WELCOME news that the Brooks Shopping Centre is to get a £1 million makeover, as reported on the front page.

Hopefully it will mean the end of the buckets scattered around on wet days to catch the rainwater dripping down from the leaking roof.

The centre has divided opinion since it opened 25 years ago.


In a public poll back in the mid-1980s the design was the least popular on offer, and many times in the last quarter of a century it has been dubbed a white elephant. Certainly its appearance has gone out of fashion, although the wheels of taste always turn.

Its managers and the city council are making positive noises about widening its appeal from just a building with shops, with ideas such as a gym on the top floor and food and drink offerings. Certainly the arrival of TK Maxx will complement the current strong line-up of Waterstones, HMV, New Look, Primark and The Entertainer.

It is also sensible that the Brooks’ long-term future is being considered as part of the central Winchester regeneration, more clearly known as Silver Hill 2.

The High Street is changing but more slowly that the doom-mongers have been predicting. There will be fewer shops, certainly, but most people still enjoy the physical activity of going to stores and interacting with real people.

How the Brooks adapts to the future will be fascinating to see, from our office across the road.