Plans are set to progress to allow coach tours to drop off and collect tourists in the town centre.
Last night’s Town Centre Forum meeting was told there has been movement on an ongoing idea to bring coach tours, and therefore more visitors, to the town centre.
A fact finding meeting was held (venue being Costa!) between the Town Centre Forum Chair, Wrexham Council’s Town Centre Manager and a Coach Operator who has worked at a local and international level. Councillor Bill Baldwin was also involved via email after the meeting.
Chester was given as an example, where tourists arriving via coach follow the ‘dropped off, get off, push off’ process. This ensures there are no long stay parking of coaches in the city centre, with many drivers filling up lay-bys and even motorway services.
Creating or providing an area for coaches to benefit from amenities was also suggested, with facilities such as water to wash the coach.
The meeting was told that the fact finders discovered that ‘toilets and a cup of tea are the two main things when people get off the coach’.
It has been suggested that High Street is the best placed location for a drop off point as there is St Giles as a ‘feature’, the pedestrianised areas, three markets, Eagles Meadow and other facilities all nearby.
The meeting was told following the ‘drop off push off’ model the High Street would not be tied up to traffic and an initial target of five coaches a day would be the aim.
A rare output was then mentioned, with a meeting with Council officials arranged for tomorrow morning to progress the idea with the aim to get it presented to elected members for debate.
Clarity to the direction of travel along High Street was mentioned, with a drop off point outside the Bank Bar being preferred. This did seem to be an odd choice as there is an existing bus lane on the other side, towards the Wynnstay. Likewise nearly £78,000 has already been spend to create the bus lane and various raised pavement works as our FOI in 2012 discovered.
Displacement of current parkers, including Blue Badge holders, was raised as a possible issue to obtaining the relevant traffic orders.
Councillor Hugh Jones also added: “There is one employee dealing with traffic orders, there is a waiting list and backlog, so this would have to take its place in the queue.
“Some wards have been waiting 12 months or more for traffic orders. That’s the reality.”
Forum Chair Mr Critchley pushed on saying: “This can be done very quickly or very slowly. If the will to do it is there we can do it.
“If not they can drop off at Eagles Meadow, sorted.”
Councillor Bill Baldwin said: “I have been banging on about this for over two years.
“If we don’t get people into town we won’t have a town centre.”
Hopefully there will be more news after Thursday’s meeting.
(As an aside, no details were given however ‘some sort of sculpture trail’ is due to feature in town in the coming year so the people of Wrexham have some more culture to look out for!)