“We’re Now Spoiled For Choice”




Pizza Express have invited Rayleigh food blogger Gary Fenn to review their new Rayleigh restaurant – and you can read his review here.
Gary begins his review with an interesting overlook of how the Town Centre has changed in recent years:

My home town of Rayleigh has undergone a huge transformation in the past five years. It suffered the same stagnation that ran across most of the suburban high streets of England in the 2000s as the recession bit. In 2010 restaurant after restaurant opened up and now the high street heaves with people of an evening. We?re now spoiled for choice, not only by chains such as Ask and Prezzo, but wonderful independents such as Marco?s and Pancho?s. In December 2015 they?ve been joined by Pizza Express. The announcement caused a local stir, as it was to be sited in not just any old building, but in the oldest secular building in Rayleigh. With some concession, it went ahead with space allocated to the upper floor for a Rayleigh museum….

It’s not hard to find Rayleigh people complaining that there are now too many restaurants , cafes and barbers, but not enough actual shops. And they have a point. You also wonder if all these restaurants can stay viable. But if you talk to people in their 20s and 30s living elsewhere in south Essex, Rayleigh is a place that they aspire to move to – and that’s partly because the array of restaurants and cafes make the town seem very attractive. Could this also work for the type of small company that has to entertain clients for lunch – will we see more planning applications for offices in the town centre soon?

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  • Many thanks for linking to my review. I understand the criticism about there not being enough ‘shops’. However you are in right in that the generation coming up is less interested in retail. They’ve been raised on a combination of shopping centres, retail parks and of course Internet shopping. Going to a high street to browse for clothes just doesn’t happen any more in that age group.

    If retailers thought there would be money in it they would be opening new premises in the high street. Simple as that.

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