Young people need to take back their town centre

ROTHERHAM’S High Street has been the centre of attention of late.

Many could argue for all the wrong reasons.

Two Saturdays ago, we saw yet another demonstration through the town centre in light of the child abuse scandal.  

This is the third protest of its type within the last five weeks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Both the EDL and other far right groups such as Britain First have expressed justifiable anger since the Jay Report revealed over 1,400 Rotherham children had been abused in the past 16 years – mainly by Pakistani men.

Demonstrators say their protests are merely calling for arrests and prosecutions to be made.

Nevertheless, one question has to be asked – are these protests doing more harm than good?

Rotherham’s High Street is at a delicate stage.

The recession could have been the nail in the coffin for a town centre that has been battling the rot for decades.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The arrival of out-of-town complexes such as Parkgate Shopping and Meadowhall haven’t helped its cause either.

However, the investments into the town centre in the past few years, along with projects such as The Makers’ Emporium have seen boarded-up shops flourish into promising new and unique businesses.

Just when the green shoots of growth were starting to be felt, they are now in danger of being trampled on if protests continue disrupting Saturday trade.

After how far Rotherham has come, does it really want to inherit a stigma such as this?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Every time a demonstration takes place, it not only discourages shopping but also comes at a large cost with the need to police the event.

These are just initial costs, without even considering the money lost in future trade as shoppers dodge the town centre.

The repercussions are that less money is brought into Rotherham, which is ultimately less money in your back pocket.

This begs the question, should protesters be given the automatic right to gather repeatedly on the High Street, without any consideration of the local economy?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Local people need to take back their town centre and make it known that repeated demonstrations are not welcome on their High Street.

It’s not just businesses that make up a high street — it’s us who use them every day.

It’s up to us to create a town we want and take pride in it.

Why should Rotherham’s reputation suffer at the hands of the few, many not even from the area?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We need to showcase the best of what Rotherham offers — its creativity, its friendly Yorkshire charm and its diversity.

All this will bring prosperity to not only the High Street, but the whole town and its people.

Related topics: