CHANGE | Would you like a tatt with that?

Posted on 10/06/2012

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I’ve been noting some of the changes in Aspley, trying to get a sense of how larger scale economic shifts impact at the local level. The locality is marked by a split in the centre – the traditional suburban centre and a shopping mall. Over the past couple of years there’s been a churn of shops, with staples like a butcher and fruiterer closing down in the suburban centre, followed by real estate agents and hairdressers. The shopping centre – Aspley Hypermarket – has also seen turnover with a clothing store, mobility aids seller, hairdresser and others. There are also significant changes happening to the format of the supermarket, which is gradually reducing its floor space and its variety. This has resulted in the closure of the garden centre and other supermarket lines leaving us as a suburb without (much) hardware. A commitment to local shopping by the community may mean new retail offers emerge. There’s been some shifts as well, with one of the banks relocating to the hypermarket and a Sushi Train opening in its place. The redevelopment of the McDonalds site to build the state HQ also changes the dynamic. The long established bakery has rebranded and relocated to the former premises of a franchise bakery. Sadly, the very popular and busy international grocer that was located in the Hypermarket has closed down with promises to open a new store on the northside in six months for the increasingly culturally diverse locality. These changes indicate both opportunity and vulnerability in the local business centre. While new and interesting shops have opened including a tattoo parlour and combined espresso bar/marketing bureau, several shops and offices remain empty. Perhaps these shops indicate a suburban creative industries or cultural creative influence. For me, this is revealing some unrealised potential in the area with new service and hospitality providers creating a different kind of local economy and vibe. However, to kick it along, there is a need to rethink the pattern of the suburb and to concentrate more people around the centre, cultivate other diverse enterprises, and enhance the pedestrian experience along those difficult and hostile main roads.

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