Katia

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  • in reply to: Wrexham is in North Wales ! #68938

    Katia
    Participant

    One person that may know – Isobel Whateversername – as Town Centre Manager it could be something that falls in her remit ?
    Maybe somebody could tweet her or Destination Wrexham to ask ?

    in reply to: Road Works #68823

    Katia
    Participant

    Pedestrianisation theory promotes increased footfall but has it worked out that way, in any town, not particularly Wrexham.
    Take Pontypridd…go on…take it…
    ‘They’re going to ruin us with the pedestrianisation’ – Wales Online
    Looking at the old pics of the town centre when cars could drive up Lampbit St and park up outside shops, thats when Lampbit St had shops of course, not council offices, or drive though Hope St down to Regent St and access Charles St, Chester St and High St, maybe things would be better without the pedestrian schemes, better access for delivery vehicles also.
    Part of the plan no doubt was to prevent cars parking up for a short period in town for free, and to coral motorists into fee charging car parks instead.
    At this point your town centre becomes an attraction with paid parking and has to compete with similarly available attractions sans parking fees – or with cheaper rates.
    It is well documented, not hard to find evidence either, a brief google about Michigan Theatre having to close through lack of parking decades ago, once competitors with free parking arrived. Alarm bells for Odeon Eagles Meadow perhaps.
    Michigan Theater: Most Beautiful Parking Garage on Earth | Urban Ghosts
    Witness the fate of the Pointe Orlando shopping and cinema complex on International Drive in Orlando, how could anything go wrong there.
    Well it charged for parking whereas within a short distance there were several similar offerings with free parking. Guess which one bombed. Initially they tried to compete by parking fee claim refunds at dining establishments – not good news for Frankie & Bennys at Eagles Meadow ?
    Maybe customers are different in Wrexham ?
    Anybody like to wager they are exactly the same – when Broughton opens it will crush Eagles Meadow so long as they pitch the parking properly ie free !!!

    Good point about the public transport into Wrexham town centre.
    Hasn’t Wrexham Council reduced bus subsidies by around £495,000 this year ?
    Some bus companies have either reduced services or cut them altogether.
    Which certainly doesn’t help town centre traders.
    Buses and taxis provide essential access to the town for many of us without cars, so absolutely correct to say increasing parking costs are not solely responsible for putting people off coming to town – cutting the buses does this as well.

    People shouldn’t mind too much if posters on this forum criticise the local council, after all they ARE accountable, and businesses and residents do provide their living.
    If we don’t like a shop we don’t have to patronise them but we have to pay our Council Tax regardless, and no haggling around on price either.
    Similarly, we can moan about WAG, the point traders raise re business rates is that the re-evaluation has been postponed to 2017 – its overdue, traders are right to raise business rates as a topic.
    Business rates should already have been revised downwards, not doing so is arguably tantamount to putting their hands in the tills.

    More attractive parking, improved bus services and lower business rates may not save Wrexham town centre but they certainly should help keep things open rather than everything being turned into flats for students that may or may not be coming.

    in reply to: Best places to eat out, in or around Wrexham? #67879

    Katia
    Participant

    @NJones 14597 wrote:

    Out of interest, where do people stand on being asked to leave a card behind the bar?

    Don’t mind paying upfront at all.
    Sometimes its better as it can take too long waiting for the bill.

    Wouldn’t leave a card behind the bar under any circumstances but thats just me.

    in reply to: T.E.Roberts demolition #68762

    Katia
    Participant

    I haven’t overlooked the bus drop off being outside Fat Cat, Dylan, if M&S put a Simply Food ( for example ) in King Street, I am confident plenty of people will manage to find it.
    The planning proposal states there will be spaces for 14 cars and mentions a vehicle access to Grosvenor Road, you could have entry from King Street, exit onto Grosvenor Road. Completely impractical perhaps, but I’m just throwing ideas out here.
    In fact if looking at the planning, it doesn’t suggest Unite are expecting to be all that busy with either permanent staff or visitors, so it seems a bit of a waste for what should be a prime retail location instead.
    If we are going to start knocking down buildings in King Street, and why not, we could even end up with a mini Morrisons, tiny TESCO, a little ASDA and a small Sainsburys – we know how they group themselves together.
    King Street could be brilliant for bus shoppers, and taxis would be really busy also. The independent traders could spread themselves around this new hub and flourish.
    If we build it they will come !

