Curly's Corner Shop, the blog!

South Shields premier political blog

Mr. Monkey found shock!

with 25 comments

Spotted in local supermarket

Oh no, don’t tell me it was South Shields MP David Miliband all along :-O

Yes, I know, childish humour NOT to be taken seriously, but it lightens the gloom a little as more bad news hits King Street.

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Written by curly

June 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm

25 Responses

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  1. And to think that STC spent pots of money endeavouring to trace such an obvious suspect… Seriously, even Eldon Square is starting to look a bit “patchy” because of retail closures, so what hope for sunny Shields? Perhaps our “virtual reality” councillor has some entrepreneurial advice.


    June 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  2. Not so funny! Particularly after all of the debate over the Monkey business – a bit of poor judgement on that one.
    However in relation to the remainder of your blog, less money in our pockets, less confidence to go ahead and pay for services, less money for holidays etc. All signs of a recession brought about by a stagnating economy with no growth. The reasons for this Cameron would have us believe was the dire straights we were left in by the last government!
    It appears that the current situation is in fact as a result of the current governments policies, yep good old Thatcherism at its best. No inard investment, a lack of objective decision making, idealogically motivated cuts (that cost money) babies out with the bathwater.
    At the moment if you are in work and have a reasonable salary things are manageable. If you do not have work or are earning a smaller amount of monies this governments policies will hurt, and are hurting. They are hurting the common man who was not responsible for the capitalist greed that caused the global crash, that all governments have struggled to contain. As I have said in the past lots of rhetoric no substance from the ConDems. But we are ourselves to blame, we voted them in, didn’t you!


    June 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    • Err no… closures in King Street have become almost a regular feature over the past three or four years, and a number of initiatives have been floated over that period to arrest the decline. The gradual take over by mobile phone outlets and charity shops started a long time ago, the loss of Woolworths occurred more than two years ago now, followed by MK One, Adams, Gamestation and a few others. This local decline is not something which can be blamed on the current government, and it is difficult to lay all of the blame on the local council either. Retail rents are decided mainly by developers and King Street is largely owned by many private property development agencies, these fixed costs become a major factor in deciding whether to trade on the high street or in an out of town retail park.
      The best that we can hope for is that the strategic development plans laid by South Tyneside Council prepare the ground and create the conditions in which small businesses and retailers can prosper and thrive in our town centre.

      A welcome move by the present coalition government is the plan to allow local councils to keep business rates at local level, instead of them being collected centrally and redistributed by Whitehall, at least this will allow our council to use a little more flexibility in their efforts to attract enterprises to the town.


      June 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      • So let me see if I have you right. 1. The recent closures of retailers has little to do with the current down turn in consumerism. 2. Whilst some shops have closed others have opened? 3. There is a threat to South Shields by out of town retailers (I wonder if ASDA and Morrisons are aware of that, are you also aware of the retailers going out of business in out of town outlets?). The council need to foster small businesses in the town centre (selling what? or offering what services?). Nope your attempt to steer the argument away from the current lack of consumerism is somewhat naive and ignorant. Whilst you have in your blog constantly referred to the desire to see Frederick Street, the Town Centre, the sea front redeveloped, you fail to put any substantial ideas forward as to A Where the investment will come from. B Who will take the lead on such projects and C Which poor regeneration officer will have to pull the rabbit out of the hat. Ostrich ..head..sand. This government is making it far harder for local government in this area to deliver, it has allowed growth (the development of industry and commerce) to stagnate, and I feel fosters a true blue philosophy of Laissez Faire. As for the snidy ‘Err no..closures have become a regular feature’ is this not the sign also of a lack of consumerism in a deprived town where due to a lack of money charity shops and cheap outlets are likely to remain. Come on Curly get a life.


