Later this week a plan to address negative perceptions of the town centre will be considered by Council Members.
A group comprising of both Council Members and Officers met to assess a survey of town centre businesses and analyse the retail landscape in the UK before arriving at a set of recommendations to take the town centre forward.
Among the recommendations is a plan to market the town centre on themes of character, ease of shopping, variety and enjoyment. Some more specific ideas are to create unity using window stickers across the town, invest in a promotional film highlighting what the town centre has to offer visitors, and the creation of a mobile application. There is a budget of £50,000 mentioned, with £20,000 being allocated to marketing*.
The report also states how 100% of respondents to a survey last year said their turnover had decreased, however in 2012 that changed so 29% saw an increase – with 35.5% seeing it stay the same as 2011’s figures.
The ‘negative and sometimes incorrect press coverage’ is highlighted as something that needs ‘addressing and changing’ within the report. (Wrexham.com aired our views here on this topic).
Commenting on the negative press one local businessman who did not wish to be named told us “Wrexham has less empty shops than many towns of similar size across Britain , you would not think so by the negative press. You must praise the positives. Success breeds success!”
Some of our readers would like to see more of a focus towards the market town roots, an example being the Victorian Market held at St. Giles’ Church last month. Referring to the market ‘Adam’ from the Wrexham.com Forums remarked “One of the most pleasant evenings I can remember having in Wrexham. For me, that’s exactly what a modern market should be. Good quality, local craft/produce which you can’t buy anywhere else. Why shouldn’t this work once a month?”
Criticism has been levelled at the group putting forward the recommendations without having held an open session with local business people to discuss plans, with the local businessman telling us “It is unfortunate that the Task and Finish Group did not have at least one open session where local business people could exchange and discuss ideas with them. The Town Centre is inclusive and should be marketed as such, everyone who has a business in the town wants it to thrive and be successful.”
The report in question can be viewed here and will be presented to the Employment, Business & Investment Scrutiny Committee this Wednesday.
(* The report mentions spending, sadly not £20k, but £500 with Wrexham.com. We won’t be doing ‘pop ups’ as the report states, as we hate popups as much as everyone else – but are happy to help promote the town even more than we do already – details here if you are interested !)