Inside life in ghost town village where locals are 'forced out' leaving residents 'holding breaths' for life to return | The Sun

Inside life in ghost town village where locals are 'forced out' leaving residents 'holding breaths' for life to return | The Sun

February 13, 2023

RESIDENTS of a one-bustling market village have hit back at claims they've become a "ghost town".

The previously buzzing Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland is a shadow of its former self – and today stands eerily quiet.

With a number of businesses closing up shop in the increasingly barren town of Marygate, many residents had criticised Berwick-upon-Tweed council for letting down locals.

Residents have expressed their sadness at seeing so many buildings becoming vacant.

Even the last remaining post office has locked its doors, meaning residents must hop on the bus or drive to reach the closest one.

Following damning claims of a failure to keep streets clean or respond to questions from concerned residents, the council is against the ropes.

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But Gareth Davies, a clerk for Berwick Town Council, said retail is evolving and there is much to be optimistic about for the town moving forward.

He told Chronicle Live: "Retail is changing, and that means high streets are changing, and we get that not everybody is happy about that. Out of town retail parks are a huge challenge, but the number of people shopping there suggests they're hugely popular too.

"Berwick has hundreds of listed buildings in its historic town centre; demolishing them to make way for modern retail units was never an option, and retailers tell us they want modern units big enough for their range of goods."

Davies went on to assert that independent retailers are thriving in the town, with two independent shoe shops along with national retailer, Clarks, as examples.

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And significant projects will revive the town in the next few years.

These will include revamping The Maltings and creating a town centre cinema.

Raging locals previously hit back at the council for ignoring their needs, blasting: "If you want to know how to kill a town then look at Berwick."

George and Mary Anderson have lived in Berwick all of their lives.

Mary, 81, a retired carer, said: "The decline here has been going on for years.

"It is sad and it's getting neglected.

"The paths aren't being swept and the flowers don't get planted until August.

"I worry for the younger generation growing up. There won't be much here for them.

"There are loads of nice little shops in other towns near us but this place has fallen down.

"I think it might be because of the rising rates which is forcing shops to shut.

"It was brilliant growing up here, there were so many shops."

Husband George, who used to work on farms, was furious when the local post office closed down.

The 82-year-old said: "The closest one is at an ASDA in Tweedmouth which is a car journey away.

"We saw a woman in her 90s recently who was standing at the bus stop waiting, just so she could go to the post office.

"It's a long distance for somebody using a stick.

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"At one point there was three or four in Berwick and now there's only one relatively close by.

"Berwick is definitely a ghost town now. It's sad to see it going this way."

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