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Yep I went down there today. Came back empty handed - partly my fault as it is a bank holiday and I thought more places would be open.(I had a lot to do in High Town)

 

It looks amazing, I love the big frontages - which, if you recall I have pointed out before (specifically Cardiff). In fact, size aside, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you were in somewhere like Cardiff, so the character has certainly gone.

 

The OLM was at least twice as busy as high town. I heard some people commenting about how many people where walking to and from the OLM - which got me thinking. I parked in Merton Meadow (and paid!!) - how much footfall in the OLM is people passing through? It certainly gives the impression that it's heaving with business, but a lot of these people are going to be heading elsewhere - to work or run errands in high town etc.

 

So yeah, looks amazing, I really like it. (This doesn't excuse the lies, deceit and underhandedness of the whole affair).

 

A few other observations;

 

Eastern Europeans drinking alcohol around Costa.

 

I saw a women with a dust pan and brush constantly cleaning the walkways (she had an OLM top on). So that's a shame that they aren't so active elsewhere in town.

 

Waitrose was smaller than expected - it just seem's the same as downstairs in Marks and Spencer. And more costly, a basil plant the same size as in Asda was £2 - twice that of Asda. A 4pt of milk was £1.39 - but £1 if you joined the Waitrose club, I thought that was a bit off, having to pay an extra 40% just for not being in their club.

 

Next was a big disappointment. That was the only place I had a purpose to go (with my gift card). They have at least 5 units of space on the ground level full of womens clothes. Men's is a tiny room that has been over stocked up stairs and has a small home and living section tacked on. So that was a shame.

 

Debenhams, probably had as many people in as the whole of high town. What was very clear was the "shared space" aspect in there. It's not really Debenhams, it's a unit full of other shops, Burton, DP, Wallis and about 5 others.

 

Outfit was ok.

 

Fat Face smelt like the Old Market. I don't know if that's intentional or a by product of all of the wood used inside. Customers did comment on the musty/straw smell.

 

Not as many bins as you'd expect, but the ones they do have have recycling sections so that's good. However they are small so will need emptying frequently.

 

Traffic, again, was fantastic, but, again, this is largely down to the timings on the lights being on green for about 40 seconds! (I'm sure someone will actually time it).

 

They had parking marshalls around the exit because of parking issues, I guess people not paying enough and getting stuck?

Several spots still under clear construction. Some shop frontages where board up with black panels, half of which have fallen off.

 

 

On the whole;

 

It looks amazing, it's great to shop in if you can find something that you want - Next men's section is cramped.

But it's been built on lies and deceit and will have a majority share of shops we already have. It looks great, but it does look and feel exactly like everywhere else now.

 

Feel free to add your own experiences

Edited by Biomech

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Eastern Europeans drinking alcohol around Costa.

 

 

 

Interesting point. I don't know if the alcohol free zone has been amended so as to extend to the new development. I suppose if it has there will be signs to say so. But I haven't been down so don't know ... 

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I saw a women with a dust pan and brush constantly cleaning the walkways (she had an OLM top on). So that's a shame that they aren't so active elsewhere in town.

 

 

The site is private property, so it is in the developers interests to keep it clean (and no doubt they charge the tenants for it) - but they won't go beyond the OLM. Sadly it is surrounded by increasing levels of litter and decay, uncut grass and bare soil where there used to be planting, as it is now obvious that the deal with Balfour is markedly even worse than the previous one with Amey.

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Interesting point. I don't know if the alcohol free zone has been amended so as to extend to the new development. I suppose if it has there will be signs to say so. But I haven't been down so don't know ... 

 

 

Would that make a difference? They spend all day drinking around Tescos as it is :P

 

as it is now obvious that the deal with Balfour is markedly even worse than the previous one with Amey.

 

 

They are, and it's a shame, because we had such high hopes.

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Would that make a difference? They spend all day drinking around Tescos as it is :P

 

Probably not to be honest ... Blacks passage seems to be a bit of a ghetto for the street drinking ... Plus at Cross Street just the far side of the Victoria Street subway ...

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Probably not to be honest ... Blacks passage seems to be a bit of a ghetto for the street drinking ... Plus at Cross Street just the far side of the Victoria Street subway ...

