Sunday, 11 December 2016


There's a new shopping development in Southampton city centre.  To quote Swift "Haters gonna hate" (sorry, that was Taylor S not Dean S).  There are those who see change as a negative, wishing we could return things to the way they were.  You can never go home.

Turning the clock would return this spot to the sea (it's all on reclaimed land) or, if you didn't go back that far, a Pirelli factory. The housing in the area closest was simply slum housing. What is there now is big, brash, shiny, definitely a shrine to rampant consumerism, full of people, life, vigour.  It's a spectacular building - or a bog standard off the shelf mall - I don't know, I'm no expert.

There was a time a while back Ikea came to Southampton.  What will happen, said the critics, on a Saturday, when there are several cruise ships, Saints (Southampton FC) are playing at home and Ikea is there too?  The answer they were looking for was gridlock, parking problems, queues in the shops.  The answer I would give is a busy thriving city looking to the future, drawing business to itself, creating new jobs, creating new opportunity.  If it doesn't come here it'll head for Portsmouth or Brighton or Swindon or who knows where.

 I'm not a fan of rampant commercialism but I would rather live in a city that was reaching for the future not living in the past.  I commend the developers of West Quay phase two, or Southampton Watermark or whatever it is called.  Hammerson (the owners), ACME (architect and master planner) Grant Associates (landscape designers).  Nice job.

Photos by TheCornPoppy

Here comes Santa Claus

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