Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The holy Trinity

Leeds has a new temple for those who like to shop til they drop. Trinity Leeds shopping centre opened at Easter, the only new shopping mall to be completed in Western Europe in 2013 and the first in the UK since 2011 when Westfield opened, adjacent to the London Olympic Park. It had 130,000 visitors on its first day and a week or so later, when I went, it was still very busy, despite it being a really cold day. In fact I thought it was freezing inside. The fancy glass roof doesn't completely seal the whole thing and there are large areas where the wind whistles through. Many of the new restaurants have 'outdoor' seating areas but they were not using them. I'm not an enthusiastic shopper and I was fairly underwhelmed.  The shops are just newer, smarter versions of the same old high street names, and indeed their former premises in the city are now empty so it seems to have merely shifted the locus of shopping within the city. (There is, however, a brand new Apple store.)

It means Leeds now ranks (reputedly) fourth in the UK as a shopping destination (after London, Glasgow and Birmingham). Yet another huge gulf is opening up between Leeds and nearby Bradford, which still has the infamous 'hole' where a shopping centre was going to be built.  There's no way back for Bradford, I fear.


  1. In Southampton we have a similar situation. When the West Quay complex opened, there was an outcry from traders, suddenly faced with the slow disintegration of the 'high street'. I only go shopping if I absolutely know what I'm shopping for, although it's hard to resist browsing in the Apple shop.

  2. Here in America the trend is going the other way. When we first came in the '80s the only shopping available to us in the Washington DC suburbs was in soulless malls. But now they build instant "town centers" with street shopping in all the new developments (and there's constant new development, it never stops!) It seems to have become accepted that people prefer the community feeling.
    Surely there must be some plan for Bradford?

  3. Sad to see the high street stores disappear!

  4. Apple Store??? [I use the local grocer's for mine)

    They also have a LEGO Store... !! =D

    The roof is spectacular and I noticed a small golden statue of an owl roosting high up one of the ledges - you need to be in just the right spot to find it.

    The statues of the pack horse (inside) balancing on a pole and the female figure (outside the main entrance) are modern and, in their own way, impressive, but I won't be rushing to install copies in my garden ;-)

    But yes, on my couple of walk throughs to the way to and from work, the whole building is definitely an artistically crafted wind tunnel and within one week one of the escalators had "failed" and I'm sad that there are now more empty shop units in the city.

    Bradford ... I just hope that we've not left it too late, it's my home :-/

  5. Destroying the downtown and enriching the mall developer? Good plan.

    Jill is right about the trend in the USA. Outdoor shopping communities closer to city centers are doing very well, especially when integrated with non-shopping features like fitness centers, urgent care centers, condos or apartments in the higher floors, etc.

  6. Had to smile at your post title ... very appropriate. That's what they seem to do .... spend dollars to move shoppers from complex A to complex B .... they seem to forget we don't have a bottomless piggy-bank.

  7. I hear that no one has any money to spare these days, shops are all struggling and everyone shops online. Has no one told them in Leeds?

  8. Wow there are a lot of people there. It looks a nice shopping centre but sounds a bit silly not to have it entirely closed to cold weather. Leeds is certainly getting a big name for itself. We often hear about it here.

  9. What I what is some nice little independent shops.


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