Knees reaction: Traders and shoppers respond to the news

Wiltshire Times: June Drury June Drury

The Wiltshire Times spoke to shoppers in Trowbridge today to gauge their reaction to the news that HJ Knee is to relocate from the town centre to a retail park in the New Year.

June Drury, 63, from Trowbridge, said: “The town centre is pretty empty anyway for proper retail shops and Knees has been there forever, so it will be very sad to see it go. I expect it to have a big impact on the passing trade and it’s a shame that everything is going out the town.”

Susan Lintern, 65, who comes from Bath to use Knees, said: “I would much prefer it to stay in the town centre as there is so much closing down in the centre.

"It would be much better for everybody if it stayed and there will be nothing left if it goes. I have used it for many years and it’s a terrible shame.”

Miltiadi Kotevski, from Hilperton, said: “It will have a big impact on the town centre and it should not go, it should stay where it is.

"Knees has been part of the town for so many years and provides everything, so it’s a massive shame to hear it is going. I expect the remaining shops will suffer.”

Doris Sandford, 86, from Trowbridge, said: “I wouldn’t go all the way out of the town centre for it. It just gets worse for the town centre and there has been a steady decline of shops in the last fifty years I have been here. There are hardly any shops we want anymore and it is a massive shame to lose Knees as well.”

Timothy Woods, 54, from Trowbridge, said: “I think it is terrible news if it moves and people will have to go out of the town centre to everything like tools and household goods. If it is replaced by an equivalent then it might not be too bad, but Knees has been here for years and are so familiar that it would be detrimental to lose them.”

George McLennan, 78, from Melksham, said: “I come from Melksham to use Knees and you can usually get everything in there, so I was very surprised when I heard the news.

"We don’t know what is going in its place, but if it’s another charity shop or coffee shop then it wouldn’t be good for the centre. I’ve been using it for 60 years so it’s very sad.”

Businesses in the area also reflected on the impact that HJ Knee moving could have on the footfall in the town centre, with many concerned about what will replace the department store.

Tracy Parker, owner of Leykers Coffee Central, said: “It really will be a shame to lose them. It’s a nice big unit, so if we could get something good in its place then it could be a benefit to the town. A few more small independent traders in its place would be good, but it’s hard to say until we know what will be there instead.”

Manager of Timpson Sheri O’Reilly said: “I think it will have a big impact as it’s been here for many years and it’s very well known. It really is a big shame, especially as I often like to shop there myself. It would leave a big hole in the town and I just hope something good replaces it.”

Sally Pinto, owner of Intermezzo Express, said: “It’s very sad news. It’s a huge place and so prominent in the town and I wonder what will now be in its place.

"Knees is a staple of Trowbridge, as it’s been here for so long and is part of the fabric of the town, so it’s a complete shock. The town centre will struggle if it’s left empty and I will probably lose some good customers as a result, but everything seems to moving out of the town.”

Natalie Carpenter, who runs Absolutely Fabulous Flowers, said: “There are so many coffee and charity shops and more businesses going out of the town centre will have a detrimental effect.

"We often send people to Knees for bits that we don’t have, so it’s really a massive shock to see it go. Knees serves a lot of older people and I don’t know whether they will travel to outside of the town centre to use it.”

Comments (4)

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2:20pm Fri 13 Dec 13

snowy3 says...

I wonder if Knees have received an offer too good to refuse for their town centre property? Or will they still be the landlord for new occupiers of the property? Which it is could have a major effect on the consequences of this move.
I wonder if Knees have received an offer too good to refuse for their town centre property? Or will they still be the landlord for new occupiers of the property? Which it is could have a major effect on the consequences of this move. snowy3

3:51pm Fri 13 Dec 13

wiltshirebloke says...

'snowy3' has a very valid point. HJ Knee used to own quite a bit of property around town - if they retain ownership, they could have a very key part to play in what happens to the town centre even though they will have moved out of it.

I see other contributors are saying it would be good to see a "BHS/ Marks & Spencer/Debenhams" replace Knees. That's very doubtful to happen. The footprint of the store isn't big enough, additionally it is rare for a retailer to come to a town on a standalone basis. They prefer to be an anchor of a development - and as many have quoted, anchoring neighbouring charity and coffee shops doesn't really have any consumer enticement.

The very best we could do is the possible return of a "M&S Simply Food" store, who are looking to re-expand into the South West.
'snowy3' has a very valid point. HJ Knee used to own quite a bit of property around town - if they retain ownership, they could have a very key part to play in what happens to the town centre even though they will have moved out of it. I see other contributors are saying it would be good to see a "BHS/ Marks & Spencer/Debenhams" replace Knees. That's very doubtful to happen. The footprint of the store isn't big enough, additionally it is rare for a retailer to come to a town on a standalone basis. They prefer to be an anchor of a development - and as many have quoted, anchoring neighbouring charity and coffee shops doesn't really have any consumer enticement. The very best we could do is the possible return of a "M&S Simply Food" store, who are looking to re-expand into the South West. wiltshirebloke

10:49pm Fri 13 Dec 13

beetawix says...

judging by.the number of articles labelled Knees reaction it would seem to me to be an over-reaction.
judging by.the number of articles labelled Knees reaction it would seem to me to be an over-reaction. beetawix

9:14am Sat 14 Dec 13

Blanche Terraine says...

Conversion into a theatre with adjoining bar and restaurant could provide some valuable entertainment in a town not famed for the richness of its culture.
Conversion into a theatre with adjoining bar and restaurant could provide some valuable entertainment in a town not famed for the richness of its culture. Blanche Terraine

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