at the center, and shopkeepers were deeply disappointed by the loss of the Bailey Street Center.
We visited the Rochestale Town Center to ask how shopkeepers felt about the closure of the WheatSheep.
Christina regularly visits the center to meet friends at the hotel, and says it is ‘bad’ that people are now losing the social connections it provides.
Asked not to use her last name, Christina said: “The small cafe there is a beautiful meeting place for people.
“Elderly, retired people meet there for coffee. There’s a piano there, they have a piano coming in. It’s very depressing, it lifts people up a little bit.
“It’s almost all people in their sixties. I think it’s absolutely bad if they take it away from us.
“You can go in the winter because it’s indoors. It’s absolutely disgusting to take it from us.
“They say they all meet in Russell, it’s under a dome and you get the feeling that you’re sitting outside even if you don’t have to carry it, I think‘ oh no ’.
“There are some beautiful shops there.
“What are they going to do with it if it closes? I know it has to be open.”
Kathleen Hill only learned to close the center when she stopped talking to MEN
He said he felt the town center’s new retail and leisure riverside, which opened earlier this year, had ‘taken everything from everywhere’.
She said: “Oh, it’s disgusting, I’m shocked.
“What else is going to close at Rochdale?
“I’m not saying I use this every day, I come once or twice a week, but it’s somewhere I always go and see, always buy something.
“Well, this place [the Rochdale Riverside development] It’s very good, but it’s taken from everywhere. “
We asked Kathleen what she would like to see on the homeship site.
He added: “I want to see a primer in it, which I think will bring more life and more people.
“Everywhere you go there is a Primark, and a lot of people go.
“I was shocked. I know a lot of people walk in, but a lot of people shop there.”
Christine Bratton goes to the housekeeping once a week and was surprised to learn it was closing.
Christine said: “I am surprised, though I have to admit, that some of the things there are closed because the rent is high, and if they do not get beaten up, people buy things they can’t afford to keep it open.
“Like the works, they also had a good shop there, where you can get cut price books. They have now opened a new location, Riverside, and they’s got a shop there. I’m a serious reader and I will not miss it.
“I am surprised [the Wheatsheaf] Closes though.
We asked Christine if she thought the new development would have an impact on older shopping areas such as WheatSheep.
He added: “It probably is, if there are places you visit regularly, in the same area, you are not trying to get out of your way somewhere else, that’s the problem.
“It’s like Marx and Spencer. I have gluten-free food, for which they sell a lot of good food, so now I have to go all the way there. You have to go to Bailey Street to get to Marx.”
Peter said Dash remembers when the town center was as busy as ‘a football match’.
He said: “We had a Wilkinson here, it’s a big store. It went. It had two bases, then they cut it, then one, then it’s gone.
“It’s frustrating when the shops close, it’s like a ghost town now compared to what it was now.
“I remember when it (Yorkshire Street) was like a football match. And Drake Street, that’s it, it’s completely gone.
“I like to see it a little bit, there are no pubs left, but it fits everywhere, pub life is over now, the whole life system is gone.
“You can go to pubs and get used to it. Now I’m not been to a pub since last March.”
Ahmar Khan said it was a shame to look closely at homesheep and felt that its future could be on a diversified platform beyond retail.
Ahmar said: “I think from the late eighties, it was a shame.
“It’s a shame we’ve built a new shopping area, so closing it down means more businesses are going to go there.
“It’s weird because we have a high street, then you had a wheelsheep, and now you have something new, so it feels like business has moved from A to B, from B to C and from C to D.
“As we moved the shopping area there, people moved from that area to the new place, so that means other areas are becoming empty as time goes on.
“It’s a shame, I’m sorry businesses are fighting somehow.
“I’m going to enter the houseship again now and it’s a shame to hear it close completely.”
We asked Ahmar what would happen to the center.
He added: “I think they want to attract more businesses, but I think retail is going to be difficult anyway, so attracting businesses to landowners can be a tough one.
“It can be used for any other use, leisure, entertainment, food. They can diversify it in some way.”