|The Rushden Echo, 18th April 1969, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Traders Divided Over a Face-Lift
Traders in Rushden’s High Street have mixed views over the plan being prepared by the town’s amenities society for a face-lift.
The society’s idea is to introduce a town colour scheme in which all the shops and houses would be painted in colours which blend together and so “beautify” the place.
A survey was carried out this week in the High Street to find out what the traders views were on the subject. Thirty traders were interviewed and asked four questions.
The results were as follows:
Question A: Do you think this face-lift is necessary? Yes, 17; No 13; Don’t know, 0.
Question B: Cost aside, would you support the scheme? Yes 14; No, 7; Don’t know, 9.
Question C: Could you afford this face-lift? Yes, 23; No, 2; Don’t know, 5.
Question D: Do you think it would help trade? Yes, 9; No, 21; Don’t know, 0.
The feeling of the majority of traders was the plan for a mere colour scheme for the High Street was only part of a complete change that had to come about.
They felt that shop fronts and buildings would need to be altered to make the scheme wholly successful.
Many of the 43.4 per cent who felt that the scheme was not necessary did, however feel that it was desirable, so tacit support for the idea was slightly better than figures suggest.
The others thought that individuality was better than uniformity.
As far as actually supporting the scheme, 46.6 per cent said they definitely would and 23.3 per cent said they would not.
The remaining 30.1 per cent felt they were unable to commit themselves. Many of them thought that the scheme would never get off the ground.
Certainly there would, it appears from the survey, be no difficulty as regards cost. Some of the traders said they were already in the process of arranging to have their shops painted.
The cost of painting an average size shop is about £250 to £300.
One of the most interesting points revealed during the survey was that nearly all the traders felt that the face-lift would be beneficial to the town though not to themselves.
Seventy per cent said it would not help their trade but felt that it would “smarten up” the town. Shoppers are not interested in what the shop looks like but in the goods sold and the service provided, they said.
Some thought a face-lift would give the town a prosperous look, which would attract more people to the town. Many felt that a market in the town would attract even more.
Certainly the announcement that the amenities society is working on this plan has raised a certain amount of interest among the traders.
The success of the venture would depend a lot on whether or not those who were unable to commit themselves for the survey would eventually support it.
Rushden Amenities Society took another step forward with their proposed face-lift for the town when they decided to apply for a grant from the Civic Trust at their meeting this week.
The Civic Trust is basically an advisory body which has helped many amenities societies all over the country. They do, however, offer certain financial assistance but the sums of money involved are fairly small.
It is believed that Rushden Amenities Society will be applying for a grant of under £100 which is needed for some preliminary work the society are carrying out.
The work takes the form of a survey being done by Rushden photographer Mr. A. J. George, who will be photographing parts of Washbrook Road, Irchester Road, Wellingborough Road, Rectory Road, Bedford Road, Newton Road and High Street South.