The Wyre Forest Agenda: Single shop or single site?
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Blessed are we living in a democracy
Blessed are we living in a democracy
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Monday, 30 January 2012
Single shop or single site?
by Tav


I'll admit that local use of Facebook is quite powerful. It can booster a campaign; it can put you into jail; and it can inform others of how well you are getting on with Farmville. However it seems local use of Facebook also gives us the 'word-on-the-street'. I was interested to see the following comments on Kidderminster town centre (shops) following a photo on the Kidderminster Past Facebook page:

Worcester Street, Kidderminster 1982?
Worcester Street, Kidderminster 1982? [Gary Hooper]

Chris Thacker
27 Oct 2011
This is when Kidderminster town centre was the dogs, unfortunately it has now gone to the dogs!


Alan Bent
29 Oct 2011
I think this was the Milk Race passing through Kiddy' in 1982.


Alan Bent
29 Oct 2011
Look at the shop signs that are no longer with us...


Carl Wilkes
29 Jan 2012
Am I right in thinking that Dolcis is where boots/Game is now.

Ah yes that's Tandy's!


Steve Cui
29 Jan 2012
Look how busy it is.


Chris Thacker
29 Jan 2012
I worked at Tandy from 1998 until Carphone Warehouse brought the company until it closed in 2000.


Dave Benbow
29 Jan 2012
Everybody shops online now streets not so busy.


Chris Thacker
29 Jan 2012
It is crying shame as Saturdays when I was a kid was heaving in the town. And even now it still has massive potential such as a 50s diner, bowling alley, ice skating rink, cinema ... but we get none of that. No wonder people shop out of town. Kidderminster doesn't even have a descent men's clothes shop!


Garry Hooper
29 Jan 2012
No, not since Mr. Casual closed.


Pauline Ruth Round
30 Jan 2012
It' s hardly worth going into to Kiddy' to shop any more, the rot sets in as more & more shops close, music shops, men & women's clothes, all the good shoes shops nearly all gone. What a great pity, come on town planners do something on the lines that Chris Thacker has just suggested. Spend money on our town centre not on new offices for yourself.


Margaret Carter
30 Jan 2012
Something needs to be done, Pauline Ruth Round you're so right about spending money on the town and not on the new offices!


Steven Tolley
30 Jan 2012
I used to spend an entire day in the town centre and now after an hour I'm bored because I've been in every shop.


Lesley Hicks
30 Jan 2012
The Rowland Hill centre will be empty soon. Why can't the council put the rents down and get more people back in to the town instead of building their new monstrosity on the Stourport Road. Kidderminster will soon be a ghost town.

Sources:
Hooper, Gary (2011); 'Worcester Street'; Kidderminster Past, Facebook, 27 October 2011
Kidderminster Past
Worcester Street, Google StreetView

Campaigns:

Kidderminster | New Council Headquarters | Retail

Comments:

Helen Dyke
30 Jan 2012
When I first started work at Littlewoods in 1973 the town was always like this on a Thursday and Saturday. Visitors from the Black Country and all the nearby rural areas came to Kidderminster to go to the town market and what was then called the "top market" which was actually the cattle market up Station Hill. After visiting the markets they filtered into the town centre to shop and eat, bringing trade into Kidderminster. The town was noisy and busy, all parking was charged for, we employed Saturday girls, YTS trainees and an army of full and part timers to cope with the volume of customers.

At that time I seem to remember there were approaches from other stores such as British Home Stores and C&A who wanted to come into the town but this caused shockwaves from the existing businesses within the town, concerned that they would lose sales, they were not of the mind in those days that competition could be healthy bringing more shoppers in to a town with more to offer. These approaches then died away and weren't ever really mentioned again except when Weavers Wharf was being planned in 1996.

The problem of quiet town centres with empty shops is now not unique to Kidderminster, national chains have closed down and withdrawn their outlets all across the country. As in the Mary Porter report we have to start looking at town centres in a different way, they can no longer just be zoned for retail purposes and we need to decide what we can introduce to hopefully help them thrive again all be it in a different way and I am definitely up for the challenge.


Helen Dyke
30 Jan 2012
As I have said on here before the Council does not set the rents for shops / businesses in the town centre, they are set and charged by private landlords who own the properties. They unfortunately do not have to do what the Council recommends. The government sets the Non-domestic rates that are charged to businesses and the Council are the collection agents only.


* walkerno5
30 Jan 2012
It's entirely within our gift to make it exactly the same again. All we have to do is...

a) never use amazon or any other online retailer again;
b) never drive to Merry Hill or Birmingham to shop again. Okay, once a year maybe;
c) Stop buying everything you could possibly need from supermarkets. Use them for food if you must, but as much as possible use butchers and greengrocers, bakers etc. in the town centre.