        June 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      • Kevin could you please explain to people exactly where I have laid out the arguments that you think I have?
        Of course the current economic climate has something to do with the change in retail fortunes, I don’t see that at any point I have attempted to flatly deny that. Yes, some other shops have opened in King Street, although they may be of different type to what we may have seen in the past, there is a growth at the lower end of the market, Poundland is a prime example. Your point about out of town retailing is worth exploring further, without doubt I have referred to that in the past, you will not find masses of empty units at the Metro Centre or Washington Galleries or even Jarrow town centre, and I’m sure that both Morrisons and Asda are fully aware of one of the factors that make these places a success. That factor is parking! Hence wherever you find one of their large supermarkets you will find that parking is a breeze just as it is in out of town retail parks, and I have wrote in here on a number of times that I think our council ought to be revising our town centre car parking arrangements and bringing retailers into a partnership that provides free parking for shoppers (i.e. parking charges would be refunded by the participating retailers in return for a minimum spend – just search the blog). I have also proposed in this blog an ambitious scheme to cover the King Street and Market areas to make the shopping experience more comfortable for us, echoing the trend towards indoor “malls”.I have also proposed in here that we establish a niche marketing area in the Kepple Street, Barrington Street, Chapter Row area exclusively for low rent units for specialist retailers, similar to the “village” concept off Park Lane in Sunderland, this would link King Street closer to the new Asda in Coronation Street. These ideas have been tentatively considered at some stage by the council too, so please don’t be so high and mighty by asserting that I have offered no regenerative ideas!
        Despite the downturn in economic fortunes, which any market analyst will confirm started two years before the last general election and not at the beginning of May 2011, there is still room for fresh eyes and ideas to spark some enthusiasm about South Shields town centre. we have to accept that the car is now a great part of the shopping experience, we have to accept that shoppers like to be able to park easily, we have to accept that they don’t like shopping in the wind and rain, these are now facts of life. The most difficult thing to achieve in remodelling the shopping experience in our town centre is the ability to fund the correct schemes, however if the schemes were imaginative enough and dovetailed well with existing plans to increase the amount of improved housing and commercial ventures about to take place near the town centre and riverside, then a good team with ambitious partners would find the funding from within the UK and the EC, of that I am confident.
        The decline in our own town centre has been happening for many years, and for many reasons, let’s not take the easy and rather silly option of blaming our plight on the current government!


        June 30, 2011 at 8:30 am

  3. Curry’s/Dixons/PC World (same owners I do believe) have a policy of moving their shops to out of town shopping developments and therefore closing the one’s they currently have in town centres.


    June 29, 2011 at 11:05 pm

  4. A twitterati counselling centre might find it lucrative to set up in South Shields; virtual space is ringing with pointless protracted schoolyard exchanges at the moment. Must confess that I feel that it appears that we may have reached retail saturation point at a time when disposable incomes are being squeezed. So far smaller businesses are surviving in the relatively affluent East Boldon and Cleadon area, but for how much longer…


    June 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm

  5. Some good, constructive points, Curly.Ironically whilst retail sales are dipping, a pawnbroking entrepreneur is expanding. On line retailing, sans car, must be having an effect, not least because of price competiveness in that sector at a time of inflation and decreasing disposable income.


    June 30, 2011 at 8:59 am

  6. Didn’t expect to have to do this but…
    ‘This local decline is not something which can be blamed on the current government’, yet there is a link to the potential closure of a national confectioners who are in decline due to failing business that ‘you’ placed on your article!
    ‘The gradual take over by mobile phone outlets and charity shops started a long time ago’, seems to me to indicate that you are suggesting that there is a takeover of some stores by others!
    ‘These fixed costs become a major factor in deciding whether to trade on the high street or in an out of town retail park’, surely a suggestion that there are problems arising that make retail paks more favourable!
    I note that you have now failed to answer the question of where the money comes from for your plans other than some assumed invester partnership, where do the the town planning elements arise? Where does the cash come from for this? Are you suggesting that we should invest in these issues i.e. spend money. You also seem to assume that you ‘know’ what the people of the town want and aspire to, what lengthy consultation have your read that suggests the people of the town want to be enclosed or have a tent top put on their market square?. As for the downturn yes that started (weakly at first for consumerism post 2008 following the economic global crash) some years ago, it has now been turned into a steady struggle to maintain zero or just above zero growth. I recall that Labour attempted to assist by offering incentives to purchase cars and boilers thus ensuring that industry in those spheres were being assisted. Also I recal the 15% VAT rate to assist consumerism. Not all of these policies were as effective as they were meant to be …but it is a different picture now. What actual policies other than reductions in benefits, increases in VAT, job losses, cuts (sorry you don’t believe in them) in the public sector, have the CONDEMS put in place to assist growth in consumerism. Consumerism is not necesserilly a local issue – people still need to put food on the table but in callenging times luxury items go and basic items are the stable product. Whilst you initially did not publish your views on consumerism in this blog, you have placed your arguments on the town centre in the past. Are we not meant to refer to those?
    I’m assuming you recognise that our MP should not be associated with the monkey issue, you have also said in the past that could damage the town and our MPs reputation, you should therefore practice what you preach..


    June 30, 2011 at 9:09 am

    • I thought Curly said that the picture and Miliband was not to be taken seriously Kevin, it was meant in good humour, but you seem to be like spoiling for a fight over it?
      Do you seriously think the govt. is to blame for the state of king St. its been going downhill for years, we’ve had Labour in power here for as long as I’ve lived dont you think they might have done something about the town centre by now or eeven by the year 2000 they had plenty of chances.
      Theres one good shop in town its called Specsavers you should go there..

      Sandra D

      June 30, 2011 at 11:54 am

      • Some good points Sandra, I suppose I do feel agrieved about the monkey business, which has been published at some length on this blog site with very few people having any support for the offender. I know Curly has been attacked by the monkey and has also been clear on his views about how there could be damaged caused – so to then make light of it after all of the hype, with a dig at our MP, to me, lacks judgement.
        I am referring to the fact in the blog entrry that consumerism is down as highlighted by the plight of ‘Thorntons’ the lack of growth in our country is I feel is directly applicable to the current government, who are resoponsible for how our economy performs and is managed, of which Curly in general is supportive (at least he was out and about campaigning for the conservatives recently and takes a right of centre view). Curly espouses development of the town centre which generated debate – that is a good thing, as is the site, this blog, in general which allows us to place our point of view which can include criticism of others reasoning, logic or lack of it. You have to remember that Curly has constantly denied that there are any ‘cuts’ by the central government, this approach can be a cause of torment or even offence and hurt to those that have been directly affected by redundancies and cuts introduced by this government. Therefore I feel it is appropriate to challenge a blog that has the right to publish its (Curlys) viewpoint if I disagree with it, and to support those who have been affected by job losses and deprivation. I also hope, as I have said on other occassions, that Curly would reflect on some of the approaches he adopts which to be frank on occassions lacks any ‘real’ concern for the community we live in. I’m sure Curly can defend himself and would agree that his blog is here to engender debate. It would be good to see some well researched sound ideas being voiced. Perhaps MR Monkey would say that his comments were not to be taken seriously, who knows.
        As for shops, the only one that will be left open at this rate will be Curlys Corner Shop but often I find the counter bare or selling goods that may not be fit for purpose.
        So sandra, in short yes I disagree with some of Curlys comments and agree with others he makes, I am merely expressing my views and I’m grateful for Curly providing the opportunity to do so. But please be aware that some of our community are ‘really’ suffering at the moment that is probable cause for a more heated level of debate.


        June 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  7. Kevin you need Specsavers and every other glasses shop that we have, this is not about cuts or this govt or the last one its all about King St. and the town. It dont matter who the govt is we still have a Labour council here and they are the ones who should be cheering us up with a better looking town centre. theyve been here for donkey years to remind you.and they build office blocks to hide the river and call centres that dont last.
    Is it any wonder that people shop in Jarrow it costs a fortune to park in Shields for a few hours looking at charity shops and customs house posters..

    Sandra D

    June 30, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    • We will still need shoppers and the resources to implement change. We also need to be aware of what people really want and there is a direct need to elevate self esteem, pride and civic pride in a town that has high levels of deprivation and unemployment, alcohol and drug addiction and all the iother elements of the deprivation scales. Sorry but your approach lacks sound depth and we need to be real about what can be achieved. The reality is Sandra, that we are affected by regional and national issues in this town and as a consequence we feel the results. I’m pleased your eyesight is of sound enough quality to see the charity shops, and the posters, I note others can see the pawnbrokers. I suspect it will not be as easy to see places such as CAB, Victim Support or other places where the public need support. Another point recently been noted is the reduction in car usage as people struggle to meet costs of insurance, fuel etc. so maybe less need for car parks. I suspect that retailers are wary of supplying car parking space as this will be gobbled up by the few who have jobs to go to (see Morrisons for example).


