New body launched to boost St Helens town centre

New body launched to boost town centre

New body launched to boost town centre

First published in News
Last updated
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SENIOR councillors have given their formal approval to setting up a commission tasked with boosting the fortunes of the town centre.

Headed by former town centre manager Ged Gibbons its aim is to “stimulate retail growth” and attract people to the town centre.

Reports in papers from last week's council cabinet meeting states that many shops are vulnerable to the growth of online shopping and competition from other borough and cities, including the vast Liverpool One development.

The council admit that the number of empty units, which currently stands at 30, is continuing to rise as the number of visitors decline.

This compares with 27 empty units in 2009.

The Town Centre Improvement Commission will produce a strategy to secure the area's long term future.

Its aims will include: Producing, monitoring and updating an action plan.

Working closely with landlords to ensure vacant properties are occupied,.

Targeting retailers which would attract shoppers.

Reviewing parking and seek to attract visitors to the town centre, as opposed to people who work there.

Feeding back ideas to the cabinet about how to improve occupancy levels.

Assessing the events programme so it has maximum impact

A sum of £1 million pounds has already been set aside for the commission to ensure that a strategy is in place by March 2015.

In a separate development, the cabinet agreed to introduce free parking on roads and car parks in the town centre each Saturday for the next year. The decision follows information passed to the council from retailers that there is a noticeable downturn in trade on Saturdays.

Speaking to the Star in July to celebrate independent retailers in St Helens, Mr Gibbons said: “The key for successful town centres is to pick out key strengths, their particular unique selling points, and to harness the support of the local community.

“Our towns are more Darwinian than ever – it is survival of the fittest! You only have to look what happened to Woolworths and music shops like HMV.

“The lower end products are still in our town and city centres, no longer Woolworths but B&M, Home Bargains and a 99p Store. It is customer-led and the market follows the demand.

“We need a town centre strategy where we can communicate to the people of St Helens and its visitors, where the town is going.

Comments (13)

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1:50pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Hughwithaview says...

No wonder the town is in a mess - why is everything so long winded and drawn out.

The news about this was weeks ago and its has taken until now for senior councillors to "agree" it. For goodness sake will someone at the Town Hall get their finger out of their ear and actually do something constructive to improve the prospects of town centre. Too much sitting around discussing it and not enough action!
No wonder the town is in a mess - why is everything so long winded and drawn out. The news about this was weeks ago and its has taken until now for senior councillors to "agree" it. For goodness sake will someone at the Town Hall get their finger out of their ear and actually do something constructive to improve the prospects of town centre. Too much sitting around discussing it and not enough action! Hughwithaview
  • Score: 10

4:26pm Thu 7 Aug 14

bob212 says...

Great to see the town centre moving forward - although i think maybe a little to late.

Free parking is great but why was this not done last year!!! Because the council wanted to screw us more!

I ve noticed a external company is organising NEW MAKERS MARKET starting weekly soon , think this would benefit the town and make use of a beautiful building which has never been used.

As for Ged what is his roll???

Good luck and lets hope the town centre approves and how about free parking all the time
Great to see the town centre moving forward - although i think maybe a little to late. Free parking is great but why was this not done last year!!! Because the council wanted to screw us more! I ve noticed a external company is organising NEW MAKERS MARKET starting weekly soon , think this would benefit the town and make use of a beautiful building which has never been used. As for Ged what is his roll??? Good luck and lets hope the town centre approves and how about free parking all the time bob212
  • Score: 8

5:18pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Radman2014 says...

What is the point of this at all?

That is a million pounds of Council Tax payers money that could better be spent on libraries, leisure centres and youth centres. The Council have their priorities all wrong, as usual.

It is up to the businesses in the town centre to invest if they want to turn things around. The private sector will always efficiently prioritise investment, if they are not investing then it isn't worth doing. This public money will be spent and nobody will notice any difference.
What is the point of this at all? That is a million pounds of Council Tax payers money that could better be spent on libraries, leisure centres and youth centres. The Council have their priorities all wrong, as usual. It is up to the businesses in the town centre to invest if they want to turn things around. The private sector will always efficiently prioritise investment, if they are not investing then it isn't worth doing. This public money will be spent and nobody will notice any difference. Radman2014
  • Score: -6

11:11pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Tinytoesbabywear says...

