They say footfall has fallen in Marlborough High Street - will it improve now the road works have gone?
The airwaves, the digital this-es and thats and the newspapers have been full this past week of the current woes of High Street Britain. Mothercare is shrinking and Debenhams has seen a huge drop in profits.
In Marlborough we can add the closure of the High Street branch of Dorothy Perkins. This multinational chain of women's clothing is part of the Arcadia Group controlled by Sir Philip Green.
The name Dorothy Perkins has been around town centres for ninety-nine years. Now those in the Marlborough area who swear by Dorothy Perkins designs are being guided to branches in Chippenham and Swindon - as the poster in their window proclaims hopefully: "It's not goodbye when we close...".
Marlborough.news' attempts to get some explanation for the closure from the headquarters of the Arcadia Group have come to nothing.
However, marlborough.news can report that rumours about the forthcoming closure of the High Street's Jigsaw branch have been categorically denied by their head office - it is 'NOT closing'.
Elsewhere on the High Street there are still more than enough unfilled or soon to be empty premises: Lighting of Distinction is closing due the retirement of its proprietor - so losing one of the best shop names in the town. Nearby, the closed HSBC branch is still empty.
Nothing has so far replaced Fat Face and East is closing down. 100 Chai Street remains empty. On the south side of the High Street, the Rick Stein organisation has not so far taken up its planning approval to turn the former Smiths Gore estate agent offices into a guest house for the restaurant. The building looks like another empty shop.
Further east along the south side, the NatWest branch will be closing in June - as announced last December.
n Hughenden yard there are five empty premises - though one has come about due to Birkmyre Estate Agents re-locating to The Parade. And in Hillers Yard there is one empty shop now that Ducklings Toy Shop has moved to bigger premises.
We shall never know how much the traffic chaos caused by the recent simultaneous road works may have put off visitors to the town. Though several independent shops have said that so far this year they are doing less business.
It may be a pity more publicity was not given to the fact that parking in George Lane car park was free last week as both ticket machines were out of order - and they are the only ones that can provide tickets for that car park. Free parking there might have brought a temporary but welcome increase in footfall.
This has caused bewilderment and consternation to both visitors to the town and among residents: "Is this the reason they're putting the charges up? Because they can't fix the machines?"