 

Also the cemetery between Canal Road and Commercial Road

 

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Also the cemetery between Canal Road and Commercial Road

 

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Yeah ... Usually by the large Memorial at the rear of that shot. Plus the grass is a lot longer now in the burial ground ... ;-)

 

 

The site is private property

 

It is. But it's also a Public Place ... Hence the photo's of the cops wandering around it in the news photo's ... 

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Also noticed that the Edgar Street Roundabout could do with a spruce up as it has been used as a place to park vehicles involved with the road works both by Highway Agency and OLM.

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Parking we felt was very expensive. The whole place looks really nice but I thought it was all undercover, so we got wet when we went.

 

Fat Face is a nice shop and bigger than the one in the city centre, Debenhams was a nice big shop but yes Next looks cramped!!! I bought a top from Next and was shocked that the staff members on the tills were promoting shopping online, to everyone, explaining that you can get 10% off online and other online promotions, when the guy asked us if we shop online, I replied we prefer to come in store to which he had no reply, I told them that they should be promoting their new store not encouraging people not to visit!

 

Waitrose was smaller than I expected and we went in for a coffee at 4.44 on Sunday to be told that they were closed... Not the best shopping experience I have had, shopping centre looks nice but I think it could of been a lot better, still lots of empty shops so maybe when more are open it might feel better.

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Because the OLM is a managed centre, it is possible to have ' a woman with a dust-pan' keeping it pristine. That is why we need everyone to support the Hereford Business Improvement District scheme (BID) then the wider centre can also have cleaners!

 

Frankly, if something costing £90m didn't look good then someone has really messed up!

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Hi

 

I have not been in the new development, because I haven't needed to. I do agree with the look of the place, it's a shame to go down the road of looking like everywhere else.

 

On the bit about street litter picking in OLM, I went to the very positive Hereford BID meeting at the very nice Cafe All Saints last week, and was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the plans for a Business Improvement District for Hereford. The litter picking and overall look of the place is something that this very positive thinking group will be able to have a direct impact on.

 

As for the general look of Hereford, is there a more untidy and disgusting entrance in Hereford than that of the bus pull in at Tesco's? The once relatively smart brick paviors have sunk into an unknown abyss only to be topped of with a Tarmac Splodge that is rapidly following the bricks into oblivion. The central roundabout of the City and it looks like somewhere in the third world.

 

Regards

 

Pete

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Hi Pete, that meeting sounds very positive indeed! Good to hear that there is a group who could do something about the shocking appearance of our city, but it does beg the question, why are we paying Balfour Beatty so much, when another group is preparing to step up to the plate, and do their job for them!

 

 

I haven't been to the new development, I am a tad concerned that in Biomech's original post, he tells us that within Debenhams, there is a Dorothy Perkins, this rings alarm bells. Could another High Street store disappear from High Town? Also, have we heard if the Fat Face store will remain in High Town, along with Clarks shoes?

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I went to have a look this morning, and it was a good experience (but so it should be considering what it cost). Now it is there it needs to be a success.

 

But having said that, I am still concerned about more shops being lost from High Town. "Outfit" in OLM includes Dorothy Perkins and Topshop, so those may not continue in High Town.  As far as I know a new H&M will open in OLM very soon, so the existing one up by Lakeland may well close too. There may be other examples we don't know about yet...

 

It was good to see Widemarsh Street into High Town full of people. I wonder if the empty shops there will get new tenants now, as there could be lots of passing trade from people moving between OLM and High Town. M&S seem to be upping their game a bit, with more stock in, and less empty space. I overheard a staff conversation about how to improve displays!

 

So we have more shopping choice, which is very welcome. But you do need plenty of energy and time to get around all the shops if your favourites are now a long way apart,  - and the older people of Hereford may find that a bit more difficult.

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I notice that they have closed Next too of the Spur Retail Park, I thought they were keeping that store open. Don't understand this really because the new store is a lot smaller in comparison. Next must have money to throw away! They only completely refurbished and kitted out this store last year, unbelievable.

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Disappointed because most of the units are still empty. Debenhams was about the best store currently open in our opinion, cannot see how they can justify the car parking charges when 60% of the units are empty. Like a few other people have already said, I too am looking forward to the cinema and additional restaurants to open.

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A few more things I noticed from today's venture;

 

Why is it called Old Market when it's new and on New Market Street? heh

 

Newmarket Street was heavy with traffic westbound.

