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  • in reply to: Car Park price reduction #113406


    Parking is free at Argos Plas Coch. Think on.

    Ferret, and that would be relevant to this conversation how? We are talking about Argos on Island Green, and the car parking charges there ….‘think on’. Whilst you’re ‘thinking on’, ask yourself why car parking is free in Plas Coch?

    For reference, Island Green Cark Parking charges:
    Maximum stay 5 hours, Mon-Sun 24 hours
    2 Hours £ 1.30
    3 Hours £ 2.00
    4 Hours £ 6.00

    in reply to: Car Park price reduction #113396


    Hi Benjamin, I can sort of follow your logic on the Island Green issue – however, Island Green is a bit different than other parts of the town, and you must look at the occupancy rates of all car parks within the town, not just one in isolation.

    Let me elaborate on why I believe, and I stress I have no facts to back this up just my gut feeling, Island Green is an exception:
    1) There is a train station, so people may pay to leave their car and travel by train. I haven’t used it but understand it goes up to Bidston, so would a method of commuting to Liverpool.
    2) It is inside a shopping area where people go specifically to collect items – like Argos, Asda Living, and Iceland. When I use to shop in Wrexham, I never once used Island Green car park unless I was picking something up from Argos – just because the car park was expensive, and is an arse to get to at peak times!

    In addition, there are at least 4 people, including myself, who are saying that car parking charges do influence consumer behaviour – but you are right in saying that it is not the ONLY factor. For instance, I may be tempted to pop into Alun’s shop to buy a bit of Kenny G, and think, it’s an arse going into town, add £2 on top of the cost of the CD for parking I might as well buy it off Amazon and it will be delivered straight to my door – the parking charge might have just been the final nail in the coffin! At that point I don’t even enter through Alun’s door, and then cannot make any impulse buys which I assume Alun’s business depends on to survive.

    Car parking charges could be described as the straw that broke the camels back.

    in reply to: Drinking in Rhosddu Cemetary #113355


    @Zinger -I saw the title of the post and thought it was in invitation, was about to whip out the BBQ! A bit disappointed now :(

    in reply to: Car Park price reduction #113354


    After I have had a couple of tins in the garden :)


    The decisions are already made prior to any councillor even seeing proposals. The tail wags the dog in Wrexham. The people at the top, now with the help of PwC, are controlling the narrative, dictating how, and what items are discussed. Its the present system of procedural organisation in WCBC which is a farce and needs changing. Every motion should be ratified by a full Council vote! And this is something the councillors can, and I would urge them to, change.

    And I’m not saying that the people at the top are deliberately doing things wrong, purposely destroying the town, I just feel that bad decisions are being made, hastily, in the current climate of cuts, and people are out of their depth – caught like rabbits in headlights, paralysed by the fear of making the wrong decision. “Quick, we got to make millions of pounds of cuts, I don’t want to cut x from this very noble cause, cut peoples wages, lay people off, I know, we’ll get in PwC who will take an extra 10% of any savings we make for their ‘expertise'”.

    And this is how it will go:
    PwC go in, talk to the staff at the coal face, see where the easy efficiencies can be made, recommend outsourcing for anything else. When the cut targets aren’t met, and PwC have pushed up the amount of money that needs savings (by taking their extra 10%), next recommendation – good old salami slicing time! Bing bang bosh, PwC get the money and can cut and run, councillors take the blame, people at the top have nervous breakdown :)

    The councillors are just fodder in the current climate of cuts and will end up paying with their seats.