    Has to be better than office space.

    in reply to: T.E.Roberts demolition #68761

    Katia
    Participant

    ” One interesting point in the Design and Access Statement refers to the choice of location, noting: “The site is outside of the central retail area defined by Wrexham Council, and is on the peripheral of the commercial district. “

    “The council has indicated a preference for town centre office development outside of the central shopping zone.”

    Yes that is an interesting point.
    Is that statement the view from Unite The Union or from Wrexham Council ?
    King Street was once a major part of retailing in Wrexham, with MotorMania, Phase One Records, T E Roberts, Laminate Flooring, Jones The Computer, Ecclestons Bakery, Merit Travel, Barnes The Chemist, Wrexham Office Supplies, Wrexham Leader Office, Prontaprint etc, as well as estate agents, solicitors , hairdressers and tattooists. Go back far enough you would have Wrexham Scooters and the milk bar cafe.

    So at some point a decision was made that King Street is peripheral, by that it looks like they mean excluded, I wonder if the business owners were formally informed of this stance. Along with a revision of their business rates, presumably some of them thought they were trading in the town centre, albeit not the epicentre, that would have been Woolworths.
    This maybe explains why King Street never benefited from Christmas decorations, or if ever, fairly poor efforts. It wasn’t in the ” Central Shopping Zone “.
    Yet for many visitors coming to Wrexham the first shopping street they see will be …. King Street.
    What is the cunning plan ?

    Instead of running down this area, and hampering it with a stupidly badly designed and dangerousbus station King Street should have been assisted and developed into an attractive first stop for shoppers.
    Now by any account there truly is next to no retail there, which is a shame.
    Having a new office block for Unite The Union is better than a run down derelict shop front, although people will have their own opinions about how useful this will be for the people of Wrexham. Being a Union office will it even pay business rates, or are they exempt ?
    Employing 20 odd staff has to be good, but I would have liked to have seen a Tesco Express or similar in its place. It could even be a good site for a new M & S – save Wrexham shoppers getting on the D1 to Chester !
    This would be a much bigger boost for footfall in the area, and help the taxi drivers also.
    Its probably too late but if we make King Street into offices the shopping will be gone for good – which is bound to have a detrimental effect on overall town centre trading – even for the ones in the actual town centre !

    There must be existing office space suitable for Unite in Wrexham instead of converting shops ? What about the old job centre in Regent Street – or suchlike.

    in reply to: Queen’s Garden Party. #68696

    Katia
    Participant

    Much more food for thought on the story today about the WAG costing the public purse £423,000 this year alone on subsidised canteens.

    Maybe local AMs would like to comment on whether they feel this is appropriate.

    In this context by comparison Wrexham Council look positively fiscally efficient.

    BBC News – Welsh government meal subsidies 'stick in the throat'

    in reply to: Vinci Car Parking Charges #68636

    Katia
    Participant

    Kevin Critchley, Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre Manager mentioned that Vinci are responding to rate increases.

    ” Of course I’m worried it might put people off shopping here and we’re concerned they have gone up by such a huge amount, but basically Vinci have said its rates have gone up so they are increasing prices. “

    So do we know how much their rates have increased, and to whom these higher rates are payable ?

    Its all down to the cost of doing business in the town.
    Somebody on here mentioned how many pairs of shoes Brantano has to sell to cover its costs, let alone make a profit. How would anybody like to run a store knowing they have to sell thousands of pairs of shoes just to pay the business rates. Theres a point where you may as well just leave your money in the bank and forget it.
    From Vinci’s perspective how many cars have to pay to park to cover their business rates, before they start to see a return on their investment ie building a clean, safe, well lit car park.

    Two things that will help businesses in Wrexham town centre are lower business rates ( revaluation urgent ) and cheaper parking, ideally with a free period of at least 90 minutes.
    Even the short stay parking available works – needs to be more of it.
    I regularly wait for my bus in King Street bus station after work and its amazing how many customers park up, collect their Chinese takeaway and drive off, all within 10 to 15 mins. Imagine the impact if this wasn’t possible.
    Similarly the new cup cake cafe in Charles Street, forgetting their online delivery for a moment, it really must boost trade that customers can park up free, collect their cup cakes and go. Imagine again if there was no free parking.
    Roll out this principle to every store in Wrexham and the benefit to the tills would be profound.
    Looking on Wrexham.com and elsewhere its proven beyond doubt that shoppers don’t like paying for parking, or at best seek value for money parking, it is something needing to be accepted as simple fact – then do something about it.

