Town Centre Masterplan excludes the voice of businesses and public

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  • #141185

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    The Scrutiny report being discussed next week appears to now show that the voice of the whole business community in Wrexham is no longer valued- all of the meetings that are being held are Council Officers.

    1. Why is there no business representation?
    2. How come the Council think they can regenerate the town when they have no funding to invest and are reliant on trying to obtain grants rather than working with the private sector investors.
    3. Clearly, the Town Centre Forum which does not have representation is now totally ineffective.
    4. The only growth at present are charity shops – two new ones in the past couple of weeks and another opening next week next to Gerrard on Queens Square over 15 now within the town centre –

    http://moderngov.wrexham.gov.uk/documents/g3731/Public%20reports%20pack%2006th-Dec-2017%2016.00%20Employment%20Business%20and%20Investment%20Scrutiny%20Committee.pdf?T=10

    Business should make sure they turn up to next weeks Town Centre Forum in the Guildhall on Tuesday 4.30pm — YOUR voice is desperately needed to scrutinise what is happening.

    #141205

    Matt
    Participant

    I think the problem is, unlike most councillors having their leisurely Tuesday afternoon jaunt, messing about with microphones. Most business owners will be too busy working hard during the hectic festive season, which seems to be make or break these days to actually attend.

    I’d be very interested to know what this so called town centre masterplan will yield in Britain’s harshest retail environment it has ever seen. Massive alarm bells are going off – instead of chains folding after disappointing January sales, the big collapse is happening already. Nothing is impacting directly on Wrexham yet as we don’t even have anything worth closing down anyway. Toys R Us has announced massive store closures across the UK – will be interesting to see if the Chester one gets hit. Thomas Cook is closing stores. Then there’s all the bank closures announced today. 2 high end furniture chains have just gone bust 1 after the other. To top it all off the Mary Portas save the local high street plan was a massive failure as over 1,000 shops in the 12 towns that received her scheme funding have closed in the last 5 years. So quite a bit of doom and gloom.

    On the upside Wrexham does have some very vibrant & successful local businesses in the town centre. It’s just none of them are bricks and mortar shopping. You’ve got the likes of Fat Boar, Emz Cakes, King Street Coffee, The Bank, Voodoo Moon etc… all doing very well for themselves.

    There needs to be a realignment of what a town centre is used for. It’s just too easy & cheap to get all purchased goods these days from supermarkets & the internet & that isn’t going to change.

    So in light of that, the mix needs to be pushed towards non-retail commercial – with the new Welsh Investment bank being set-up in Wrexham it would be an attractive proposition to get financial services moving into the town centre if commercial rents/rates were made competitive. Also room for tech firms if funding is made available for them, coupling with the new Welsh Gov backed business incubator. Also, chronic housing shortage you say? Convert some of these underutilised retail spaces into apartments. Then third and final part – more community and recreation activities. There’s plenty of pubs & bars already, but more non-alcohol type venues would be welcome. Maybe some more upmarket restaurants and actual spaces for young people and kids to get out of the house and socialise and not feel like a nuisance. Oswestry has a brilliant soft-play centre for kids and has video games and nerf gun activities for older children – Wrexham has the one in the Squire Yorke and a few elsewhere that aren’t great. Nothing in the town centre.

    I’m building all this in my mind like it’s the Sims. So I’m pretty sure the reality of any major urban space paradigm shifts have an unlimited number of hurdles.

    #141206

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    I appreciate that business is busy this time of the year but the report makes no reference to involving business people. I am sure that any business owner will say that one of the most crucial things that affect their business location is whether they have shops either side that is clean, tidy and above all their doors are open. Retail and town successes re totally interdependent on EVERYONE. The arrogance of the Council in the report looking to find success from within the corridors of the Guildhall or in the case of this report the corridors of the Council offices on Ruthin Road is really taking the Micky.

    Congratulation to all this businesses and individuals that have set up the Saturday events — most of the effort coming from outside of the Council.

    #141207

    The Monitor
    Participant

    Well said Matt. A good summing up of the wretched state of Wrexham Town, and the Council, including Officers.

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