Sunday, 2 August 2009

Are 'shop-local' schemes enough

BBC Radio 4, Charlotte Smith visits Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire to look at what impact the downturn is having and how areas are fighting back. Are 'shop-local' schemes enough or do the NIMBYs have to accept that new housing may be the key to their town's survival?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shop local = parking local whats happening to the cattle market you cannot park anywhere now .

@WR15 said...

Not sure if it closed once a year for legal reasons or something else has happened. Last time it was closed someone opened it up next day to get their car out and it stayed open. Perhaps there will be more information at the Town Council meeting tomorrow evening?

Anonymous said...

I thourght it was closed last time due to some drilling into the ground .

@WR15 said...

Most of the Councillors and the Town Clerk were unaware that the Cattle Car Park was closed. (and that they no longer had access to the Town's supply of emergency sandbags) They guess that it has been closed to reduce the likelihood of any claim against the owner due to the poor state of repair.

Anonymous said...

How suprising that the Councillors and the Town Clerk were not aware of what's happening in "their" town.

Phil said...

Thank you for putting this up on your blog - I didn't know about this programme until I read about it here.
I was shocked that the lady from the Ship said she had never heard of the 50% business rate reduction. Surely MHDC have distributed literature on it to all the businesses in the town? And then surely MHDC staff have rung each business to check they understand the system? And hasn't the Tenbury Chamber of Trade told all their members? And what about the Councillors? Don't they visit the businesses and help them know about things like this?
I can't remember when I last saw an advert for the Ship; perhaps if they advertised more they might get more trade.
Why did the chair of the Chamber of Trade call Tenbury a small village? Tenbury has been a Market Town since 1249, surely the Chamber of Trade should know this? Calling it a 'small village' will just put people off coming. Does she live here?
I was puzzled to hear that 'Tenbury Events' has set up festivals throughout the year, such as the Applefest. What is Tenbury Events? Wasn't Applefest set up by MHDC?
There was talk of 'Tenbury Events' having set up the Mistletoe Festival, but this was set up in 2004, by Mr Briggs and other people. I never heard of Tenbury Events then.
Brian Roberts, from the Chamber of Trade, pointed out that people should shop locally. This is true, but the shops need to try harder. The Chamber of Trade seems to do nothing through the summer, they just run a Santa Parade and the Xmas lights. The most important thing is to attract tourists in summer.
They chap from the Post Office seems to understand, they often advertise, so they are clearly trying to get more customers. Now that nearly all the village Post Offces have been closed down, Tenbury's should be extra-busy so it was worrying to hear they aren't.
The suggestion that we don't need more housing is plain wrong; we do need more housing. The number of people per house is dropping, so even to keep the population the same we need more houses.

Anonymous said...

And what have "YOU" ever done for Tenbury Phil?

Phil said...

As it happens I have done 'more than the average resident' for Tenbury, but this really isn't important. Even if I shopped at Tesco and worked in Ludlow, rather than shopping locally and working locally, I would still be entitled to a view, which I would also be entitled to express and which the blog owner might decide to display.
A successful town is about a lot of people working together. It isn't about who has done the most; it is about everyone doing their bit. Some of the bits will be bigger than others, but even the smallest bits have an effect.
The blog topic is "Are 'shop-local' schemes enough or do the NIMBYs have to accept that new housing may be the key to their town's survival?" and that is what I commented on.
It is unhelpful to go off-topic and try to create some sort of competition between different local people with comments such as "what have "YOU" ever done for Tenbury".
It is only by working together that Tenbury will recover. Far too much time and energy has been wasted over petty rivalries in Tenbury. In a small town like this is it easy for things to get too personal and when this happens, you end up with a town that doesn't go forward, which has been part of the trouble in Tenbury for at least 10 years.
This still 'on topic' because what I am saying is that 'shop local' isn't enough by itself - we also need EVERYONE to work together, without getting tied up in petty squabbles.

Anonymous said...

totally agree phil tenbury as got to move foward tenbury as been dieing before the recesssion there is only one way to bring more people back to tenbury and that is a supermarket which is where people are going out of the town now all then idiots can not see it CHAMBER OF TRADE SAYS SHOP LOCAL BUT WHERE DOES THE TRADERS SHOP. THEY SHOP OUT OF TOWN NO POINT IN NAME AND SHAME BECAUSE THIS BLOGG ONLY PUTS WHAT HE WANTS THEY ARE A BUNCH OF *****

Anonymous said...

THE SHIP AS GOT A PROBLEM IF THEY DONT LIKE YOU THEY WILL NOT SERVE YOU

Anonymous said...

What the shop owners in Tenbury need to do is open on Sundays ,(at least through the summer months)far to many shops are shut.Open your doors you will be suprised how much money you oould take .

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the "tenbury closes on a weekend" comment. Why do people insist on calling Tenbury a "tourist" town. Oh of course they come here and find it closed and "tour" on to somewhere else. The only chemist closes Saturday lunch time...the computer shop is usually closed too...so too is the flower shop....I would shop local but the shops are closed or dont have what I want to buy. The closed down shops are a total mess and let the town down Perhaps the tourist office could organize ghost town tours?

