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Following on from Wrexview………the funniest waste of money that I’ve seen in the last 12 months was spent on those mobile yacht looking part-fabric signs that were dotted around Chester Street, Henblas Street and Hope Street for awhile. Because half the Universe pointed out that there was no visible evidence in Chester Street of where Ty Pawb is, some bright spark must have gone out and spent (wasted) precious cash on these waste-of-time things. It was like watching kites flying on the beach in Rhyl, and only occasionally did they point in the right direction
I see above that there is discussion concerning about “idiots” on Facebook wanting to see shops in the town and not houses, and the possibility that they are living in la-la land. Other people talk of converting whole commercial premises and whole streets into houses or apartments so that they will bring some desired economic clout into a town.
Let’s have some perspective. The debate is about bringing into play long redundant upstairs capacity and perhaps contributing to the need to augment the living space capacity of the town by a few hundred spaces. It shouldn’t be about shops per se. That would be crazy.
There’s nothing that brings economic activity to a town like a business. My old shop (Phase One) served over 2000 purchasing customers a week (over 3000 through the door) and these came from somewhere seeking something. Even now on dinky Bank Street we have a few thousand customers through the door per month. Whilst many of the writers on here dismiss what is reported in the media, many of these are actually tourists and out of town shoppers. Convert, for example, my existing shop into a house/apartment and calculate how much economic activity that will bring to the town. Worked it out?
Secondly, the town’s businesses pay business rates…….not household rates. My business unit has a Rateable Value of 12,500 (approx) and I pay over £6000 pa in Rates. On Henblas Street the Rates paid will be between 20,000 and a few hundred thousand pounds per year, in other words sustaining several teachers and nurse per unit pa. If you substitute a House/Apartment for the same, the Rate take will drop like a stone. Perhaps a different option could be tried, even at this stage. Drop the Business Rates on these units in such a way that a Business will set up there. I’m not, for example, on Bank Street in a cramped shop by choice. it’s by the Rates deterrent.
Lastly (for now). Businesses provide jobs and provide services. New businesses don’t have to be old-fashioned shops. What many towns are doing is pressing landlords to sub-divide their big old-hat units and developing small units for the Independents. If the Welsh Assembly would only get its Rating policy in line with England’s, a lot of small enterprises could spring up…….even in Wrexham. I now employ 4 people (self included). Mine is a dinky operation……but there are lots of people who would trade in Wrexham if the Rates base changed
I can’t disagree with the idea that in the last couple of years the Peoples Market was a depressing place. It wasn’t always like that. Having gone in there in 2006 (after Phase One) I found the place vibrant with every stall occupied. Indeed, it was the Peoples Market that provided WCBC with its main revenue take from the Markets. This lasted until late 2008 when a confluence of Eagles Meadow, global crash and then T J Hughes closure came along in quick succession to undermine the place. I left in 2013.
I would also agree with you that traders do have a habit of complaining. Having been a trader, I do have to point out that much of this comes with frustration. I have never seen such a shambles as the running of the Markets back then and it was a comedy show. Eventually, some positive moves were coming along to restructure the place but that was when WCBC decided to completely restructure the place.
Whilst you claim that it is the trader offer that you think poor and the food offer good, you probably missed the fact that the place was originally sold to Wrexham’s public with many big ideas (cinema, state of the art Arts, et al). The closer that Ty Pawb came to opening, the more that local businesses like myself tried to find out about the plans for the centre, many of us with an eye on placing a unit therein. What we noted was underwhelming and you will note in the news feed that many businesses did not feel confident about up-taking contracts. Little has been done in the way of Marketing (as opposed to advertising) and the sense remains that a target market has not been identified and the overall offer shaped to suit. The launch was a sad blend of brilliant (15,000 punters through the door) and disturbing (no evidence of on-going events) and the Hub hardly hit the ground running. The fact that the Council has failed to get a sign on the Chester Street end of Ty Pawb even now might tell you something about the Hub’s launch. The Hub’s management need to sit down and have a root and branch look at the offer in Ty Pawb. There does need to be a coherence of offer (Arts fused with Craft and Arts produce on the stalls), a target market or an aggregation of niches identified, and work done to entice the aspirational of Wrexham to trade profitability within what could be a roaring success
I like your optimism Matt……as in none. Don’t necessarily agree with your conclusions but I sense that you might prove correct in your projections if the status quo continues.
