A Daily Examiner story from 1979 about Maclean’s vibrant retail sector is in contrast to the town today.
A Daily Examiner story from 1979 about Maclean’s vibrant retail sector is in contrast to the town today.

Ripe to revitalise

KILT wearers in Maclean who get a chilly draft up their tartan this winter will be in for a shock after Mackellys shuts its doors this week.

They won't be able to buy underwear in the town.

This sign of the retail times in the Scottish town is in stark contrast to Maclean 32 years ago, which was a buzzing service centre, and the retail hub of the Lower Clarence.

A story in the Daily Examiner on Thursday, November 22, 1979, detailed the commercial centre of Maclean, where “shopping was a pleasure and a treasure”.

The town was booming.

Encouraged by the construction of the back car park and Carneys Arcade, almost every type of retail goods were available to shoppers from Maclean's then retail landscape.

Among the stores were three supermarkets, three butcheries, and two pharmacies.

“All the ingredients required for a thriving commercial centre,” the story said.

Fast forward to 2011 and what a difference there is in the town's retail sector.

The Lower Clarence Retail Strategy has identified the need for a larger grocery store in the town, something supported by both the chamber of commerce and other retailers.

Once this goes ahead, developer Andrew Baker's waterfront plan looks set to become a reality and the town's revitalisation will be in full swing.

Maclean chamber president Ed Munday said Maclean was identified as a major town by the Department of Planning's Mid-North Coast regional planning strategy.

The strategy was adopted by the NSW Government in 2009.

“By comparison Yamba is lower down in the hierarchy, it is given a town status, so Maclean is higher up the hierarchy,” he said.

“That's the hierarchy it's given, and the department is expecting Maclean to outstrip Yamba in terms of importance.”

Mr Munday said a recent chamber survey of its members highlighted the need for growth, which would be stimulated by a full-line supermarket.

“70% of the responses indicated a preference for a supermarket to be located in the town centre, in the car park area,” he said.

The way forward for Maclean was not to take business away from Yamba and Grafton, but to exploit its riverside location.



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