Radman2014 wrote:
What is the point of this at all?

That is a million pounds of Council Tax payers money that could better be spent on libraries, leisure centres and youth centres. The Council have their priorities all wrong, as usual.

It is up to the businesses in the town centre to invest if they want to turn things around. The private sector will always efficiently prioritise investment, if they are not investing then it isn't worth doing. This public money will be spent and nobody will notice any difference.
Radman.. Seriously, it's up to the businesses in the town centre to turn things around? Do you know how much of a struggle it is to keep businesses open in St. Helens town centre at the minute? .. I would like to invite you to my stall on the market and you can personally advise me what I could possibly do any better to "help the town centre".. ... Without explaining exactly what you mean, I find that comment ridiculous! It's down to the people of st helens to shop at our shops to keep us open.

There is debate after debate going on weekly on the st helens star Facebook page.
"We have to pay for parking, so were going to Widnes" - so, the council give free parking - yet it's not good enough.
"There's no shops in the town and it looks awful" - so the council are investing £1m into the town centre, yet that's not good enough!
To be fair the council can't do right for doing wrong.

So I'm putting it to all you lot, please please please try shopping local! Those that haven't been to the town centre in "years", come and have a look! There's always new little shops/stalls opening. On a weekly/monthly basis! So we need your support, and often.. It's down to US shoppers too why St. Helens has declined, not just the council, and WE need to help get it back!

Comments welcome...
[quote][p][bold]Radman2014[/bold] wrote: What is the point of this at all? That is a million pounds of Council Tax payers money that could better be spent on libraries, leisure centres and youth centres. The Council have their priorities all wrong, as usual. It is up to the businesses in the town centre to invest if they want to turn things around. The private sector will always efficiently prioritise investment, if they are not investing then it isn't worth doing. This public money will be spent and nobody will notice any difference.[/p][/quote]Radman.. Seriously, it's up to the businesses in the town centre to turn things around? Do you know how much of a struggle it is to keep businesses open in St. Helens town centre at the minute? .. I would like to invite you to my stall on the market and you can personally advise me what I could possibly do any better to "help the town centre".. ... Without explaining exactly what you mean, I find that comment ridiculous! It's down to the people of st helens to shop at our shops to keep us open. There is debate after debate going on weekly on the st helens star Facebook page. "We have to pay for parking, so were going to Widnes" - so, the council give free parking - yet it's not good enough. "There's no shops in the town and it looks awful" - so the council are investing £1m into the town centre, yet that's not good enough! To be fair the council can't do right for doing wrong. So I'm putting it to all you lot, please please please try shopping local! Those that haven't been to the town centre in "years", come and have a look! There's always new little shops/stalls opening. On a weekly/monthly basis! So we need your support, and often.. It's down to US shoppers too why St. Helens has declined, not just the council, and WE need to help get it back! Comments welcome... Tinytoesbabywear
  • Score: 12

9:01am Fri 8 Aug 14

mikeashworth says...

Tinytoesbabywear wrote:
Radman2014 wrote:
What is the point of this at all?

That is a million pounds of Council Tax payers money that could better be spent on libraries, leisure centres and youth centres. The Council have their priorities all wrong, as usual.

It is up to the businesses in the town centre to invest if they want to turn things around. The private sector will always efficiently prioritise investment, if they are not investing then it isn't worth doing. This public money will be spent and nobody will notice any difference.
Radman.. Seriously, it's up to the businesses in the town centre to turn things around? Do you know how much of a struggle it is to keep businesses open in St. Helens town centre at the minute? .. I would like to invite you to my stall on the market and you can personally advise me what I could possibly do any better to "help the town centre".. ... Without explaining exactly what you mean, I find that comment ridiculous! It's down to the people of st helens to shop at our shops to keep us open.

There is debate after debate going on weekly on the st helens star Facebook page.
"We have to pay for parking, so were going to Widnes" - so, the council give free parking - yet it's not good enough.
"There's no shops in the town and it looks awful" - so the council are investing £1m into the town centre, yet that's not good enough!
To be fair the council can't do right for doing wrong.

So I'm putting it to all you lot, please please please try shopping local! Those that haven't been to the town centre in "years", come and have a look! There's always new little shops/stalls opening. On a weekly/monthly basis! So we need your support, and often.. It's down to US shoppers too why St. Helens has declined, not just the council, and WE need to help get it back!

