May 12, 2016 at 8:56 pm #113251
Looks like the Town Centre Forum had yet another spate about car parking charges- why oh why do private operators and the Council have to argue over such an issue.
Prices are down good for motorists YES
Improved shopping experience The same as when prices were higher
More to do in town The same as when prices were higher
Increased footfall Why would it go up if nothing has changed with the two above
Eagles Meadow increase Are they new customers in town – probably not they are more likely to be displaced shoppers who moved to the cheapest car parking.
What I am trying to say is without a change in the actual offer in town then there is not likely to see much of an overall increase in footfall.May 12, 2016 at 9:57 pm #113257
Catch-22 here, offerings will improve when footfall improves, footfall will improve when offerings improve :)
This is why it takes years, even decades, to build up a good, vibrant town (bit of trial and error as new, interesting shops open – like the new sweet shop on the Wrexham.com article), and two consecutive bad quarters to wreck a town.
This is why I am so frustrated when the council do things that potentially put people off coming to the town (overzealous parking attendants, litter police, car parking charges, never ending road works etc.).
Another problem is the council has a ‘vision’, and will use public money to make it happen instead of letting the market decide (thinking of the Arts Hub here).May 12, 2016 at 10:12 pm #113258
The Council were slow to reduce their prices and still limit people to a two hour stay in many of their car parks . No doubt they now regret their tardiness, as Eagles Meadow reduced their prices first and as a result far more people are parking there.May 13, 2016 at 8:10 pm #113326
Looks like you’ve rolled out the same argument about Car Parking charges again Dylan. A few weeks after the announcement that the charges have been dropped and the offer seems the same. Ergo.
Of course, this is totally false logic as FWarp has so rightly explained. Firstly, it does take time, and it will take years to fix the problem. Secondly, the Car Parking charges are only one move in a necessary direction and the actual town centre will not improve without real Rates adjustments and more accessible Parking.May 14, 2016 at 9:10 am #113336
I totally agree with Dylan on this one and I particularly dislike the term ‘footfall’ and how it is being used incorrectly, repeatedly.
The best definition of ‘footfall’that I am aware of, is from IpsosMORI, who proffer the following definition – “The number of people entering a shop or a mall”.
Much criticism is levied against perceived excessive parking charges, excessive rates etc etc but I am wholly convinced that even if people were paid to park, it would not ensure that traders would see an upturn in their fortunes. As the definition states, The number of people entering a shop or a mall’ – that is the crucial point that is oft conveniently ignored.
As Dylan so succinctly states, the offer is not there and the attraction is not there,it will not encourage people to spend.
Shopkeepers need to up their game and provide the variety of goods that the modern consumer quite rightly demands and make their establishments a must see destination.
No sympathy at all with the incessant bleatings where everybody and everything else is to blame.May 14, 2016 at 5:17 pm #113350
I agree to some degree to what you have said, but have to totally disagree on others. I have put my opinion below for you to read and, naively, hope to persuade you on the merit of my points :)
And, putting semantics aside, regarding the word ‘footfall’ lets call it what it truly is – people with money in their pocket that spend it on goods and services :)
These are consumers, people who have a choice in where they go and what they spend their money on. I totally agree with you about shop keepers having to up their game, and provide the goods and services people want, at a price people are willing to pay, and must do so whilst providing good customer service.
The good old days of a captive audience has gladly passed, thanks in part to the rise of shopping centres (not talking about out of town developments, but more of shopping ‘experience’ centres such as Chester, Cheshire Oakes, Liverpool One, Manchester etc.) facilitated by the rise of the car, and, more importantly , the rise of the internet (and the associated befits of delivery to the door).
Both previously mentioned factors have already squeezed out a lot of uncompetitive, poor shops, and will continue to do so (which are why so many empty shops in towns like Wrexham) – and this is a GOOD thing, the ‘market’ is deciding! BUT, you must understand there is a handy cap on the remaining high street businesses that is not fair – RATES! How is it that a company like Tesco will pay far less than a small, high street shop, per sq ft, for their rates? These big companies are large enough to shift the ‘market’ away from the high street to the outskirts of town. Rates are outdated, they NEED to go! I, personally, want as little tax as possible in all walks of life (income tax, VAT, corporation tax etc.), but understand that we are in a difficult financial situation (as a country) and so the shortfall from abolishing rates would need to be plugged, with this in mind, rates should be replaced with sales tax – taxation based on actual consumption/sales, not a notional ‘rateable value’.
So, getting back to car parking charges etc. We are at the situation where new entrants (or battle hardened shops) are required to fill the void left in the town, most start-ups will fail, others will be on the bread line for a long time, and very few will start making a profit straight away! This is where other factors come in to play, outside the control of the shopkeeper, but potentially impact their profits enough to make their business not viable at this very delicate, ’embryonic’ stage of their enterprise.
Things that appear inconsequential and trivial on the surface, by the casual observer, DO have an impact. Things like car parking charges, ‘litter police’, over zealous parking attendants, ridiculous road works, anti social behaviour etc. influence the consumers choice of where to go. Whilst rates and high rent impact the shopkeepers ability to keep prices competitive.
