September 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm #67985
Part of the problem is the lack of support for local businesses. When I was in business I employed a couple of people as well as keeping myself and my wife in gainful occupation I did not receive a bean from local or central government to help me expand my business. Yet when large national or multi national companies decide to expand into the area millions are thrown at them by way of incentives, and maybe Rate and Rent holidays as well. As soon as the incentives run out they’re gone, but the local business always remains. Many small businesses can maintain as many people in work as one large one.September 23, 2014 at 8:27 am #67991
There is a lot of conflict in the Council reporting. The Annual Performance Report reports on targets for “business start-ups” whereas the statement in the Daily Post says the objective is to grow corporates, not small business.
What is the outcome of this under scrutiny
The occupancy rate generally is down, and is on Amber, but the Council lettings are on target and are Green.
Every locality needs a balanced economy, and in the UK in particular, having small indigenous business that grow into medium sized business, are the lifeblood of the future of business and jobs, and the supply chain for corporates. (Plenty of evidence in the public domain to substantiate this).
The area indexing at 14 points behind the UK average (ONS published data) is proof that the economy is way behind. Long winded reports are ducking the issuesSeptember 24, 2014 at 9:00 am #67979
@alunh 15307 wrote:
You’ve misinterpreted what I said here.
The main reasons why Companies come and go on, say, the Industrial Estate are outside the ins and outs of Wrexham Council. JCB have recently expanded and contracted their staff levels for macro-economic reasons and that pattern can be seen elsewhere. In town, HMV did not come to Wrexham because of Wrexham Council, nor did they leave for this reason. TJ Hughes had national not local issues to contend with (though they may have had local issues as well). The main drivers of employment are not the Council but factors beyond the Council.
That said, I agree with the thrust of what you were saying
I was referring to the town centre in particular. The ‘shop window’ of Wrexham County PLC. The murky dealings of the WAG and the former WDA are worthy of a thread on their own.. :)
The shops you’ve mentioned, HMV and TJ Hughes, are brand neutral, comparable to on-going businesses such as WH Smith, Argos etc. They exist everywhere as their brands do not target any particular demographic, architecture or neighbouring businesses. My concern is those shops, restaurants and services that make conscious decisions to avoid Wrexham yet are investing heavily into neighbouring towns and cities, in some cases with more than one store.
Of course the council can not directly control the letting of an empty unit such as TJ Huhes but it can do two things:
Firstly, with input from existing businesses, shoppers and external consultants if required, there is now a desparate need for short, medium and long term aspirations for specific areas of the town centre. Once this is achieved then it should be printed on A0 and stapled to every office wall in the Guild Hall. Perhaps then we may start to some communication between different council departments such as lettings, planning and town management. When I see some of the council’s own units they have leased out, I cant believe there has been any round table discussion beforehand to decide whether they will be positive or negative for the town. Also, with a roadmap in hand, perhaps we will begin to see some tangible results from the many Coucil and WAG funded collaborations which at the moment appear to achieve very little – I’m thinkning of Town Centre Forum, Destination Wrexham, Local food first, Town Centre Steering Group (what ever happened to that??) etc.
Secondly, as discussed ad nauseam on these forums, the Council has to be seen to be maximising the potential of its own units, primariliy the markets. One of the most depressing council statements to come on the back of the Quaterbridge report was that ‘investing in the refurbishment of the Butchers Market would not guarantee increased revenue.’ Such woeful lack of ambition is behind much of the lack of progress over the past few years.
Anyhow, as I said previously, let’s see what changes this week brings..
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