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There are many ways in which Wrexham can be rebranded as a modern Market town:
i. A modern Market town is about more than its Markets. The assumption is that a town makes a conscious effort to promote small, local and experiential retailing. This means every part of policy determination is aimed at producing small unit retailing and service provision and it means that things like Planning and business support are geared to that objective.
ii. The Manchester Met have produced Reports like Markets Matter on this subject and for Wrexham to become a modern Market town the Council and the Community have to be on the same page on this subject. Judging by social media responses, the Community already are and the Council needs to move away from the delusional chasing of City status and, instead, chase the realistic and supported.
iii. The Markets themselves leave much to be desired and whilst they may not be the shambles that they were a decade ago, they are not coherent. Ty Pawb was established as an Arts Hub/Market hybrid yet the totally logical thing to do with it was fuse Arts with a Crafts orientated market….the same as they do all across the globe. A Pottery with a potter onsite selling produce would have helped as would an Arts studio where Artists can produce for Market sales. If you replicate that logic across the Crafts, a dynamic Market could have been produced with a selling focus (not the farty stuff). Towns like Abergavenny locate their outdoor Market on a tangent to their indoor (to cross-fertilise) whilst room is made available internally for itinerant traders. We still have no Food Hall, yet Bury does. People love these. Additionally, where food is there has to be Car Parking and access. This is 2019 and people won’t walk with bags of food. Variable stall prices need to be developed because a balanced and varied Market finds it hard to attract niche trades if Rents are set at a homogeneous high price.
iv. A Marketeer and a Marketer needs to be appointed to run the show.
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Alunh.
If I remember back to the time when the 9 acre was subject of a huge anti-building campaign, the issue was about the building on a green space, not a public use amenity……in which case you were at least 50% right Matt. I suspect that there will now be a new round of protests.
On the Grove Park site and the football club. I can’t see how the idea of Wrexham FC will get around the Covenant but if it does, it does. If, legally, there is a specific Covenant with criteria based restrictions, the fact that many people like the idea of the football club having it will likely make no difference. If, however, the Covenant does prove porous, then why not revert to the original intention. Is it possible that someone has made a discretionary concession on the Covenant matter?
You should read the latest Welsh Language Act with its emphasis on a ‘muscular’ approach to the language. Hope you’re all ready for what’s coming
Ama Express and Council Watcher both suggest that a Rates concession would make little difference to businesses in Wrexham……for differing reasons. Not so
The Rates system is currently stifling business and forcing many into a stick or twist/bust calculation about their location. As an example, if you don’t wish to have a Rates Bill coming at you each month, you’ll locate your business on a small Secondary site with no Rates. There you’ll struggle for passing trade and capacity. Prospects=Not great. If you wish to take a massive risk, you’ll locate your business on the main street, pay the huge Bill…..and possibly see any potential profits drain away. A 3rd choice is to do what I’ve done. Find a medium sized unit near enough to the main street to be relevant, big enough to be viable…..and pay a Rates Bill, but one that is not as crippling as the main street.
Council Watcher mentions Rates Relief. I don’t get any. My Rates are too high and I don’t qualify. In England, even before the Budget, I would have had Relief. My Rates Bill is the biggest monthly payment I make and I don’t even get my Bins emptied (Sheefag moment opened up). If the Rates Bill could be lessened across the main street on most properties (as the Hammond proposal indicates), Businesses would be encouraged back onto the main streets with higher passing trade and might prosper. Might
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
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