‘Ashbrittle Shopping Centre now an eyesore’

24 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
‘Ashbrittle Shopping Centre now an eyesore’ Ashbrittle business owners meeting council officials.


ASHBRITTLE Shopping Centre is now an eyesore because of illegal businesses and trading causing massive congestion at the place, business owners have said.

Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter

The business owners based at the shops say large volumes of people now frequent the shopping centre worsening congestion.

They were speaking at meeting for the Ashbrittle Business Community held at Mt Pleasant District Office on Wednesday this week. 

Ward 41 Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe and Mt Pleasant district officer Mrs Marian Mverechena facilitated the meeting. Ashbrittle falls under Ward 41.

The meeting provided an interactive platform for Ashbrittle shop owners and the City of Harare to share ideas on how to enhance the shopping centre which has become an eyesore.

The meeting’s main objective was to explore ways of restoring the image of the shopping centre battered by economic hardships and general decline of standards. 

Ashbrittle business owners wanted to map a way forward as the shopping centre has become a blight because of the large volumes of people, illegal businesses and illegal vending causing massive congestion at the shopping centre.

The business community said buildings at the shopping centre were not being maintained leading to dilapidation.

There is also heavy traffic congestion at the shopping centre which has no water and toilets as well as no refuse collection.

Business owners said from 30 years ago when there were only four or five businesses, the has been no further development. The same infrastructure has remained unchanged but now accommodating well over 50 businesses.  

A businessman and resident who has been operating at Ashbrittle for more than 30 years now, Mr Martin Brusta of Brusta Motors gave an overview of the deterioration of Ashbrittle shopping centre.

He said the shopping centre cannot be compared to shopping centres such as Sam Levy’s Village in Borrowdale while those in other suburbs have evolved over the years while Ashbrittle remained stagnant with no development or expansion.

But Ashbrittle now accommodates more businesses despite the lack of expansion and there was now need to decongest it, said the businessman.

 “Back in the day, 30 something years ago, we were just a number of businesses but now I count over 50 businesses going on. Lots of traders and businesses going on so the shopping centre can’t sustain that volume of people. It becomes congested. There is no parking, people are coming in everyday for lunch and all the traders and their customers, we just can’t breathe,” he said.

Businesses at Ashbrittle are not getting running water and residents around the shopping centre have extended a hand to council to provide the local authority with the resources needed to make sure water reaches the shops. For the past four months, garbage has not been collected from the shops.  

“The lack of water and toilets with the volume of people there now is just not sustainable. The volume of people has outgrown the shopping centre. We just can’t compare ourselves to the models of other shopping centres, who have bigger parking spaces and have expanded over the years. Ashbrittle is exactly what it was 30 years ago when we had a handful of businesses. What has happened is the addition of 50 plus businesses. Many of them who could be illegal but no development and lack of basic amenities.

“We also don’t get our refuse collected. I suggest that businesses connect borehole water to their toilets for the sake of progress. As shop owners we had offered to provide council with what they needed to fix the water situation. We were told they needed to dig up in front of the shopping centre to put pipes. We can’t do that but we offered help of the other resources needed but we have not been given any feedback,” said Mr Brusta.

Other businesspeople bemoaned the fact that the shopping was unkempt with overgrown trees posing a risk to shoppers and workers.  

“There is also a problem of long tress. In the past a tree has fallen on Spar (supermarket). Fortunately, no one was hurt but that should be an eye opener. 

“Trees should be maintained. If there is need (they should be trimmed or cut because), they are a serious threat,” said another business person.

Potholes and the lack of street lights were some of the concerns raised at the meeting.

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