Historical perspective on the centre of Hexham
Published at 07:39, Wednesday, 21 November 2012
I READ with interest Keith Belmont’s comments (Courant Letters, November 2), where he recounts how representatives of Next and of Northumberland County Council seem to have come to an agreement that Hexham’s town centre is now sited around the area of Tesco.
I am a little bemused by this, as it has been understood by all for around 1,300 years that the centre of Hexham has been the church and Abbey which were founded by Wilfrid and the land around them.
Indeed, on page 12 of the Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey of Hexham, commissioned and published by Northumberland County Council in 2009, there is a map which defines the probable extent of settlement at the very beginning of early medieval Hexham as extending from the western end of the Abbey to the Prospect House bluff to the east and taking in part of Market Street, Hallstile Bank and Hallgate then running in a line halfway along the length of Fore Street and St Mary’s Chare to Beaumont Street.
The centre of the early town, defined on this map, is the Market Place adjacent to the Abbey; commerce and religion closely aligned.
Is the county council then suggesting that the commercial centre of Hexham has now shifted from the Market Place and the streets around it to the area around the Tesco store?
Does this provide an insight into the council’s thinking? In this case the thinking would appear to be that retailers such as Tesco and Next are now the commercial centre of Hexham and the traders in the area of the Market Place, many of whom are independent, are redundant and can be neglected.
Speaking personally, with my business in the Market Place, I don’t feel redundant.
Indeed, I feel that I and other independent traders in Hexham contribute far more to the community than a multinational supermarket ever will or will aspire to.
I wonder if explanation and clarification might be provided by Northumberland County Council?
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk