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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:38 AM   #81
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I agree! Woody - would you care to modify the title? Or is it against the rules?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:39 AM   #82
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Love the signature btw Paulo
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Old July 31st, 2006, 12:51 PM   #83
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I agree, I'm not wholly convinced with out of town shopping centres, but Merry Hill employs more people directly & indirectly than Dudley town centre ever could. Those 240 shops & deprartment stores at Merry Hill would never have opened in Dudley town centre.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 02:15 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothingman
Merry HELL was such a bad idea, IMO....
I agree with the bad transport links but the new Metro link will help towards that when it finally arrives in a few years time.

As a car user, I get stuck in bad traffic nearly every time I go to Merry Hill due to the old road systems that weren't made for so much traffic but it's almost worth it because you know that you're going to be shopping in a nice clean and warm (or cool in the summer) shopping centre with VERY little crime. Shopping in a proper high street to me is nostalgic and makes for a refreshing change but Merry Hill is so much more relaxed. It's no "Merry Hell"!
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Old July 31st, 2006, 05:04 PM   #85
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Shucks
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Old July 31st, 2006, 06:00 PM   #86
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I went through the very heart of West Bromwich for the first time in ages on Saturday and I must admit, it was horrid.

My impressions were that it looked dirty and polluted. Even 'the public' arts centre was a big disapointment due to it's dull facade and hideous surroundings.

The only highrise building that I saw and liked was the one with bondwolf sign slapped on the top of it. A tower I have admired for many years.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 08:34 PM   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothingman
Merry HELL was such a bad idea, IMO....

They spend millions building it, without giving thought to the fact that a) it would rob trade from central Dudley and b) they put virtually no transport (road or rail) infrastructure in place to cope with the extra traffic.

I lived in the Midlands for nearly 17 years (between 1987 and 2004) and I witnessed the decline of Dudley in that time. Years ago, the place had its own railway station and it was far more thriving than it is today (and I'm sure it's got worse in the last 3 years since I've seen it).

It's sad, considering the fact that Dudley actually has a lot going for it -- history, great pubs, parks, a kick-ass zoo, a castle and extremely friendly people. Instead of building that pile of crap known as 'Merry Hill', they should have invested the money into Dudley town centre and improved transport links and even re-connect Dudley to the rail network.
Dudley doesn't have a railway station?

It's a great shame - I've only been to Dudley once and when we drove into the town centre everyone in the car (It was a work trip) just said "What a dump.". Like you say, Merry Hill has sucked away the retail - and retail is an important part of making city/town prosper.

Malls were a European idea that were transplanted to the USA in the 20th century. However, they had the effect of killing city centres. They weren't even created with that in mind. I lived in Sheffield for 3 years, and the city centre there was suffering due to Meadowhall - a lot of big stores closed down while I was there.

I loathe the places - Merry Hill is a dump - a soulless collection of metal shacks, chain stores, car parks and roundabouts. Like Milton Keynes. Horrible, soulless places for the masses of dumb Brits to go to the same stores as everyone else and buy the same things. City centres generally have more variety and plenty of independent stores - not to mention restaurants.

I remember when Merry Hell didn't even have a book shop. It's a Pikey Capital. I don't think things like the Cov precinct or the Bullring are much better, but at they're in central locations. Give me nice, attractive streets (New Street, for example) over hellish malls and shiny chrome shopping centres grim, carbon copy precincts!
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Old July 31st, 2006, 08:36 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfield
I agree with the bad transport links but the new Metro link will help towards that when it finally arrives in a few years time.

As a car user, I get stuck in bad traffic nearly every time I go to Merry Hill due to the old road systems that weren't made for so much traffic but it's almost worth it because you know that you're going to be shopping in a nice clean and warm (or cool in the summer) shopping centre with VERY little crime. Shopping in a proper high street to me is nostalgic and makes for a refreshing change but Merry Hill is so much more relaxed. It's no "Merry Hell"!
I can go to Merry Hell and not spend any money. The choice of shops is pitiful - all the same chainstores - and there're no decent places to eat. It's a soulless shack. All these manky shopping developments were done in the 1990s when the country was in recession and plenty of cheap land was available. Now it's all been filled with ghasty retail parks, car parks, dual carriageways, there's no land left to develop employment! Oh, but there's HUGE TK-Maxx's, Massive MFIs and JJB sports all over the place.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:32 PM   #89
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So tell me this: Why is that I see far higher quality people at Merry Hill than any other town/city in the West Midlands - and that includes Brimingham?? You don't seem to get as many chavs/lowlife types, not to say you don't get any but you see far less. And you just feel so much safer there. Less crime, litter, chewing gum on the floor etc. And you can find exactly what you want to buy there. Yes, Merry Hill is perhaps bland but it's not supposed to be a day out in a beautiful town - it's a place where you buy things in comfort! And if you only want to pop in and buy one item, at the moment you don't have to pay for parking, and you don't have to walk too far from the car park.

I've been going to Merry Hill since I was about five or six years old so it's what I'm used to. I do like going to town centres for a change occasionally but there everything seems so dirty and cold in the winter compared with Merry Hill.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:39 PM   #90
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Any pics of this noble town?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 11:23 PM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfield
So tell me this: Why is that I see far higher quality people at Merry Hill than any other town/city in the West Midlands - and that includes Brimingham??
Not sure what research you did to arrive at this dubious conclusion...although I would say that as a homogonous centre, it's probably far easier to refuse entry to 'chavs' and 'lowlifes' than it is to refuse them entry to an entire town or city centre.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfield
Less crime, litter, chewing gum on the floor etc. And you can find exactly what you want to buy there. Yes, Merry Hill is perhaps bland but it's not supposed to be a day out in a beautiful town - it's a place where you buy things in comfort! And if you only want to pop in and buy one item, at the moment you don't have to pay for parking, and you don't have to walk too far from the car park.
Which is all very nice, but how much nicer would it be to have the heart and soul returned to the town centres within Dudley - Stourbridge, Dudley, Halesowen, Lye etc. Dudley town centre should be comparable to Sutton town centre, given the architectural style of the town and the fact that Dudley is generally considered more affluent than it's Sandwell neighbour.
I do think Dudley has improved, but the heart implant is still far from finished.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfield
I've been going to Merry Hill since I was about five or six years old so it's what I'm used to. I do like going to town centres for a change occasionally but there everything seems so dirty and cold in the winter compared with Merry Hill.
Well there you go then - you don't really know any different. I remember going to Halesowen as a kid with my mum - the toy shop by the church, the market, the hustle and bustle. Now look at it today...
Not a Merry Hill hater, I have and do go, even though parking is an absolute noightmare; dump the car at the Waterfront, and plod on down the hill to the nearest entrance; still plenty of time to get cold and wet then.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 11:46 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Glide
Not sure what research you did to arrive at this dubious conclusion...although I would say that as a homogonous centre, it's probably far easier to refuse entry to 'chavs' and 'lowlifes' than it is to refuse them entry to an entire town or city centre.
My research is from my own thoughts on how safe I feel when shopping and what I can buy so you're more than welcome to add your own comments! But with your last comment you pretty much summed it up for me.

Most of my childhood I was dragged on the double decker bus to Dudley or Wolverhampton with my mom to go shopping, then when Merry Hill opened we went there instead and it seemed like paradise. For one thing we actually went there in the car! We could go after school and the shops would stay open until late unlike towns. The one thing it did lack back in the day was a toy shop, which I really wanted so that's when we'd pop back to Dudley or Wolverhampton.

And regarding the parking - yes, Saturday and Sunday are just too busy, go at the end of a week day and it's lovely - you can park on one of the many car parks near an entrance.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:09 AM   #93
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Well, I have never been to Dudley OR Merry Hill, but from what I can see, problem with Dudley, as well as other parts of the Black Country, and the Black Country as a whole, is the lack of transport infastructure. It is shocking that a town the size of Dudley does not have a railway station!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:26 AM   #94
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The lack of dodgy people in Merry Hill is simply a product of it's location requiring a car to go to it. Meaning less kids, drunks, hawkers, unemployed, assylum seekers etc... it will have a higher than average socio economic group of visitors than a city centre which is weighed down by the poor which live mostly withing the main urban connerbations and use public transport.

I have no doubt that while the average income of the typical visitor to Merry Hill will be higher they are most likely to be less... well urm interesting. No creative types, no buskers, no new urbanites, no students, it's probably just full of 2.4 chilldren families.

I've been twice in my life and living in Solihull and now Brum have little need to go there, it's a retail destination fair enough but it's as dull as hell even & if i lived over that side of the conerbation (and i'm probably only 5miles away) i wouldn't go there.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:54 AM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetsuro
Well, I have never been to Dudley OR Merry Hill, but from what I can see, problem with Dudley, as well as other parts of the Black Country, and the Black Country as a whole, is the lack of transport infastructure. It is shocking that a town the size of Dudley does not have a railway station!
I agree with you on Dudley town not having it's own train station, but then neither does West Bromwich...(!) - however, I do think the Black Country overall has a good transport infrastructure, so I part company with you on that one a little. Just off the top of my head there's lot's of major A roads, in fact quite a concentration compared to Brum which tend to just radiate outwards to the city fringes, the west coast mainline, two Centro railways, Black Country Spine Road, M5/M6, the Metro right thru the middle, with another line on the way (covering more miles in the B.C than in Brum), lot's of bus routes, and of course the ubiquitous canals.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 02:39 AM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engels
The lack of dodgy people in Merry Hill is simply a product of it's location requiring a car to go to it. Meaning less kids, drunks, hawkers, unemployed, assylum seekers etc... it will have a higher than average socio economic group of visitors than a city centre which is weighed down by the poor which live mostly withing the main urban connerbations and use public transport.

