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Wycombe's Eden centre celebrates fifth birthday
SHOPPERS and Eden workers formed the number five to celebrate the High Wycombe shopping centre’s fifth birthday.
About 50 workers and shoppers, lured in by Krispe Kreme doughnuts, gathered outside Eden’s flagship store House of Fraser to mark the shopping centre’s fifth anniversary today.
Goodie bags and vouchers were also handed out to lucky shopaholics – who were full of praise for the positive effect Eden has had on the town.
Mica Lisk, 22, said: “It’s brilliant, it has got everything I could possibly need and I pop in every day in my lunchbreak.
“I wasn’t here pre-Eden but I’m told Wycombe was run-down and this revitalised the town, so it has done great things.”
David Griffin, who has been manager of Shopmobility for 20 years, said his organisation has been able to help double the amount of people since its office moved into the shopping centre.
He said: “Eden has put Wycombe on the map, unfortunately the timing with the economic climate isn’t ideal, but it is still doing well and is a major success story.
“I remember this area [House of Fraser] was old office blocks and a dirty bus station in which the diesel fumes choked you.
“Now, it looks good, the car-parking has more than doubled and it has rejuvenated High Wycombe – it’s what we were lacking.”
Clare Podbieleski, shopping with mum June and three-year-old daughter Pollyanna Richards, said: “I moved here about that time and it was rubbish – but I like Eden, it's a good shopping centre.”
Thousands of people lined the streets as Brazilian dancers and a brass band performed at Eden’s firework-filled launch on March 13, 2008.
Cllr Lesley Clarke, who was Leader of Wycombe District Council at the time, opened the shopping centre and hailed its impact.
She said: “I think it has given a lot to the town and it is not just the retail side, we have a new bus station which was desperately needed, we have a cinema in the town centre – it has been a big plus for Wycombe.
“I think Eden is better than I thought it would be. Some of the other shopping centres are boiling hot and Eden was never meant to be an enclosed space. I think it’s really nice.
“And hopefully it will only get better. We were lucky in the sense it came just before the credit crunch, but obviously that has had an effect on its growth.
“Now we have to look at Frogmoor and the High Street, which will be part of the council’s Masterplan.”
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