Comments welcome...
Tasha, What you'll discover if you hang around the comment area here long enough is that many people will never be satisifed, happy eetcwith whatever goes on in St Helens, or any changes made or proposed.

And the more I hear them moan, the more I think that the issues are less about our town and more about the person moaning. It's the only constant.

I never understand all this Widnes and Warrington stuff. I visited both in the last few weeks, and contrary to popular opinion, the streets did not appear to be paved with gold.
[quote][p][bold]Tinytoesbabywear[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Radman2014[/bold] wrote: What is the point of this at all? That is a million pounds of Council Tax payers money that could better be spent on libraries, leisure centres and youth centres. The Council have their priorities all wrong, as usual. It is up to the businesses in the town centre to invest if they want to turn things around. The private sector will always efficiently prioritise investment, if they are not investing then it isn't worth doing. This public money will be spent and nobody will notice any difference.[/p][/quote]Radman.. Seriously, it's up to the businesses in the town centre to turn things around? Do you know how much of a struggle it is to keep businesses open in St. Helens town centre at the minute? .. I would like to invite you to my stall on the market and you can personally advise me what I could possibly do any better to "help the town centre".. ... Without explaining exactly what you mean, I find that comment ridiculous! It's down to the people of st helens to shop at our shops to keep us open. There is debate after debate going on weekly on the st helens star Facebook page. "We have to pay for parking, so were going to Widnes" - so, the council give free parking - yet it's not good enough. "There's no shops in the town and it looks awful" - so the council are investing £1m into the town centre, yet that's not good enough! To be fair the council can't do right for doing wrong. So I'm putting it to all you lot, please please please try shopping local! Those that haven't been to the town centre in "years", come and have a look! There's always new little shops/stalls opening. On a weekly/monthly basis! So we need your support, and often.. It's down to US shoppers too why St. Helens has declined, not just the council, and WE need to help get it back! Comments welcome...[/p][/quote]Tasha, What you'll discover if you hang around the comment area here long enough is that many people will never be satisifed, happy eetcwith whatever goes on in St Helens, or any changes made or proposed. And the more I hear them moan, the more I think that the issues are less about our town and more about the person moaning. It's the only constant. I never understand all this Widnes and Warrington stuff. I visited both in the last few weeks, and contrary to popular opinion, the streets did not appear to be paved with gold. mikeashworth
  • Score: 5

10:00am Fri 8 Aug 14

barrie timpson says...

I see we're back to censoring free speech again.

I believe this is a matter of jobs for the boys from Labour.
I hear Ged Gibbons left his last post under a cloud.
When this eventually yields poor results , I doubt the expenses and free lunches Ged and his pals will receive will not be given back.
As for shopping in the town centre there is one shop I use - that's not going to bring me every week.
I see we're back to censoring free speech again. I believe this is a matter of jobs for the boys from Labour. I hear Ged Gibbons left his last post under a cloud. When this eventually yields poor results , I doubt the expenses and free lunches Ged and his pals will receive will not be given back. As for shopping in the town centre there is one shop I use - that's not going to bring me every week. barrie timpson
  • Score: 0

10:03am Fri 8 Aug 14

jumperr says...

Give us the products,the prices,no surly service,proper area,(High streets have finished ) you'll get people spending the money , it his theirs not yours. Short term planning has never worked and this council never learn the borough needs reorganising
Give us the products,the prices,no surly service,proper area,(High streets have finished ) you'll get people spending the money , it his theirs not yours. Short term planning has never worked and this council never learn the borough needs reorganising jumperr
  • Score: -2

10:13am Fri 8 Aug 14

barrie timpson says...

http://www.liverpool
-one.com/stores.aspx


A couple of quid on the train.

http://www.gswarring
ton.com/Shopping/Sto
re%20Finder/A%20Z%20
Directory

10 minutes down the road.

Tell me again why I need to come to St Helens ?
http://www.liverpool -one.com/stores.aspx A couple of quid on the train. http://www.gswarring ton.com/Shopping/Sto re%20Finder/A%20Z%20 Directory 10 minutes down the road. Tell me again why I need to come to St Helens ? barrie timpson
  • Score: 1

10:13am Fri 8 Aug 14

Hughwithaview says...

mikeashworth wrote:
Tinytoesbabywear wrote:
Radman2014 wrote:
What is the point of this at all?

