I support Ken Loach’s vision for Bath as a city of small shops and with a palpable sense of the past (Report, 21 October). But saying that “the city centre is too geared to visitors” forgets that it has been a site of pilgrimage for over 2,000 years. Today’s “scented-candle-buying tourists” are not much different from its incense-buying Romans or its pleasure-seeking 18th- and 19th-century visitors, who have all helped the city flourish and are essential to its continued economic prosperity. Although I share his regret for the “loss of small shops such as ironmongers and greengrocers”, Bath is not unique in this. However, it still enjoys many independent shops which we should focus our energy on championing, for the benefit of locals and tourists alike. And while it is tempting to join the call for large-scale development to be resisted to preserve Bath’s unique beauty and rich history, sometimes we should have the courage to welcome it. For without such bold interventions the city would still have a stinking 1970s shopping precinct, and it would never have had the beautiful Georgian crescents it is famous for today.
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