This is why shoppers still want to come to Doncaster town centre - and why they are worried

It may have taken a battering in recent months.
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But visitors have told why they still love to come into Doncaster town centre.

With Debenhams set to close unless an 11th hour rescue can be found, and other chains including Jaeger and Peacocks also closing, retail is taking a blow.

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While visitors told the Doncaster Free Press they are concerned about the loss of big shops like Debenhams, they also stressed how important the town centre was to them.

Nicolena Fritz, of BalbyNicolena Fritz, of Balby
Nicolena Fritz, of Balby
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Nicolena Fritz, from Balby, was in town shopping. She said she would like more wool and materials shops, and missed the former Blue Banana shop, which used to sell alternative clothing and make up.

"I still come to Doncaster to shop,” she said. “I know where everything is, and it’s convenient. I really think it's a good place to come and shop, and I struggle to find things at Meadowhall. Doncaster has everything I need.”

"The only problem is there are a lot of beggars on the street, and you can feel unsafe. I wouldn’t come in on my own. I’d like a bigger police presence.”

Nikki McDonald, of BessacarrNikki McDonald, of Bessacarr
Nikki McDonald, of Bessacarr

Nikki McDonald agreed Doncaster was a good place to shop.

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"I like that everything is quite close together,” said Nikki, from Bessacarr. “You can bob in and do a lot in a short space of time, and there is a variety of different shops, so you can get pretty much everything you want. I like to come in for clothes as I like to see what I’m getting.”

"But I do think it will affect the number of people coming in if Debenhams closes. It’s a big loss. After Top Shop going too, it leaves a big hole. I’d like to see some middle range shoe shops, and somewhere kids can go. There used to be lots of record shops where they would go, but you don’t get those any more, and I think they miss having somewhere to go.”

Hilary Varley, of Rossington, said there were too many shops closing and not enough opening.

Hilary Varley, of RossingtonHilary Varley, of Rossington
Hilary Varley, of Rossington

She said: “I still like to come to the shops, not shop online. We need a full shake up of new shops.

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"Marks and Spencer is my favourite. Debenhams will be a big loss.”

Maureen Russell, from Dunscroft, said she had been coming shopping in Doncaster town centre since she was a child, and would miss Debenhams, as she bought a lot there.

"I think at the moment, I would feel safer if everyone wore facemasks in town,” she said. “But I think Doncaster is a good town centre, probably better than Wakefield, where I sometimes go, and is a city. Food and clothes are cheaper in the town centre these days too.”

Maureen Russell, of DunscroftMaureen Russell, of Dunscroft
Maureen Russell, of Dunscroft

Alex Mantaila , from Balby, said he liked to come to the town centre to shop and drink. “I come down for a coffee and to meet friends,” he said. “It’s got everything I need and I like going to the Burger King. It’s been all right since lockdown finished.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

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