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.