    I know quite a few councillors, and most, not all, are really nice people who actually want to make a difference. These are not, in the main, career politicians in the style of Westminster, they are local people from all walks of life. And that is true across the political spectrum in Wrexham, take Neil Rogers (he is a very nice and pleasant man, councillor for the area my family were from, always went out of his way to help them), Alun Jenkins (my fathers teacher – never a bad word said about him), Carol O’Tool (lovely lady), David I Bithell and Andy Williams (both attended my house when I had a fire years ago, helped me when I was in need!), Bill Baldwin (my local councillor, very humorous guy, always helpful and will get my vote), Arfon Jones (I absolutely despise the party he is a member of!!! But he is a really nice guy, always has time for you, and willing to discuss politics in the pub!), and Graham Rogers (anyone who has spent any time with Graham always has a good laugh). Deliberately left out the councillors I don’t have time for, as it would not be fair criticising them when I have the right of anonymity.

    in reply to: Car Park price reduction #113350


    Hi Benjamin,

    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 :)

    in reply to: Bus Station #113259


    My take on the article:
    Cllr David A Bithell, Lead Member for the Environment and Transport, noted that the ‘move is designed to improve quality and provision of the bus and travel information provided at Wrexham Bus Station and provide a more safe and pleasant environment for the public to travel’.
    More throw away statements here, please tell us “how”?

    “there has been some concern of anti-social behaviour at bus station and also it’s to improve the appearance and improve the passenger experience”
    So PCSO’s for the anti social behaviour, and street cleaners – both of which are paid for by council tax.

    It’s not one of our core functions as a Council.
    Read “to be honest, we couldn’t give a sh1t about the service, we’ve got bigger fish to fry, and we need to get rid of this hot turd now as I’m sick of people complaining about it! The bus is for poor people, ‘bus w@nkers!‘” :)

    in reply to: Car Park price reduction #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).

    in reply to: Markets Consultation ? #113256


    The council have no love for the markets, and I would guess (and this is only my opinion) that the people at the top look down on Wrexham being a ‘market town’ and want the town to be seen as a ‘cosmopolitan area’. This itself is now an outdated idea as the ‘in thing’ is for a town to be more quaint, to offer something different, an experience – now Wrexham is an ‘experience’, but that is a different post :).

    Like everything else, the ‘management and running’ of the markets, at some point, will be outsourced which will fit in the wider context of outsourcing services. I believe that the council (and by the council, I mean people actually in charge i.e. the senior management) have no stomach (or more likely inclination) to sort out problems themselves, and are moving at a lightening pace to outsource EVERYTHING, in an effort to get costs ‘off book’! In several years time, when all these services are creaking (due to companies ‘managing’ the resource having to overleverage themselves to make service delivery partially viable) the services will be passed back to the control of the council to be either:
    1) Sacrificed as ‘not economically viable’ (for services they can justify getting rid of). This may well be the fate of the markets if they do not continue to be the ‘golden goose’ it has been in the past.
    2) Have huge volumes of money thrown at the problem (for services they cannot justify getting rid of i.e. social service related services).

    To clarify, I will not blame the companies who will need to overleverage the service (to run the service at a cost less than the council) – but the council, as they will want to continue to keep percentage of revenue (read markets here!), extract a large ‘owners fee’, or in the case of services that will need funding, simply underfund the service (similar to how local authorities are squeezing care homes). Cake and eat it stuff.

    Now, there are many of you who say “great, let the people of with the expertise run the service, let the market stall holders run the market”, I agree – but the council will not pass over the service to the stall holders, and will still extract money from the markets!

    What really makes me mad is WCBC will be paying PWC a large percentage of any ‘savings’ made for simply telling WCBC to outsource management/running of everything. Anyone could have done that!!!!! Ironically apart from WCBC ‘transformation experts’ – specifically the Chief Executive, Dr Helen Paterson (annual remuneration of £109,000 to £125,000), and Executive Director, Lee Robinson (can’t find how much he’s on, but as the Chief Exec’s number two :) must not be on much less) – I know, bad pun.

    Now, this is not a personal attack, I do not know, or dislike either of them – if fact, Dr Paterson seems like a very nice person when I have seen her speak publically – my issue is that they are two very highly paid individuals, who both claim to be self confessed ‘transformation experts’, and have had to rely on PWC to teach them to suck eggs. Don’t take my word for it, have a look yourself:
    Dr Helen Paterson
    Lee Robinson – all transformation experience.

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