    The idea that out of town shopping centres with free parking harm town centre shops is being tackled by the proposed ” Tesco Tax ” which though rejected so far in England, is already introduced in similar form in Scotland and Northern Ireland. What has WAG to say on this topic I wonder ?
    Applying a levy of up to 8.5% on stores with above a certain level of floorspace and using it to aid local shopping businesses may redress the disproportionate application of business rates on small local shops.
    This piece in todays Telegraph is illuminating – as are the comments.
    ‘Tesco Tax’ will cause price hikes, retailers say – Telegraph

    Now I wonder what will happen if this goes ahead and more taxes are raised by local councils from Tesco and suchlike. Will the money really go to help local shops in town centres – or will it disappear into a black hole that supports council balance sheets for any purpose ?

    Recently it was said that perhaps we need to rethink town centres as being full of shops, that landlords business models are broken, as are those of local shopkeepers.
    It is a fair question to ask if the most broken business model is that of local councils raising enormous revenues from town centre businesses that no longer reflect the reality of trading in todays environment.

    Councils need to be more efficient, charge tax payers less AND deliver more attractive conditions for conducting business.

    If the idea of the ” Tesco Tax ” doesn’t appeal I wonder how the other proposed revenue stream will be viewed – a levy on internet purchases, the so called ” Amazon Tax “.
    Local councils will levy a local sales tax on internet purchases collected at point of sale like VAT, then distributed back to the local economy to help pay for local services.
    Now that would really make people spit out their pips.

    Research has shown that 95% of money spent in large supermarkets leaves the local economy for good, compared to 50% spent in local businesses.
    So is it not in everyone’s interest to support local shops ?
    In the old days if Billy the butcher buys his car from Dave’s garage, Dave buys his meat from Billy the butcher, they both have fruit & veg from Jimmy the grocer and all the money goes round and around locally.
    Now that Billy and Jimmy have gone out of business neither will be buying a car from Dave and he closes down too.
    Now the council has lost three sources of income, with more and more by the week – and so it goes on until eventually there is next to no money from local business.
    A tax on purchases made by internet will replace this revenue and protect local services.

    Councils want 'Tesco tax' on big supermarkets – Business News – Business – The Independent

    So just for now could we just have a better parking offer to help our traders and a revaluation of Business Rates – downwards.
    Then maybe even Vinci will drop their prices !!!

    Lets hold off steam rollering the town centre shops and building more flats just for the moment.

    in reply to: No bin collection due to strike action #68420

    Katia
    Participant

    Not sure if this has been linked to already on Wrexham.com but WCBC website has been updated.

    I think Wrexham Council should be praised for doing this.

    Industrial Action Thursday 10th July 2014 – Council News – WCBC

    ” Update: Refuse collection arrangements following the Industrial Action on 10 July 2014

    Collections on Friday 11 July are for the normal FRIDAY collection only. The residual [blue/black] bins not collected on 10 July will now be collected next Thursday, 17 July.

    For those green waste bins that were due to be collected on:
    •10 July – the next collection day will be 24 July
    •17 July – the next collection day will be 31 July

    Please remember that you can take your green and residual waste to any of our three Household Waste Recycling Centres in the meantime. “

    in reply to: No bin collection due to strike action #68419

    Katia
    Participant

    @wrexview 13930 wrote:

    Council becomes first in England to collect household rubbish every THREE weeks | Mail Online

    We think we have problems!

    Note that Bury is a Labour controlled Council.
    The Clash and Eric Pickles no doubt agree….Give ‘Em Enough Rope.

    in reply to: No bin collection due to strike action #68418

    Katia
    Participant

    With regard to the comments from Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude in the House Of Commons regarding proposed tougher anti-strike laws.
    ” When unions go on strike its hard working people who suffer the consequences most. Vulnerable people that depend on public services, parents who are forced to take a day off work or arrange child care because their local school is closed.
    These strikes risk damaging those who are working hard to get this country moving again. “

    That is pretty insulting to public sector workers !

    The tv news as usual focuses on bins not being emptied and parents having to arrange baby sitters. The government highlights that budgets have to be balanced and little money is in the pot for raising pay. Nobody seems to be arguing that plenty of money is collected for the pot – but the distribution of money needs completely reworked. Many are paid too much, maybe more deserve higher wages. The ones at the bottom should have higher pay funded by a reorganisation of pay scales further up the food chain.
    Apart from street lighting having your bin emptied twice a month is one of the most high profile things a council provides – if not sorted the council will soon find people get very angry – very quickly.
    I support our bin collectors having a higher % pay rise funded by pay freezes and reviews in other areas.
    They may well be able to get away with other things but not emptying peoples bins is a PR disaster.

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