JAMES Bond’s step-mum has launched a withering attack on Chester’s leaders for the decline in the fortunes of “our once revered city”.
Kirsty Craig, who is married to Bond actor Daniel Craig’s father Tim, is concerned about the growing number of empty shops, the lack of cultural activities and anti-social behaviour at night.
Kirsty, managing director of Lower Bridge Street-based commercial recruitment agency The Business Connection, wrote to The Chronicle after reading an article headlined “The Two Faces of Chester” in last week’s edition.
She said: “A quick stroll through the city centre reveals a depressing and increasing number of empty and boarded retail units.
“Granted this is partly down to the recent economic downturn, but more worryingly Chester seems to have been in demise for sometime and the council must take responsibility for the lack of action in addressing the usurious rents and rates charged on the retail and business sector.”
And Kirsty, who recently attended the London premiere of her step son’s latest film Defiance, attacked the closure of the Gateway Theatre where Daniel, who was born in Liverpool Road, Chester, was taken as a young boy.
“What seems like a complete lack of TLC for our once revered city, including the obvious decay of the Chester Gateway, the ever decreasing state of the pavements on Bridge Street and Lower Bridge Street, maybe the reason for the lack of tourists who stopped visiting Chester well before the “credit crunch”.
“Or maybe it’s our half-hearted attempts at marketing some of Chester’s unique features – the pathetic attempts to excavate the UK’s largest uncovered amphitheatre being a prime example!”
Analysing the state of Chester after dark, Kirsty, whose Chester clients include financial services firms MBNA and M&S Money, added: “Finally, if you dare, why not try an unsavoury night out in the town centre?! A complete lack of positive and robust police action has led to a feeling of intimidation on the streets of Chester after 10pm with what seems like a night time economy focussed purely on drinks promotions.
“As a long standing resident and business member of Chester I desperately want to be proud of the city in which I have worked for over thirty years, and run a business for the last twenty. I hope this helps open people’s eyes to certain problems that need to be tackled NOW for the long-term success of Chester.”