Altrincham has often been used as a good example of a town Wrexham should emulate , with its new shopping development and market hall. Like many towns it will struggle now with the closure of Rackhams the anchor store of the new development, followed today by the announcement Debenhams is also to close in the town.
As a former resident of Alty, its the market and the number of independent shops that have transformed the town centre, being so close to the Trafford centre they realised they couldn’t compete. A culture of encouraging independent traders and a focus on getting the “vibe” right have made the difference. The loss of Rackhams will make little difference. Wrexham could do worse than look to Shrewsbury market or even Oswestry
Worked there in the late 60s and early 70s, revisited recently and was surprised how vibrant the place was, it was evident that the revitalised town had reinvented itself around individual traders offering a wide variety of services, plus the market and had centralised the public transport around the old railway station.
Altrincham was on its knees and changed. It’s not difficult to work out what is needed. For those who find it so, just read any of several Reports on Towns (The Manchester Metropolitan University Report being one).
Towns need reconfiguring with smaller shops offering local produce and local service. They need to be easily accessible and largely small and differentiated. Shops need to offer stuff that is either not readily available in a Supermarket or Online OR offer stuff that customers like to browse through before buying (Clothes, Vinyl, etc).
Towns no longer need big and bland. Online, Supermarkets and out of town covers that. They also don’t necessarily need shops supplying goods. Services are just as popular.
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