Poor marketing, absentee landlords and a failure to act have placed Maitland’s iconic High Street in limbo, a long-time resident has said.
For the past 35 years John Rademaker has been a close observer of the Maitland and Morpeth landscapes.
But while one has thrived, he believes, the other has not.
“I came here in 1978 and I remember the traffic going through High Street, the trucks and the lights, Galton’s department store, but everything changed,” Mr Rademaker said.
The former businessman said the city’s planners should look to Morpeth for inspiration.
“Back in the late 1970s Morpeth was in the doldrums and now it’s thriving. There are no empty shops and it’s bustling,” Mr Rademaker said.
“And I think the critical factors we need to look at include sympathetic development, proper marketing and a mix of residential and business.”
But Mr Rademaker said High Street also suffered from a shortage of landlords willing to invest in the area.
“We really are struggling with absentee landlords; we need people who want to invest in this area,” he said. “I want to walk down this street and be proud of it. We have some magnificent buildings, but High Street is not quite making the grade.
“This subject needs to be put back on the table so we get people talking and not let it go.”