In other words, unwind everything that has appeared to favour the consumer in the past 30 years or so.

The reality is, and I think Helen is pointing the way on this, we need to change what a town centre is for, as it certainly isn't for (enough) shopping any more.


Fran Oborski
30 Jan 2012
The Council does NOT own the shops, the Council does NOT set the shop rents, the Government sets the National Non/Domestic Rates which the shops have to pay.

To say spend the money on the shops instead of on offices is stupid ignorant rubbish.
Walkerno5 is right, don't use the internet to shop, don't drive to Merry Hill or Birmingham, buy the minimum from supermarkets and the maximum from small independent shops ... can't see many of you doing that so, as Helen says, alter what the Town Centre is for.


Medussa
31 Jan 2012
Why do you speak to people like that Fran Oborski? Have you been on the vodka again at the Polish Club? With politicians self-centred like you no wonder we are in a mess.


* walkerno5
31 Jan 2012
In what way is Fran speaking that you find offensive? Do you have a point to make? Please stop shouting.


FlipC
31 Jan 2012
Like WalkerNo5 I'm not sure exactly what Medussa found offensive.


Medussa
1 Feb 2012
Quote: "...to say spend the money ... is stupid and ignorant rubbish" _ rude ignorant and offensive and I am not shouting. I am writing in capitals – this is cyberspace not the real world.


* walkerno5
1 Feb 2012
"To say spend the money on the shops instead of on offices is stupid ignorant rubbish."

Well, it certainly IS ignorant, since it is arguing from a position of little understanding of reality, so that can't be offensive.

It certainly IS rubbish, if we agree that that which can be disposed of without losing anything of value is rubbish.

Whether it is stupid, given that it is both of the other two, I will leave to your judgement.


And, in "cyberspace" caps lock is only ever shouting, or cruise control for cool. I assume you therefore subscribe to the latter philosophy.


Tav
1 Feb 2012
I think Fran is referring to the comment directed to the council from Pauline Ruth Round, "Spend money on our town centre not on new offices for yourself." I believe the 'new offices' refers to the new council headquarters. I can see where Fran is coming from but I would say Pauline's comment is mis-guided, rather than 'stupid ignorant rubbish'. This is the capital and revenue situation again. Council's use public money and therefore they cannot by law use capital money (money for building the headquarters) for revenue ('spend money on our town centre'). Although technically they could use capital money to buy shops in the town and become landlords (councils have been known to do this), but I and Fran guess this isn't what Pauline was thinking.

@Medussa: It is annoying reading all capital letters, and when I read comments in capital letters I'm shouting the comments in my head. Please do use capitals but only when you want to truly convey shouting or perhaps for emphasis on the key word(s).


Fran Oborski
2 Feb 2012
Medusa (Nigel Addison) really is out of touch. Kidderminster Polish Club closed 3years ago and I never did drink vodka!


Medussa
2 Feb 2012
Nigel who? I think you've got muddled again old girl.


Tav
2 Feb 2012
@Medusa: Actually it was me who suggested to Fran you were Nigel Addison, after looking at the IP addresses. Apologies to Nigel if you are not.


FlipC
31 Jan 2012
While true that the government sets the Rateable Value of non-domestic properties and the bands for domestic property it is the local council that determines how much per that pound they collect.

And a final observation - shopping is a two-way street. Shops have to both offer us goods that we want, but can't obtain elsewhere; and do so at a time when we can purchase them.

It's not a case of building offices instead of shops; it's a case of encouraging shops to offer specialities alongside more general stock. Build up a specialist theme and get people in for that then add in smaller general stores so that people go to them first rather than the supermarkets and then buy the bits and bobs from the small general stores while they're there.

As for which speciality... I don't know, perhaps a deli theme of cheeses and cold meats - get a bunch of market stalls all offering the same type of product (but not necessarily the same product); advertise it county-wide (properly and not just a notice on the council website) and see how many turn up. Push it nationally and heck we may end up with Kidderminster's famous deli market.



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Recent Comments:

30 Mar 2012
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I'll be attending, just out of curiosity though how much advertising was done outside the immediate local? This still doesn't feature on the WFDC events page nor the Shuttle's.
What we want is people from Brum or Dudley to look at the great...
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30 Mar 2012
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What sounds great? The event or the fact that Tav has over 10,000 miles between him and Stourport?
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Sounds great.
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Wow, wow, wow, this is fantastic!
I wish I could attend but there are 10,300 miles in the way! (16,500Km actually _ they use kilometres down here!)
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24 Mar 2012
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Yeah Barry, see you on the veranda, get me a stubbie' of VB ready.
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So it's this week you leave Tav?
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Hope you have good life down under.
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