Anonymous said...

Imagine the situation. You're from Stourbridge and you've had a week's holiday on the Welsh Coast and you're on your way home. You've come over the Raddle Bank road, and very pretty it was too. It's a lovely sunny Saturday in August and it's nearly 4pm and you decide to stop in Tenbury for a cuppa. You go into the car park and discover you can park for less in Stourbridge. So you pay for just one hour. The kids have a play on the playground to let off some steam after being in the car, and use up about half of that hour. So you stroll back to the main street for that much-needed cuppa. And what do you find? No cuppa!

DaveC said...

Whilst I agree that the shops need to be open longer, that is only part of the problem. I used to have a retail shop in Tenbury (Tenbury Computer Company, between Country Flowers and Anne's Embroidery). We would be open 9 to 6 Monday to Saturday. On a Saturday we would be lucky to have anyone in after lunch and I often wondered if it was worth staying open, so I can understand why Phaze close at lunchtime on a Saturday. And then at other times, people would tell us that they were getting their ink cartridges from PC World or Tesco's because they were 50p cheaper. People can't have it both ways. I don't mind paying a little bit more if it supports local business, but i seem to be in a minority. Also i think people don't bother to find out what is available locally. Since closing our shop in Market Street we have moved out to the Aspire Centre and focussed on the business to business side of things.It actually suits us better, but most people in town think we have shut down completely which is far from the truth.

Anonymous said...

I work at a shop in Tenbury, we tried opening on Sundays, for just over a year, and it was a total failure, with hardly any customers around on sundays. Small businesses just cant open on sundays, as there are not enough people around, and by opening we are actually using Electricity/wages and other costs, so its just not worth it.

@WR15 said...

I agree with your comments, at the moment it is 'not worth it'. As things stand there is too little trade to support Sunday opening, but without Sunday opening there will be too little trade. This is a paradox which is difficult to resolve. Intellectualy we know that as a tourist destination, Tenbury would be economically more viable, but is Tenbury sufficiently endowed to be a tourist destination?. We have some beautiful countryside, some interesting architecture, and we have a high street rich in independent retailers, but is this sufficient to support the kind of 7 day a week commerce that some tourists demands. Tenbury is a great place to live, for those that don't crave the bright city lights and fast city living, but we also miss out on the volume of interest that supports a full range of culture and arts. We are lucky to have a cinema and good restaurants, but they are struggling with insufficient patronage to assure their future. What I think Tenbury needs is careful packaging and promoting, so that we can emphasize the many positive aspects, but not raise expectations to the point where we fail to deliver. (& just because I think it doesn't make me right!)

Phil said...

Lots of other small market towns seem to be doing better than Tenbury. Places like Kington and Knighton looked worse than Tenbury in the 1990s - now Tenbury looks worse. Go to Bishop's Castle on a nice Saturday and the pavements are full of people; go to Tenbury and the pavements are empty, while the road is full of cars driving through, not stopping. Kington has lots of free parking; Bishops Castle has lots of free parking; Knighton has ample free parking. And none of these towns had bad flooding. Perhaps a good start would be free parking in Tenbury, some advertising to promote the town, and a cut in business rates. Does anyone from the Chamber of Trade read this blog? Can they comment on what is needed?

Anonymous said...

FREE PARKING IN KNIGHTON WHERE ?

Phil said...

Knighton's largest supermarket has a free car park (ground level and multi-storey), there is a free car park at the Offa's Dyke Centre and there is a lot of roadside free parking. In the evening or overnight you can park for free on the Bowling Green Lane 'pay and display' car park.

Ian said...

Shop local? After my experience yesterday I just wonder whether or not some retailers in Tenbury really do want customers at all. I entered a small retail outlet in Teme Street. There were no other customers in the shop and the proprietor was on the phone – clearly a social chat with a friend or family member. I was totally ignored. I placed the item I wished to purchase on the counter. Again, totally ignored by the proprietor who was still engaged on the phone. Eventually I got served . . . but had I been able to obtain the item elsewhere I would have long since disappeared. A shocking shopping experience. Shop local? Why, if this is anything to go by?

@WR15 said...

I think this happens in shops everywhere. I think there have been Mystery Shoppers shopping in Tenbury so it will be interesting to see their report.

Anonymous said...

What you should have done is complain straight away to the shop owner ,If you say nothing they think it is acceptable.

Ian said...

There is a world of difference between shopping in a very small town like Tenbury and a large urban centre. In the former, proprietors can’t afford to alienate too many customers because there aren’t that many of them; in the latter, alienating the odd customer is probably neither here nor there as far as overall turnover is concerned. Complain? I could have done . . . but if the proprietor didn’t think anything was amiss (which appeared to be the case) a complaint of hardly likely to achieve a reformation! And, in any case, a complaint to a salesperson in Tenbury is far more “personal” than one to a salesperson in (say) Boots in the middle of Birmingham – if you see what I mean. You’re likely to meet the former the next day somewhere else; you’re unlikely to meet the latter ever again.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where Phaze computers has gone ?

@WR15 said...

Re Phaze. There is a notice in the window. I think they have moved to behind the Royal Oak.