An open question about shops in town.

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    Rex Ham

    With the Henblas Street development soon to be empty, I have two open questions for the Town Centre manager and the Town centre forum. I’m not being mischievous in asking this question, but would like to know.

    1) When a shop closes down in Wrexham, is an “exit interview” held to understand why? Clearly in the case of BHS, the reason is obvious and nothing can be done, but I’m thinking about Peacocks who have closed in Wrexham but remain open in Mold. Thorntons and Greenwoods are two others which come to mind.
    2) How does the town centre manager or the forum, contact national companies without a presence in the town to attract them and what sort of response do they get.

    I ask because by enlarge, it is shops which attract people to places like Wrexham town centre and then the cafe’s, coffee shops and restaurants can also thrive.

    I guess I could invite the manager of Eagles Meadow to comment as well. They seen to attract a good variety of shops.



    While we are on the subject…
    Back in July 2013 the question was asked of the then (still ?) Town Centre Manager – did she consider herself value for money ? Presently unanswered {still ?}.
    Does anybody actually know what the TCM does and if they do, are they able to share ?

    Obviously our TCM is not to blame for the shops exodus in Wrexham but nevertheless it would be interesting to know.

    It would also be interesting to know whether any assistance was or is in place to help family or local businesses that are not nationals or multi-nationals to set up shop in Wrexham or to keep trading. If the policy has been to solely focus on “nationals” it has to be argued it hasn’t worked out very well has it ?
    April 10th, 2016.
    A new manager for Wrexham Town Centre has been confirmed.
    At this month’s Town Centre Forum Meeting it was announced that the Town Centre Manager, Isobel Garner would be moving to a new role in Project Management at for the People’s Market / Arts Hub.
    Ms Garner has worked as Wrexham’s Town Centre Manager for the past seven years.
    Her position has been taken over by Amanda Davies, who will fulfil the role of Town Centre Manager alongside her current job in events and marketing for Wrexham Council.

    Wrexham Leader
    July 12th 2013



    I think this is a very good question. Why are some of these national companies leaving Wrexham yet staying open in other areas. Who is asking these questions of these companies? I guess it has to do with sales etc. not being good enough for that particular store but then that begs the question how these stores survive in other towns. Do more people go there than Wrexham? I read an article today that the Henblas street area could become the heart of Wrexham with cafes and restaurants. In my opinion, that is what Eagles Meadow should have been, and left the major stores which are now down there in out town centre.



    It is interesting that this question has been posed. Clearly shops leave for a reason, or to be precise, reasons. National problems account for some withdrawals, but not others.

    In Wrexham, Eagles Meadow drew many of the multiples from the town centre and they were relocated to Eagles Meadow. This scheme was given the go-ahead by the Council who endorsed the move. This meant that the rump of town centre shops were then exposed to lower foot-flow patterns, yet higher rates relative to their EM competitors. The Welsh Assembly has refused to bring forward a Rates adjustment to compensate for the reconfiguration of Wrexham, lowering the RV of the town centre shops.

    A new generation of Multiples has not come forward to replace the relocated shops and the RV levels has meant that even with reduced rents, a profit cannot be turned on the traditional town centre streets. Invariably this has led to a further drip-drip flight of shops (+ national liquidations) with no replacements. The Manchester Met was brought in to review the specific problems of Wrexham and has produced a wealth of material about how to reinvigorate struggling town centres. Their findings are available in many Reports including the vital ‘Markets Matter’ report which lays great stress on the value of Markets and the Independent sector to the High Street. The Met range over a swathe of issues including Access questions (Car Parking, Buses, Trains, Pedestrianisation, Disability Parking), Rates, Retail mix and so on. So far I see some very late in the day responses by those in charge of the town centre to the points made by the Met yet on the one vital area of Markets a backward move.

    It might be a good idea for a TCM to actually come at this matter by researching those companies that potentially might want to trade in Wrexham (or have recently left) and establish those factors deterring them from doing so (though the Met have actually already done this for them)



    It seems to me that the fundamental problem is that the “retail footprint” of Wrexham is too large – there are just not enough viable shops to fill it. In fact, Wrexham decided to actively expand this footprint at a time when physical retail demand was shrinking, resulting in the shops being spread too thinly across a larger area.

    What they need to do now is address this by reducing that footprint again down to a realistic size that can be filled by a sustainable mix of quality and varied retail units. This is easier said than done of course, but maybe the potential plans for Henblas might be a good starting point.



    The fundamental of the Eagles Meadow centre was that the then Councillors and Officers saw a potential cash windfall as the land belonged to the Council apart from one small bit which BG owned. They were so short sighted and the cash income clouded their judgement. They cant do anything about this decision for about another 980 years when the Eagles Meadow lease runs out!
    The vibrancy of Wrexham town like many other locations is long since gone in the style it used to be- the only way the Council can reshape the town would be variation on Business Rstes in different section to try and cluster businesses together — an idea that would not go down with many landlords that had property that remained in the high end.



    The questions posted above are very relevant. Why can a shop survive in Mold (for example) but not in Wrexham?

    Are there more better-paid jobs in Mold, so that people have more money to spend and shops do better?
    Are there fewer supermarkets out-of-town in Mold, so that people are more inclined to shop in town than complete it all in a supermarket then go home?
    Is our town centre boring? No signage about our history or heritage; no Welsh flags – even during the European Football! A stranger visiting the town wouldn’t automatically think, “I can tell I’m in Wales!” No green areas to sit apart from outside the Guildhall and Llwyn Isaf. No children’s play area.



    Remember when the business people of Wrexham were involved in the running of the council ?

    I think AlunH would make an excellent TCM (on the grounds he has more business experience than a career council employee, whom, I seem to remember was previously in a leadership role. Go figure the relevant qualifications and experience from houses to shops).

    Demolish all empty buildings around the BHS site and start a new cemetery as it is already the ‘Dead Centre Of Wrexham’.



    WidenSooN — Although the previous Town Centre Manager and previous Chief Executive share the same name they are definitely different people



    I wonder if Ms Garner’s new role in the Arts hub will prove to be as successful as her previous role in “managing” a buoyant Wrexham town centre.

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