All that town needs is a revival of retail sector

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First published in News

I won’t be losing much sleep over the closure of the Cross Keys pub in Abingdon. It’s sad to see the demise of any decent pub but the Cross Keys wasn’t up to scratch really, lined up against some fierce competition. When I called in some years ago it was full of televisions and closed at lunchtime. Flats are proposed on a redeveloped site. Good idea. We need more homes.

The one good thing about a recession is that it sorts out the wheat from the chaff, but Abingdon need not worry. You are spoiled for choice with an array of good town centre pubs and restaurants. There is the White Horse, Brewery Tap, the Anchor, King’s Head and Bell, Punch Bowl, Black Swan, Blue Boar, Broad Face — thankfully reopened — and the Crown and Thistle Hotel. I find The Narrows disappointingly uncomfortable but the beer and food range is well priced as you would expect in a Weatherspoon pub. As for The Grapes opposite, well I’ll pass on that one.

But surely the jewel in the crown is the Nag’s Head on the bridge over-looking the Thames. Two years ago it was on its knees but in steps a new owner — previously at the Broad Face — and the pub has undergone a remarkable transformation. Real ales and good food with a new-look garden and friendly and efficient young staff. Not only that but the Nag’s Head is the gig centre of Abingdon with regular music packing in the punters.

As the redevelopment of the Old Gaol complex continues, even more people will be attracted to this once forgotten part of town.

The national economy is stirring again and all that’s needed now is a revival of the retail sector in the wake of the refurbished precinct.

Gordon Rogers

High Street

Long Wittenham

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