      June 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm

  8. Kevin, I respect your point of view, but you surely don’t regard the Monkey blog as being merely jokey,acceptable satirical comment and opinion.I do not support Cam Clegg but would be horrified if they were attacked, defamed and vilified in the way that the vicious primate attacked selected local councillors.Freedom of speech is diminished by the perpetrators. Our “virtual reality” councillor does a very good job of sending himself up, no help needed from primates et al…


    June 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    • No press watch I don’t accept or condon Mr Monkey nor do I like the idea of anyone using the Monkey blog as a form of political humor.


      June 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      • Thanks, Kevin, let’s stop “monkeying about” and focus on other issues for a while.What a lot of right wing inclined people do not appear to realise is that Local Council’s were conducting cost saving and staff pruning exercises long before the advent of Ollie and Stan at the DCLG; and that this exercise has led to one frontline statutory service of my acquaitance situated in a nearbye LA operating with 30% of the staff that it employed 3/4 years ago. You are right in pointing out that “cuts deniers” fail to take account of real job losses experienced, and, furthermore, job opportunities lost, as well as cuts in vital, not luxury, local government/public services in areas where neither volunteers can “work” nor private sector provide the service. Cuts which adversely effect ulnerable members of society, as well as placing public servants underhealth damaging stress, as they try to “paper over the cracks”.


        June 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm

  9. Town centre vacancy rates increased by 6.1 per cent to 21.9 per cent by the end of 2010.

    A report by the Local Data Company (LDC) in February showed that vacancy rates are higher in the north than the south of England – with the UK having an average of 14.5 per cent empty shops.

    Experts at LDC claimed some high streets may never return to their pre-recession days.

    From todays Gazette, seems I’m not the only one who feels that the recent deterioration is regional based and national economy led. I rest my case!


    June 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    • Surely your prime case was that the current coalition government was responsible for driving down the economy and further depressing the regions. Considering that the vacancy rates, as reported by the LCD, had risen so much in a period when the current government had not even implemented any of its fiscal policies, then it follows that your case must be somewhat flawed.
      Having said that, I fully agree that we will see in future years greater challenges for the regions and local authorities such as South Tyneside which will demand imaginative and positive solutions to bring value for the money expended. One hopes that efforts to reduce the massive fiscal deficit will produce results that encourage the private and the third sector to play their parts and take up some of the slack. Alas, as things stand right now, the deficit and the national debt are continuing to an alarming pace, hence the Governor of the Bank of England stating that interest rate rises are off the agenda for quite some time.

      Oh, and the thought of the odious Nick Griffin and his BNP pals playing the monkey outside of our town hall was not funny in the least. They are the last type of people we wish to see attempting to further their interests in this borough!


      June 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      • Hear hear. Just and idea but…let’s encourage the decorative style of the Victorian and Edwardian era to be revealed in the town centre. A lot of the decoration is already there it simply needs to be either uncovered, cleaned up and a steady programme of development of shop frontages into a fusion of contemporary and early 20th century carried out. This is is doable and I feel would lead to a revelation of the original town design which is, at the moment, fairly well hidden. Curly, here’s a challenge, see how much of the early 20th century (or earlier) character of the town centre you can capture in one of your photo projects. I’m sure it will be very revealing.


        June 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm

  10. Looking at the article in today’s Daily Mirror reminded me of which shops we’d lost. A lot of them were because a particular ‘chain’ had gone bust. Woolworths, Adams childrenswear, Mark One and now Thorntons are examples. Nothing to do with parking,rents or the Council.


    June 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    • Don’t worry, we are not the only ones to get a bit over excited, and at times wrong about examples of chains “going under”. guess we’ll have to be a little more careful, I’m sure you didn’t mean that Thorntons was in that bad a shape.


      June 30, 2011 at 9:18 pm

  11. Anothe example of how shallow, thoughtless “off the cuff” tweets and blogs can attract the unwelcome and potentially costly attention of the legal profession.


    July 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    • Well Thorntons are welcome to sue me for every penny I haven’t got. I will amend my remark to say that Thorntons are closing many of their shops and see their future as franchises within supermarkets and other stores. When they vanish from King Street it will be nowt to do with the council.


      July 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      • Doubt if they are monitoring, Curly, but Sally Bercow does have a somewhat higher public profile than any of us. More “Gazette” coverage of the sad life and tweets of our recovering councillor, such an articulate debater, almost a Socrates.


        July 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm

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