Brand Wrexham in the post-Market town era

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    It has been fascinating running a business in the town of Wrexham in every year since 1977. The amount of attempts to invigorate and reinvigorate the town are now almost the stuff of legends. Debates have been pursued over City status (or not), Inner Ring roads (or not), the preservation of Wrexham’s historic Market (or not) and more recently the attempt to map out an image of Wrexham’s future. In the last 12 months we have seen the advent of ‘Destination Wrexham’, proposals to adjust the nature of the Peoples Market and include an Arts Hub, and the arrival in town of the Manchester Metropolitan University. Seemingly Wrexham is the guinea pig for all sorts of projects to move the town on and rebrand it as fit for future purpose.

    Oddly…….or should I say perversely……..the fact that Wrexham might cease to operate as a Market town in the near future seems to have slipped under the radar. The town currently has 3 indoor Markets and outdoor Markets as well. Recently, Wrexham has had a splurge of interesting street fairs. Whilst I would be the first to recognise that our Markets as constituted are now CRAP, I would also be the first to argue that the TOWN has missed a trick in forging a distinctive identity in branding itself as an alternative to Chester. Whilst Chester is a beautiful CITY, this does not mean in the world of Manchester Met that other towns can not step forward with a distinctive offer to grab the shoppers and tourists. This, by the way, is exactly what Bury is doing (whilst confronted with Manchester on its doorstep).

    Unfortunately, whilst 3 Markets bustling with people would be a unique selling point and allow a town that is endowed with a large shopping development like Eagles Meadow to trumpet what it has, the Council seems destined to consign a branding tool to the dustbin. I suspect that the mix of an inferiority complex (that sees the Arts Hub as cover for aesthetic failings) and a tantalising Assembly capital grant has befuddled the Councillors. It would appear that the Coup de Grace is coming to a Market near you.

    This is tragic and scandalous. It is also stupid. Whilst I accept that the Markets are currently CRAP (!), they don’t have to be. Disgraceful management over years has been coupled with a refusal to invest what was once a real revenue stream. The Markets have endured death by neglect. This week it is not too late to do something about the situation. By next week it might be.



    I have to agree with you Alunh about the Markets. If you recall the meeting a few years back that we both attended in the Council offices, we were told the new council management were going to reinvest the rents from the Markets back into the Markets. Today, I see no reinvestment in either the Butchers or General Markets, and the Peoples Market is still in the lap of the gods. I have heard that the Council are doing away with the full time and part time market assistant managers. It is my belief (sadly) that WCBC have no interest in the Markets. or else they would have made some moves three years ago.


    In fairness, the 3 years ago that you mention Jim did mark the moment when the Economic Development team did pull their fingers out and did have a plan to move matters forward. Like yourself, I attended a meeting where the whole matter was kicked up the road for review. The decision was made by Councillors and not the Economic Development team. Unlike some of those who are paid to manage the town, many of the Councillors do not buy into the idea of a brand Wrexham or many of the ideas bandied around by Consultants or the Manchester Met. For some perverse reason, a façade is played out and unless “free” money is parachuted in by the Welsh Assembly actually ear-marked for something specific, they seem to shy away from sensible recommendations. Salvaging the Markets and the Independent sector requires bloody hard work fused with some degree of vision and we seem to have exhausted both



    The Butchers and General Markets could benefit with money being spent on them and could be profitable trading hubs of the town. They are buildings of character and could be developed tastefully.

    The Peoples Market is what it is. The basement of a multi storey car park; the interior is vary basic in appearance and the lighting is not inspiring in the least.



    This FOI looks like it is going to open a whole host of issues– has anyne heard anything about the checks on the cracks in the Peoples Market.


    The Monitor

    Wrexham has already been ‘branded’. Branded without any consultation with the electorate or public in any form.

    Wrexham? Oh of course … that is where the biggest PRISON in the United Kingdom is. Now that is branding for you. *cough*…



    Also it is Drunks Paradise as shown on Sky and other TV programs
    Has anything been on TV for the extra activities Nigel and the retailers have arranged — no
    Do you see anything about all the concerts held in St Giles — NO
    Do you see anything about the Proposal being located on the largest industrial estate in Europe – No
    When do you see anything positive about Caia Park — No

    Who are responsible for the negative image — the Media!! ( in fairnes is generally positive)



    You certainly are an enigma Dylan. Your views are either myopic or formulated through rose tinted specs.
    When are you going to realise that Wrexham is just a small town where nothing of real interest happens, that would be of interest to a wider audience?
    Do you honestly believe the ‘highlights’ of Wrexham life you indicate above, really warrant exposure on TV?
    You cannot, in all reality get away from the fact that Wrexham is what it is. A small town with small town problems and small town ideas. It’s, and your visions of grandeur for it are sadly misplaced.



    If the People’s Market is developing structural problems, taken together with a heating system and lifts that need replacement, perhaps it is not the ideal building to be turning into an Arts Centre!



    The point is the building needs massive repairs and putting an arts centre their using Vibrant and Viable Funding plus Arts s a way out for the Council. Who has been asked to help with the project If anyone from the community has then start asking questions- now..

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