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Inverness nostalgia: 5 things people miss about the Eastgate Shopping Centre

By Annabelle Gauntlett

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Eastgate Shopping Centre.
Eastgate Shopping Centre.

The Eastgate Shopping Centre was first opened in the city centre during January 1983 and while the ’80s may only seem like yesterday for many city locals, it’s hard to believe that it was four decades ago.

In aid of this, we have taken a look back to see what the people of Inverness miss about that period, but in particular from the Eastgate.

From some beloved shop favourites like Debenhams and Monsoon, to the centre’s atmosphere and buzz. Some parts of the Eastgate have changed beyond recognition since then, with many shops and cafes no longer in business.

After hundreds of comments from our readers, here are a few things the people of Inverness have said that they miss about the Eastgate.

1. The atmosphere

Many locals claimed that the atmosphere of the Eastgate is no longer what it used to be.

Tiffer Forbes said: “I miss the atmosphere and buzz. It’s now a stale place and frankly a poor excuse for a shopping centre and dining experience.”

Cathay Sengupta added: “It has gradually become a soulless building. There is very little there to entice an old buddy like myself.”

2. Zara

Others mentioned the loss of bigger businesses that once existed including Zara. The company is one of the largest international fashion companies in the UK and once existed in Inverness. However, the popular fashion chain closed its store in the Eastgate Shopping Centre in January 2011.

Jan Duncan said: “Zara is my most missed shop. Now there are so many more empty units. It was a really good centre, but is now dead and lifeless.”

3. The food court

Dozens of people reminisced about the previous food court that once featured in the Eastgate.

Kiri Rachel Macfarlane said: “The new food court is too expensive and you can only order on your phone. I stood waiting for over 10 minutes and no staff appeared, so I just went to M&S to get a sandwich to eat while my kids played.

“It won’t last if they don’t take orders and there doesn’t appear to be many waiting to place orders anyway. The Eastgate is depressing these days.”

4. Shops

From Debenhams and Monsoon, to Phase Eight and Laura Ashley, many popular shops have come and gone from the Eastgate over the years.

Nicola McMonagle said: “If they were to put M&S in the retail park, then I don’t think there would be any reason to actually go to the Eastgate. There is nothing in the town other than good restaurants and bars now, it’s just lots of Scottish shops for tourists.”

5. KFC

Last, but not least is KFC which closed down a few years ago. The popular fast food chain, known for its fried chicken, was a huge hit for many locals and relocated to Milburn Road.

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