Thursday, 9 June 2011

Town centre transport - the bigger picture

About 40 people, mainly representing town centre businesses, attended a meeting at the Guildhall tonight as part of the consultation about the parking plans for the town centre.
While some were only interested in scoring points it was mainly positive. Many good points were raised and it felt like a real consultation, where officers took on board positive proposals and were finding common ground where possible.
Among the concrete proposals that are emerging are plans to charge councillors and senior officers for the Guildhall car park, which is fair enough and could raise many thousands of pounds a year.
It's likely that the plans to charge 50p for the on-street parking bays could be abandoned, reduced or phased in later, which is a compromise that may satisfy small shopkeepers.
But there's a bigger picture that the parking charges are only a small part of - how we make sure our town centre serves the community better. That needs a comprehensive town plan that pulls together all the various interest groups and gets people looking out of their narrow silos.
One aspect of transport that wasn't touched on last night was the re-introduction of buses into the high street - which will be a boost in footfall for the independent traders at that end of town. Increasing congestion at peak times in the town centre also points to a park and ride scheme to ease the situation. This too would make the town more attractive to shoppers.
The need to enhance our unique markets is also key to revitalising the town centre - the council, as landlord, has been flexible but there's still a lot more to be done. If additional funding is to be raised through parking charges, perhaps a commitment that it will go to improving the town centre area would alleviate some of the concerns.


Plaid Gwersyllt said...

There is also a need to extend the Monday market to the High Street. Our officers need to go to Skipton to see how prosperous that town is with markets on 4 days a week.

Anonymous said...

Intersting that most comments last night were from owners of properties like Lesley & Haydn Taylor, Anne Gray and Mrs Roberts (St George's Crescent). I wonder if they are doing their bit to protect small businesses by reducing their rents? Somehow I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

The introduction of a Park And Ride facility would be a welcome addition to the transport 'mix' in Wrecsam.
A seasonal one has been tried but a permanent scheme would need a better location to maximise its appeal. Chester and other towns and cities have introduced them leaving Wrecsam lagging behind. Time for the council to wake up!

Mr P Rogers said...

I will post my comments on hear as at least I know Cllr Arfon will always respond (unlike Cllr Paul Rogers of Brymbo.....have you seen his blog? He never publishes any backbone obviously)
I agree that maybe parking charges would be a good idea if the revenue made went back into the town centre. Do you think local Cllr's should be charged for using the guildhall like most council staff who work in the town centre?

Plaid Whitegate said...

It sounds like councillors and senior officers, who use the Guildhall car park *will* be charged. No problem at all with that (I don't use it and I'm sure most councillors would accept we all have to tighten belts)

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Something that has happened that the public are unaware of is the agreement with Arriva that coach operators can use their base as a Coach park which should facilitate more coach trips coming into Wrecsam.

As for park and ride I'm not convinced because I believe there are sufficient car parking spaces in town. I was in York last weekend and they have 4 or 5 Park and Ride schemes but the layout of the city with its extensive pedestrian areas and lack of parking spaces makes it ideal for P&R (even then the City was gridlocked)

I believe Wrecsam have got things to learn from other areas such as Skipton which is probably one of the most prosperous 'market towns; I have seen in a long time.

The priority however has to be getting more people into the High Street...let's extend the market.