Signs of the times

Sir – “Squeezing the life out of Witney’s smaller shops” (Witney Gazette editorial, December 11) is hardly a fair argument against having a Starbucks coffee shop in Witney.

What is the evidence to support this claim? Professional coffee shops are very popular in Witney. Costa’s, in the Woolgate, is nearly always very full, and customers have to worry about getting a table there.

The very quaint but small sizes of Witney coffee shops may be in keeping with an old-fashioned market town, but Witney is expanding and needs to be seen to be moving into the 21st century.

It’s refreshing that Huffkins’s coffee place is supporting the idea of a Starbucks.

Since the agent for Evans has admitted that their clothing shop has insufficient capacity for long-term success, this speaks volumes for the basic problem of lack of space for Witney shops in general (shops too small), including coffee shops and pubs, most of which are yes “quaint and market town” in looks but impractical for the 21st century in size. Larger-sized premises can still be in keeping with an old fashioned and quaint market town since, in the end, it is customer requirements which drive trade, not a medieval approach.

This modern approach is demonstrated in the forward-looking Marriotts development, a good start. What is “the feel of a market town”? Some independent research could be done on this, with fair questions.

It would appear that if there were a market for a large size lady’s shop, then Evans could stay in place. Perhaps ladies are slimming down, or perhaps ladies are using the internet for speciality sizes.

As fashions and times change, it seems to be that ‘Goodbye Evans and Greetings to Starbucks’ is another wise step Witney is taking, albeit stubbornly, into the 21st century, in keeping with what most of the public evidently want.

Dennis Perrin, Vale Road, Witney

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