Frontrunner: He Arket Inn
As the coalition cuts start to bite, Petersfield’s hard-pressed businessmen have been given a boost by a new set of annual awards.
Petersfield In Boom will award a trophy and a free set of corrugated tin to the best-maintained empty shop or pub premises in the town – and the move has already been backed by Tory MP Damian Hindsight.
“It’s important to recognise that, even as we’re wrecking the economy, there’s no need to be scruffy about it,” said Mr Hindsight. “Obviously a few businesses have gone to the wall even in prosperous Petersfield but I’m sure the town can maintain its dignity by keeping its High Street up to scratch.”
A frontrunner for the Petersfield In Boom award has to be the Market Inn (actually now known as the ‘arket’ since the ‘M’ fell off months ago), which has been boarded up for years with tasteful – and matching – metal sheets in every window.
Also in the running is the former Petersfield Electricals shop in Lavant Street, which has opted for the ‘abandoned’ rather than ‘closed down’ look, and Petersfield police station which has pretended to be an official building even though it has been filled with tumbleweed for years.
The former White Hart pub is not thought to be in the running because technically it is still a business – a car park clamping and fleecing operation – and the 99p Shop may be allowed to enter on the basis that’s it’s not a proper Petersfield-style business anyway and probably would be closed down if most of the population had their way.
Late bids for the title are expected to come from the library, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, the Taro Leisure Centre, the Grange Birth Centre, Petersfield Hospital, Petersfield fire station, and all state schools – just as soon as the Con-Dem government gets round to closing them down.
“It’s a great idea,” insisted a delighted Mr Hindsight. “If it proves as popular as I hope it will, we may extend it and have a section for the best dressed unemployed person…”