Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Gretna's Gorgeous Factory Outlet

a masterpiece of contemporary design with neatly clipped hedges
I'm sneaking some time out today from my hectic routine to bring you this exciting review of the Gretna Factory Outlet. You know, the first time I saw this magnificent creation I was on a bus down to London and I almost choked on my sandwich when I saw it flash by. Right beside the motorway shouting out, "Come and buy!", the sheer bravado of it all had me in meltdown. My hand is almost shaking with excitement as I write these words.

First of all let's deal with the location. On the actual border between our fair land and England it's the first thing you see of Scotland when you come up here from down there - retail bargains! It's what we planners call a gateway feature - that's one box ticked. Secondly it's a little bit special - this time we're looking at a development that is steeped in the Scottish tradition - yes pitched roofs with different colours of tile and buildings that look like old farm steadings housing over 50 stores as well as five cafes. Over 40 of these stores are shoe shops so it's a great place for pedestrians. That's 125,000 sqft of sumptuous leather retail. I usually prefer modern design but this is dead right for Gretna - like a piece of old Fife transported to the Border so a big tick there for conservation. It's also very popular with dogs and below you can see some of the top quality finishes and materials that have been used throughout.
Gretna is enduringly popular with dogs
Those of you familiar with the history of Gretna will know that women have always played centre stage in the industries of the town - originally in munitions factories while the men were away at the war. Today, if you are part of a pre-booked coach group you can enjoy a meet-and-greet service from beautiful young maidens dressed in tartan mini-skirts. This is sophisticated and tasteful, totally Scottish and a real boost for the modern industries of the town which include tanning shops, massage parlours and of course the wedding scene at the Old Blacksmith's Shop. Oh and one thing you might not know is that a car park is a virility symbol in the dynamic world of Scottish property development - it's size that matters - and you might say that Gretna is deeply fecund with its huge expanse of asphalt and neatly clipped hedges.
aerial view of Gretna Factory Outlet - great!
I was once given a Harris Tweed cap which a friend had bought for me in Gretna. My lovely young wife flushed it down the toilet after one of our rows but I recall that it was very stylish. Perhaps I'll get a chance to go there myself one day and replace it.

This is a work of profound ability, readily accessible by public transport too. For example if you left Inverness by train at 09:18 in the morning you could be in Gretna by 15:10 in the afternoon. Enough time to buy a pair of shoes and rejoice with a mug of soup. Yes, with so many boxes ticked this is a giant of the Scottish town planning scene and I commend it to you all.


Nemesis said...

You know, it's really not too far from me and I have been promsing myself a trip. Now that I've read this, I realise it's long overdue.

I presume that the Christmas decor will be an added attraction and has been in place since August?

I feel a Mr Visa spending rush coming on.

Dave Thompson said...

It must be irresistable

Adopted Domain said...

Dave, now that I've discovered your blog, I feel that the blinkers have been lifted from my eyes.

You've shown me again and again how clever planning policies and generous developers are transforming our run down cities, and helping to drag small town Scotland into the 20th Century.

I'll never look at a car park the same way again.

Nemesis said...

Dave, it's true. A prophet for our time.

Dave Thompson said...

So it's really great - YES! I knew it wouldn't disappoint. I will try to get down there once the Xmas decorations are up! Thank you

Dave Thompson said...

Dear Adopted Domain
I'm so happy to read your comments - I feel understood now and much less like a voice in the wilderness. Many thanks. If there is anything you would like me to review using my extensive knowledge of town planning, please let me know. With every nest wish - Dave T

Anonymous said...

Can you review and let everyone know what Edinburgh and Scotland missed out on because of the nimby element and conservationist mafia - the beautiful Caltongate...

Ditto said...

Are you taking the mickey on Inverness? Why Gretna over Livingston?

Dave Thompson said...

Livingston eh? Is there something there I should know about??? Thanks for taking part - Dave T (serious)