I have no doubt that while the average income of the typical visitor to Merry Hill will be higher they are most likely to be less... well urm interesting. No creative types, no buskers, no new urbanites, no students, it's probably just full of 2.4 chilldren families.

I've been twice in my life and living in Solihull and now Brum have little need to go there, it's a retail destination fair enough but it's as dull as hell even & if i lived over that side of the conerbation (and i'm probably only 5miles away) i wouldn't go there.
Great analysis there Engels.

If I want "creative types, buskers, new urbanites and students" I will go to the likes of Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Sometimes that is what I want in fact! That's why I like Birmingham, BUT only in moderation. I'm a suburban boy so I like the easy quiet life but occasionally I like a bit of excitement!

Isn't there a Merry Hill clone in Solihull somewhere?
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Old August 1st, 2006, 10:34 AM   #97
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The big irony with Merry Hill is that it was on the site of an old works and with prospect of new jobs was what helped it establish. But then it dragged retail jobs away from neighbouring towns. It's sad really

One of the problems with the Black Country infrastructure is that there is a lack of co-ordination. There may be a lot of A roads, and in the north Black Country they are quite organised (for the industrial areas) but many of them fail to lead anywhere. A good job on connectivity needs to be done.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 07:05 PM   #98
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Article giving information about the Metro and Merry Hill.It also lists the proposed stations.



Merry Hill's £36m metro link
By Daniel Pountney
Jul 27, 2006
Merry Hill shopping centre has signed a key deal to pump £36.5 million into the proposed extension to the Midland Metro, linking Wolverhampton with Brierley Hill and Dudley.
The £200 million extension will be a major boost for Wolverhampton shoppers and is planned to be up and running by 2011.

The new tram route will allow passengers to change at Wednesbury and travel on to Merry Hill, Dudley and Brierley Hill

The line between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill will have 17 stops, four of which will be served by park and ride facilities. New larger trams will be able to complete the journey in only 23 minutes.

Public transport provider Centro said the cash injection from Merry Hill's owners, Australian property developers Westfield, put its funding target firmly in reach.

Announcing the deal, Councillor Gary Clarke, chairman of Centro's Passenger Transport Authority (PTA), said: "Frequent high capacity trams will provide a real boost to the accessibility of Birmingham city centre and the Black Country."

From Wednesbury, the new stops will be Golds Hill, Great Bridge, Horseley Heath, Dudley Port, Sedgley Road East, Birmingham New Road, Tipton Road, Station Drive, Dudley Bus Station, Flood Street, New Road, Cinder Bank, Pedmore Road, Canal Street, Waterfront, Merry Hill and then Brierley Hill.

Westfield's development director Peter Miller said today: "We are keen for the Metro extension to be built at the earliest opportunity and are pleased to offer our support for the project."

The news is the second boost for the expansion this week and follows a review by independent experts which supports the case for Government funding.

Extensions to the Midland Metro were given planning approval by the Secretary of State last year following two public inquiries
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Old August 1st, 2006, 07:46 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfield
So tell me this: Why is that I see far higher quality people at Merry Hill than any other town/city in the West Midlands - and that includes Brimingham?? You don't seem to get as many chavs/lowlife types, not to say you don't get any but you see far less. And you just feel so much safer there. Less crime, litter, chewing gum on the floor etc. And you can find exactly what you want to buy there. Yes, Merry Hill is perhaps bland but it's not supposed to be a day out in a beautiful town - it's a place where you buy things in comfort! And if you only want to pop in and buy one item, at the moment you don't have to pay for parking, and you don't have to walk too far from the car park.

I've been going to Merry Hill since I was about five or six years old so it's what I'm used to. I do like going to town centres for a change occasionally but there everything seems so dirty and cold in the winter compared with Merry Hill.
Its people like you who have caused the death of towns. You want a bland shopping precinct that turns the surrounding towns into dumps. So the end result? A vast swatch of conurbation filled with dumpy towns and a terrible, bland shopping mall - actually, not bland, downright miserable - and filled with nothing but chainstores that effectively destroy the smaller, indie retailers who don't sell mainstream goods.

Then you complain about the traffic jams...

Last edited by rottersclub; August 1st, 2006 at 07:53 PM.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 07:50 PM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfield

Isn't there a Merry Hill clone in Solihull somewhere?
No, there isn't. There's the Touchwood Centre, which is an indoor mall that acts as an addition to Solihull's high street - and as a shopping area, it's very well designed, with plenty of architectural features that bring it up above average. The rest of Solihull Town centre - itself mainly a new town - consists of a high street with a few older medieval buildings and a shopping precinct from the post-war era. It's nothing like as depressing as Merry Hill and still has some good independent retailers, and you could argue that the 1960s architecture in the precinct gives it some character.

Unlike Merry Hill, which is a cheap warehouse thrown up purely to satisfy the corporations and chainstores.
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