Reading some of your previous posts, I understand that you are steadfast in your belief that these are not factors that deter shoppers. Whilst respecting your opinion, I wish to point out that human beings are complex creatures, have huge variations in opinions and how they react when confronted with choice. Just because these factors do not influence you, to say it doesn’t influence others is just plain wrong – as it influences me :)
Let me run you thought a typical scenario that unfolds every month in my house:
Kids start to drive me insane early Saturday morning, fighting, shouting….. Welcome to the weekend!
“Right”, I say, “grab your coats were off to the cinema”! “YEEEAH!” scream the kids. The wife says “Where are we going? Wrexham or Broughton?”
…..My mind starts doing typical male cost based analysis, cogs turning…..
“Right, it’s £4.50 for parking in Eagles Meadow for 2 hours, but will need longer than that with all the trailers etc., there are yet more road works on Chester Road, be stuck at traffic lights, guaranteed there will be yobs around….F@ck it, BROUGHTON!”.
15/20 minutes drive, we arrive at Broughton, the film starts in 2 hours, right, what to do? Grab some sweets! 10 minutes killed. What now? I’m feeling a bit hungry, lets eat out (don’t have to worry about ticket running out on car – we got time). Watch film. Come out of Cinema, my son say “Dad, can I go into the shop and buy a toy with my pocket money?”… we’ve got time (still don’t have to worry about a car parking ticket), “fine, I say”. Whilst in there, my wife points out that we NEED X, I’m having a nice day, don’t want to rock the boat – simply easier to say yes and hand over the money :). “What are we having for lunch tomorrow?”, says my wife, “Shall we go to Marks & Spencer’s?”….. and so it goes. The life of the consumer.
That morning decision has now totalled as below:
*One cinema trip costing £30
*One family meal costing £50
*Kids pocket money spent £10
*X pointless crap that my wife says we NEED £20
*Crap loads of food that will give me indigestion all Sunday £40
Not having to pay for parking…..priceless :)
Joking apart, that was £150 that could have been spent at the Odeon in Wrexham (paying a local persons wage), a meal in X establishment for the food, sweets from the new sweet shop in town, pocket money spent, Sunday roast meat from Jeremy’s the butcher etc.
Compare that to the ‘Fast show’ sketch that occurs every time someone has 5 minutes left on their parking ticket in Wrexham. Picture it, a family hurling themselves across town to get to their car before the car parking attendant whacks them with a £65 fine! Instead of having time to browse around the shops, make an on the spot decision to eat out, people have to get back to their car, and leave the town to go home.
The key to get people to spend their money is keep them there as long as possible :) Car parking charges are a barrier to that. I am SURE that I am not the only one who does this – but would not rule it out, m wife says I’m not normal all the time :)May 14, 2016 at 5:27 pm #113352
When does a post become an essay?May 14, 2016 at 6:08 pm #113354
After I have had a couple of tins in the garden :)May 14, 2016 at 6:24 pm #113356
The key to get people to spend their money is keep them there as long as possible :) Car parking charges are a barrier to that. I am SURE that I am not the only one who does this – but would not rule it out, m wife says I’m not normal all the time :)
Don’t worry FWARP .. very few of us are normal all the time.
It isn’t just you being fiscally efficient – my neighbours have stopped visiting Barmouth since the parking charge along the sea front.
They often used to buy fish and chips from The Mermaid and park up along the sea wall – along with a line of cars as far as the eye could see. The last time they went there wasn’t a single car parked along the pay & display area. Hardly anybody walking about the town either.
They go to Llandudno mostly now instead and buy their fish and chips from Chish’N Fips and park up along the road overlooking the sea and Great Orme.
An excellent example of a council modifying visitor behaviour.May 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm #113357
Nice to see Benjamin actually tag-teaming with Dylan….and of course turning the economics text books upside down
Whilst it is obvious that a low or high Car Parking regime or an accessible or inaccessible Car Parking regime might make little difference to the state of play between Monday and Wednesday, it will make a discernible difference between 2016 and 2019. Consumers make their decisions about shopping for all sorts of obvious and complex reasons and if these reasons add or subtract 5% more/less people to the town, that will help or hinder businesses according to the pattern. 10% would be even better!!
Shop keepers talk about footflow in terms of the number of people flowing on foot up or down their street. The flow does not guarantee that a business is offering the people the right product at the right price but it at least helps. Playing the terminology game with the word seems such a waste of time when everyone knows what we are talking about. When Car Parking becomes cheap and accessible, businesses will soon set up and I note the success of the Borras Parade and the Gwersyllt site, both of which have Car Parking availability right outside the shops.
I do accept Benjamin’s point that you can reduce Rates, Car Parking charges, or any other costs and this will not guarantee that businesses will prosper if they are useless anyway. What is missing from this assessment is the fact that businesses which are existing on the margins of existence can rarely invest for success (or are disinclined to do the same) and any positive movement on cost and accessibility will help the town prosper.
Complaint? Please use the report post tools or contact Wrexham.com .
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