 

People aren't using the staggared crossing at the roundabout end - they are crossing the first half at the lights then walking in front of traffic for the second part instead of walking up the central area to the next crossing light

 

Traffic on Edgar Street Southbound was great. Northbound was gridlocked up to Steels (4.30pm). The new lights at the Blackfriars entrance now allows for some creative navigation to get around the gridlock on Edgar Street (N)

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And out of interest, what happened to the subway? Did they fill it in or just cap the ends so future generations can find a secret tunnel?

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I notice that they have closed Next too of the Spur Retail Park, I thought they were keeping that store open. Don't understand this really because the new store is a lot smaller in comparison. Next must have money to throw away! They only completely refurbished and kitted out this store last year, unbelievable.

I'm sure it is going to open again as a Next selling furniture etc

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Debenhams Restaurant SLOW Service!

 

Hmmm, we went into Debenhams again today, the restaurant was an experience on it's own. When you first get there, a sign says wait here to be seated...we waited...we waited... and waited, eventually we gave up and walked to the till. There was only one girl serving even though there were 3 tills. I stood waiting behind 2 other customers, so easily 15 mins before we got to the till. The girl was very polite (also very slow) and took our order, then made our drinks which seemed to take forever, still we were patient. She asked us which table we were at, I said oh, we will sit over near to the window and pointed at an empty seat, she then sarcastically said, what table number I meant! I said I don't know, you tell us, to which she replied oh it's table blah blah blah (I forget the table number).

 

She said take a seat and your food will be brought out. My wife ordered salad and I had curry and rice. The meal took over 25 minutes to be placed on the counter, then we watched a guy named James walk past our food on 4 occasions! He was just filling the shelves and generally doing not a lot. My curry was going cold, a couple who were sat opposite us complained to us that they had been waiting for 40 mins for creamed tea's! The waiter was walking in and out from the kitchen side with clean glasses etc completely oblivious to our food still sat there going cold, in the end, I called the girl over from the till and asked, is that our food going cold?, she said oh yes sorry, it must of been on the counter for a good 8-10 mins. The food was okay but there was no mayo to go with the salad which was basically leaves and peppers, my wife had to ask for it.

 

There was another waiter wondering around cleaning tables but the guy behind the counter I could of slapped, just generally on a go slow, no sense of urgency about him at all. You would think food waiting on the kitchen hatch to be a priority! 

 

Then we heard the kitchen staff arguing, just the whole experience was pretty poor to be honest, I was quite taken back.

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My understanding is the subway was filled in with concrete so no secret tunnel I'm afraid Biomech!

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Debenhams Restaurant SLOW Service!

 

 

Debenhams are aware of this ... ;-) Add this to my moan about half the staff on cigarette breaks on the A49 outside their fire exit! In fairness I think they have got a grip on that after I tweeted them!  :Happy_32:

 

*Had to edit that post as the censor blanked out the word f8g   :Hmm:

Edited by Roger

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And out of interest, what happened to the subway? Did they fill it in or just cap the ends so future generations can find a secret tunnel?

 

Think its safe to assume it was filled in considering they diverted that massive sewer right through the middle of it.

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In regards to H.Wilsons comments, Debenhams catering team are aware of the difficulties faced in the opening few days. The team has been newly put together employing some staff that this is their first job, they have been trained and the unit opened it's doors to a huge amount of customers as you can imagine over the BH weekend. This is a new concept and is being improved with the staff giving it 100% to get it right. It clearly states as you enter "Please wait to be seated" but as they are busy and every table is allocated to a customer the wait can be a few minutes. The tables are allocated so every customer has their own table and it does not get pinched when they go up to order by people that could not be bothered to wait like yourself. When you get to the till the server will ask you your table number that you have been allocated, unless you could not be bothered to wait and just pinched an empty table that may have been someone else's. Food that is served is taken to that table that you were given. "Oh yes, you couldn't be bothered to wait". The team have been sworn at, shouted at and through thick and thin have stood by the restaurant throughout the busy/manic few days some doing a 14 hour day, kids that have started their first job and you want to punch them in the face for not getting it right, hell we are not perfect and I've been running a restaurant in Hereford for 14 years and we still get it wrong on times.

Edited by Paul Neades

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