BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘Crown Wharf’

#365daysofbiking Suffocation

Thursday, October 29th 2020 – I had to visit a store at Walsall’s Crown Wharf shipping Centre – a peculiar, strip parade out of town centre that was curiously built in the town centre.

Crown Wharf is awful: Like all parade malls, it surrounds it’s own car park and seems isolated from the town outside, and has sucked the life and larger stores from Park Street a hundred yards away, which is the town’s Main Street.

It’s incredibly brightly lit at night, and the trees on the Wolverhampton Road frontage have lights in all year around, giving a night-time feel of the worst kind of Christmas shopping all year around.

Crown Wharf is one of those odd, turn of the millennium regeneration projects that didn’t regenerate anything much, and seems cursory and contemptuous of it’s host town and environment, almost as if the architects and designers had learned nothing from Merry Hill twenty years before: A mall surrounded by industrial decay that only served to further suffocate the small towns around it.

I did what I had to, and left. I hate this place.

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January 14th – I had to pop to a store in Crown Wharf on the way home, Walsall’s retail park on the fringes of the town centre. I hate the place with a passion – built on a very inhuman scale, it’s horrid to walk or cycle around, and appears to be solely designed without any aesthetic merit purely to extract cash from consumers whilst doing as little as possible in the way of accommodating design.

At night it’s even more grim than in the day. A place utterly without redeeming features.

June 16th – First time I’d been to Walsall on a Saturday for over 18 months, and I quickly remembered why. It may have just been the rain, but the lack of anything decent in the town centre, the grinding misery of the shoppers, and the general air of shabbiness the place wears just ground the joy out of me. I walked up Chuch Hill, and then cycled to Caldmore to pick up my favourite sweets and savouries, then back to Crown Wharf and Maplin. Not finding what I was after, I went for a coffee in Starbucks, and locked my bike to the railings out front, as many others were doing. As I left the retail park, I noted with a wry smile that the cycle parking provided – a large quantity of Sheffield stands – was unused. Hidden away, with no CCTV cover, you’d be mad to lock your ride there. These town planning types just don’t get it, do they?