Goodwins’ neglected sea view entrance in Redcar to receive attention following complaints

I think we can all agree Goodwins seafront shopfront is an absolute eyesore and lets down Redcar. The once proud Woolworths sea view frontage has become an insult to all who care about Redcar and all those independent business owners trying so hard to bring economy and pride to their town. Goodwins’ window display doesn’t project thoughts of “Proud of where we live”. More like, “We don’t care! It doesn’t matter.”

But it does! Prior to any Town Deal funding announcement where resulting actions may not arise for another couple of years, we are smartening up the town wherever possible – and attempting to include Goodwins’, (and the empty) Marks & Spencers’ and Upton’s frontages.

Faced with no movement again this year we tasked the council’s Place Marketing Officer with contacting the business (again!). Another attempt to do something (anything!) to give residents and visitors something more pleasant to look at when they pass through or when they’re sat in shelters, eating seaside fish and chips or lemon top ice creams. Through dogged pursuance this now looks likely after finally receiving a positive response for the first time in four years.

This window was splattered a few years ago. Across the road is Redcar seafront shelters which the council wash down regularly.

Personally speaking, I have received numerous complaints over the years which I have reported but have gone nowhere. I have appealed directly to the shop manager to smarten the display up or at least clean the windows and steps. I have even offered to do it myself to be fobbed off with contacting a head office who have been unresponsive throughout. I also asked the council’s Senior Planning Enforcement Officer to look into issuing a demand but other than writing to them he was powerless too.

Quite rightly residents and business owners have been left angered and frustrated leaving many a complaint publicly over the years. The council, councillors, businesses, community groups and visitors have all tried to get action. There have been offers to clean it up, to put up displays at cost and to “mask” it with vinyls. Lots of ideas and suggestions but without express permission there has been nothing that could be done.

This trading business in a prominent position in the town allowed its appearance to taint its own store. All the while groups are out supporting the area with litter picks and cleaning efforts and other businesses try so hard.

I visited the Goodwins store (again!) on the 27th April 2021, following more photos and reaction online. I managed to track down the shop manager and asked again if he was going to do something to clean up the entranceway? I tried to get through to him that having a presentable shop window on the seafront would attract custom.

For all my reasoning I received the same hapless deflection to “Head office”. It wasn’t good enough so I reminded him that he is the manager of the store and it is his responsibility, not some invisible other. I left telling him his attitude was a disgrace and he showed no pride in himself or the business and that he should think about his trading neighbours who are working hard to attract business into Redcar.

Img: Evening Gazette: Woolworths opens it’s new store in Redcar in 1958

The sad thing is this unit is slap bang in the middle of the commercial part of the Esplanade and sticks out like a sore thumb. It is where the once proud Woolworths moved into what was their new build in 1958 and where it traded, boasting this entrance connecting the sea front to the High Street, for fifty years. When Woolworths finally collapsed in 2008 the Yorkshire Trading Company took it on.

Img: Evening Gazette: Advertising the Woolworth opening of it’s new store in Redcar in 1958
The wind of change on Redcar’s seafront hasn’t been kind in this location since 2009. The decline started when Woolworths moved out and these doors were no longer used for access.

Yorkshire Trading Company did make an effort initially. However, over time and with the sea front entrance kept shut to public access, the decline in cleanliness and in display began. The closure of M&S in 2015, added to the neglect and the eyesore was complete when Goodwins took over and blocked out visibility, ignoring any responsibility to their Esplanade entrance and seaside presence from 2018.

YTC had a go at putting in window displays but having kept the doors locked they lost touch with their responsibility to keeping the sea front entrance clean.
Redcar seafront for the past four years could do better without this sorry scene, complete with food splattered windows and sand covered stairs from a functioning business with a significantly sized frontage at the heart of Redcar’s Esplanade.

Goodwins is sandwiched between the new Palace Hub and the now closed Marks and Spencer’s building. Next is the famous Pacitto café selling their famous lemon top ice creams. Then there is Pybus Place with such beautifully kept businesses as the “Art on the Front” and “The Northern Potter”.

In fact, continue west and Redcar’s Esplanade has some excellently well turned out independent businesses, old and new, clean and proud, investing into the town and trying their very best to promote themselves and Redcar positively.

Img: Sally T Photography – Pacitto Redcar

Permission to care!

Last week I received great news from our Place Management Officer that finally Goodwins have replied to him after multiple messages and have committed to do something to sort this out. They will clean it up and either open the doors to public, put on a display or hand it over to the council to promote Redcar & Cleveland. One way or another their seafront appearance will reflect the effort their neighbours put in. This is long awaited but let’s hold off with the celebration until we see it happen.

Of course, there are other poorly kept shopfronts in Redcar as there are across many towns. But largely speaking, the unkempt scruffy units are empty, some with landlords far, far away. These are pursued too. Some have already provided permission to care following contact for a concerted effort to smarten up the town pre-Town Deal funding. (Incidentally the landlords of the M&S next door to Goodwins and Upton’s have approved permission to uplift with vinyl displays).

The empty Marks and Spencer’s building alongside Goodwins opposite the Regent Walk junction
This part of the old Uptons building has been shut for 20 years. In 2011, an initiative of virtual wallpapers masked long standing empty units. Permissions have been sought and given to revamp.

When the amount of funding for the Town Deal gets announced, let’s hope it is around the £25m so we can prioritise and reimagine the Goodwins /M&S junction leading from the high Street to the sea front. A plan that compliments existing and future independent businesses who care very much about our home and economy. One that says, “It does matter. It always matters.”

John Gibbon owner of Goodswens. Exemplary trader in Redcar with very clean windows!

{Just for clarity, this blog is a focus on Goodwins and not to be confused with Goodswens, the butcher. The contrast couldn’t be more stark. Goodswens has a rich history since the 18th century with a commanding and exemplary presence in Redcar. It has outstanding staff and management. And very, very clean windows!}


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