This morning the Town Centre Forum (TCF) had its monthly meeting in the Guildhall – and as always Wrexham.com popped along!
The forum is made up of Council staff and representatives plus the odd topical stakeholder – plus of course those with business or other interests in the town centre.
The forum is open to all to attend so if you think this might be of interest pop along to the next one its on at 08:30 on Feb 5th.
Here are the main topics covered with our notes on the debate, posted in order they were mentioned:
- Mad Friday Renamed ‘Safe Friday’ – A combination of higher police presence , toilets open on Brook Street and extra support services saw the ‘mad friday’ evening before Christmas passing safely. It was commented how people are coming into Wrexham’s night time economy from as far as Liverpool and overall how it was considered a successful evening.
- Victorian Market – Ann Blore, of St. Giles’ Church reported around 5,000 attendees within the church itself, with around double that number outside. The success prompted discussion to hold a similar style market on a quarterly basis. Attendees were open-minded to the possibility of holding the event more frequently however Amanda Davies, Marketing & Promotion Manager for Wrexham Council, did point out that promoting the event to a reasonable level would incur costs in the region of £2,000. Ruth Rees, of Martin Rees Jewellers gave the event her backing but said “promotion is key”. It was mooted that Easter Monday could be a possible date for another event.
- Town Perceptions – Discussion moved on to the report into perceptions of the town centre to be scrutinised at a council meeting tomorrow evening. Amanda Davies provided a brief overview of the key points but stressed that nothing was final. She also said the council ‘can’t do everything at once’ but the plans represented a realistic approach to addressing the negative perceptions.
- QR Codes On Landmarks – Whilst Councillors Neil Rogers and Hugh Jones were busy consulting their iPads, Ruth Rees raised an interesting new initiative to display QR codes at historic points in major towns and cities. The codes allow people to access information about the historic landmark whilst there in person. QR codes are on display at St. Mary’s Cathedral and more are planned for the future in and around the town centre.
- Police Update – The police pointed out that at Christmas there is usually a spike in crime, and compared this Christmas and last Christmas. Recorded shoplifting was down 39%, from 59 in December 2011 to 36 last month. The public order offences were also down 38% year on year. The police said the key element to the reduction is the high visibility police presence , and cooperation with shops.
- Conmen – It was mentioned that some bars and other establishments had suffered at the hands of conmen working a scam to ‘do people out of change’. The details were not given, however it resulted in monetary loss for the business.
- Shoppa Hoppa – The TCF thanked the council for the scheme, and the idea of local businesses contributing to the cost was mentioned but fell on stony ground. You can read our story about the Shoppa Hoppa’s review and our FOI on costs here)
- Wrexham Food Festival – The event will be moved forward by one week, so will now be on the 18th and 19th of May. The message has been sent out saying if anyone wishes to get involved or sponsor, to get in touch.
- St Davids Market – On the 2nd March there will be a new market held for St Davids Day.
- Empty Shops Embarrassing The Town – A proposal was raised to create vinyl designs to brighten up the street scenes on empty shops in town. The old Burton’s shop looks ‘in a particularly sad state’ due to the fly posting and old displays – plus a broken window. Alex Jones of The Bank Bar wanted to know whether any of the £20,000 allocated to improve the perception of the town centre would be spent on cosmetic improvements to the vacant shops around town. Isobel Watson responded that costs have been requested (aside from the ‘perception budget’) but the council will need permission from the owners of the properties to make any changes. Kevin Critchley, of Eagles Meadow claimed the best way to gain their attention was to ‘embarrass them’ with the current state of shop appearance.
- No Event Calendar – The lack of an events calendar was raised again in the TCF, however the council replied there isnt one due to financial restrictions, but they will enquire about possible sponsorship. The TCF said that people want a ‘hard copy’ of events, but there is then an obvious cost involved.
- A Boards – For the second month running A frame adverts were mentioned, with the feeling being that if used sensibly they are good adverts and not more unsafe than street furniture. The council are due to look into the management of A Boards on the streets.
- The Crusaders – A representative of the Crusaders Rugby Club spoke to the meeting saying their season starts shortly, and asking if anyone wishes to sponsor parts of the club then to get in touch.
- Business Rates – The TCF was told about revaluation changes (as we wrote about in October) and the subject has been added to a future TCF agenda, with the aim of making representations to the Welsh Assembly and other related bodies.
If the above is of interest and you care about and/or involved in the Town Centre Forum then its worth popping along to the next one – 8.30 a.m at The Guildhall on February 5th.
Future dates were pencilled in, all in the Guildhall:
5th March 4:30pm
2nd April 8:30am
7th May 8:30am
4th June 4:30pm
You can read our report of December’s meeting by clicking here.