Sounds contradictory? Not really. Just because the Internet has caused major problems along the High Streets of towns doesn’t mean that town centres have no future. The Internet will obviously clear out lots of businesses but others could easily step up to the plate if certain things happened. To an extent, you’re already seeing this. Department stores have been obliterated by the Internet, but Cafes, Nail Bars, Arts and Crafts businesses, Independent shops offering locally sourced unique stuff are growing in different towns. What is true, however, is that the town centres won’t survive if Government insists on squeezing the last bit of life out of enterprise courtesy of the Rates. These get given to Government by the bucket in return for……..nothing………..not even the bins emptied. The closer to the town centre, the bigger the Rates. What do they use these enterprise shafting things for? Why, to replace street paving with…….other street paving……….and Markets with……Arts Hubs. Could I just suggest….leaving the money with the businesses…..and they might actually stay on the oober-expensive streets. Rates, Parking and Access generally. Sort these matters out and you might get more businesses like mine in Wrexham………..not as good as mine of course (lol)
I wonder if the town’s planners are yet sensing a pattern. Supermarkets all setting up in a lovely circle around the town creating a wonderful doughnut. Each armed with a Car Park free for customer use, costs helped out by the lower rates outside the town centre.
Meanwhile, in the town, the once social hub of the community, top dollar Rates blended delicately with either no access, no parking or parking charges. It does seem perverse that the powers that be (and we’re not talking about WCBC alone) seem determined to see the old towns across the UK replaced by out of town shopping malls merely to have the towns looking run down and depressing.
There’s a huge amount of work going on to turn the town around but it does need a bit of the old common sense to come into play.
Am I the only one yawning? Yawn
Nice of Matt to reveal the power that I now appear to have at my fingertips (lol). I’m actually pleased that someone has got off their backside and posted a few positive reviews even if they are all insiders. I do actually want the place to succeed and Trip Advisor reviews are a must for places that actively seek tourists coming to a town armed with little info.
Might get around to posting a few favourable reviews of my own shop if I get the chance
Just been alerted to the Trip advisor reviews of Ty Pawb. Bearing in mind that this has become the bible for people planning trips (in some quarters), it was worrying to note that Ty Pawb does not even make the Top 50 of visitor attractions to the town, has mustered up a mere 5 reviews, and one of them absolutely scathing.
If that was my project, every member of staff responsible for that lady’s poor experience would be gone……never to return. Worth a lookJuly 23, 2018 at 7:24 pm in reply to: Welsh Medium Secondary Education and the Groves School #153312
Looks like the site is going to come under the microscope once againJuly 16, 2018 at 8:55 pm in reply to: Welsh Medium Secondary Education and the Groves School #152983
Interesting reference to Oswestry and Llangollen from Peterthewatcher. Amazing how much cost burden parents will shoulder if they think it worth while.
Zinger’s point about Wrexham’s two “super-schools” is also worth pondering on. If you check out the pattern on the numbers front, there was a rapid decline on numbers in both schools and this may be now irreversible. Now you might think that this reflects on the standard of the school but most of us appreciate that the decline has got more to do with parental concerns about the behavioural patterns of a minority of the pupils in both schools, behaviour that has ebbed and flowed according to the ability of each school to keep trouble in check. What amplifies the behavioural patterns is the past willingness to have mixed ability classes across a range of subjects so that each “super-school” has a large number of classes occupied by able students and less able (side by side), motivated and less motivated (side by side). Whilst I am sure some bright spark on here can make a philosophical case for this state of affairs, any teacher working in this environment will tell you through their tears of despair how tough it is.
Anyway, I digress. The escapees from the bog-standard comps want educating and apparently many of them now see the Welsh medium school as a viable alternative, the non-sexual equivalent of a friend with benefits. Can I make a plea Welsh Assembly/WCBC. Either sort out the post-11 education or…if neither of you have the balls or ability to do it…..at least get the kids into the Groves courtesy of the Welsh medium…..and kill two birds with one stone
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