Published: 10:26, 17 December 2019
| Updated: 14:13, 30 December 2019
A grandmother and former parish councillor has slammed Bluewater bosses for ignoring her calls to close the shopping centre down on Boxing Day.
Retired fashion machinist Gwen Tripp, 88, has some serious needle with the Greenhithe shopping complex, which she says has blighted surrounding homes and roads with traffic and pollution ever since it was built.
The ex Swanscombe and Greenhithe parish councillor from Greenhithe wrote to the Bluewater management team in November asking they show some seasonal goodwill and close the centre on Boxing Day, but received no response.
Now she’s spoken out, she says to expose the management’s “arrogant” attitude and demand they take her concerns seriously.
“It’s sheer hell and it will be every day until Christmas,” she said. “All we ask is for Boxing Day. A few weeks ago we wrote to the management and asked how nice it would be if we could get Boxing Day but there was no reply.
“When I was young it was lovely to have the family at home at Boxing Day. It’s family time. Surely people have got enough in their houses to go over Boxing Day without going to the shops for one day.”
Mrs Tripp said that in the early days of the shopping centre, shop owners agreed to stay closed on Boxing Day, but the arrangement didn’t last.
“It went from bad to worse,” she added. “Now everything is open. A friend told me M&S is closed but everything else is open.
“The first Christmas that it was really bad we had relatives coming for Boxing Day – when they finally arrived they said they would never come again. We used to have to visit them after that.”
A statement from Bluewater said: “We have yet to receive this specific inquiry surrounding our Christmas opening hours but we welcome all feedback from our guests and the local community.”
Pressed for a response, they added: “Boxing Day is a popular day for our guests, with many enjoying the start of the traditional sales as well as family friendly entertainment including Showcase cinemas, Gravity and ice rink.
"Plus, shoppers can take a break from cooking and dine at one of over 50 places to eat and drink at Bluewater.”
The company said they were unable to share sales figures for Boxing Day or any time of year.
More by this authorChris Hunter