That is a million pounds of Council Tax payers money that could better be spent on libraries, leisure centres and youth centres. The Council have their priorities all wrong, as usual.

It is up to the businesses in the town centre to invest if they want to turn things around. The private sector will always efficiently prioritise investment, if they are not investing then it isn't worth doing. This public money will be spent and nobody will notice any difference.
Radman.. Seriously, it's up to the businesses in the town centre to turn things around? Do you know how much of a struggle it is to keep businesses open in St. Helens town centre at the minute? .. I would like to invite you to my stall on the market and you can personally advise me what I could possibly do any better to "help the town centre".. ... Without explaining exactly what you mean, I find that comment ridiculous! It's down to the people of st helens to shop at our shops to keep us open.

There is debate after debate going on weekly on the st helens star Facebook page.
"We have to pay for parking, so were going to Widnes" - so, the council give free parking - yet it's not good enough.
"There's no shops in the town and it looks awful" - so the council are investing £1m into the town centre, yet that's not good enough!
To be fair the council can't do right for doing wrong.

So I'm putting it to all you lot, please please please try shopping local! Those that haven't been to the town centre in "years", come and have a look! There's always new little shops/stalls opening. On a weekly/monthly basis! So we need your support, and often.. It's down to US shoppers too why St. Helens has declined, not just the council, and WE need to help get it back!

Comments welcome...
Tasha, What you'll discover if you hang around the comment area here long enough is that many people will never be satisifed, happy eetcwith whatever goes on in St Helens, or any changes made or proposed.

And the more I hear them moan, the more I think that the issues are less about our town and more about the person moaning. It's the only constant.

I never understand all this Widnes and Warrington stuff. I visited both in the last few weeks, and contrary to popular opinion, the streets did not appear to be paved with gold.
No, the streets of other towns are not paved with gold but they are not paved with the absolute stench of despair either. Why is it that people who air views that condemn the ruling Labour group's mismanagement are always classed as "moaners" "whingers" and of the pursuasion that will "never be satisfied, no matter what"?

I seem to remember Mike that you have done a fair share of complaining about the town yourself. I admit that I am a severe critic and this is a reaction to how poorly served St Helens has been by a Council that has stood by for years without intervention and allowed the town to degenerate. As this has happened the shopping centre has become less inviting to real shoppers and more attractive to drug addicts and drunks Now, all of a sudden, after many people have complained, we have a whole host of initiatives - free parking, dancing dinosaurs, a million pounds and an ex town centre manager personally invited back by Mr Grunewald.

Why do we pay these people so highly when in fact they do nothing until they can no longer ignore the complaints and we have reached a crisis point? Why are the Council offices stuffed with highly paid senior officers and managers if everytime we need new ideas and policies we have to employ external resources at an extra cost?

Call me a moaner, a whinger or whatever you like but I prefer to see myself as a genuinely concerned resident who was born and bred in St Helens and can remember when this town had something to be proud about. That does not mean I am some old fogey who dreams of the good old days through rose coloured glasses, I am a realist who knows how retail has changed, how the internet has influenced our buying options and how the recession has affected businesses. I also know that if we had people with acumen and true skills up the steps of the Town Hall, the situation could be very different.
[quote][p][bold]mikeashworth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tinytoesbabywear[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Radman2014[/bold] wrote: What is the point of this at all? That is a million pounds of Council Tax payers money that could better be spent on libraries, leisure centres and youth centres. The Council have their priorities all wrong, as usual. It is up to the businesses in the town centre to invest if they want to turn things around. The private sector will always efficiently prioritise investment, if they are not investing then it isn't worth doing. This public money will be spent and nobody will notice any difference.[/p][/quote]Radman.. Seriously, it's up to the businesses in the town centre to turn things around? Do you know how much of a struggle it is to keep businesses open in St. Helens town centre at the minute? .. I would like to invite you to my stall on the market and you can personally advise me what I could possibly do any better to "help the town centre".. ... Without explaining exactly what you mean, I find that comment ridiculous! It's down to the people of st helens to shop at our shops to keep us open. There is debate after debate going on weekly on the st helens star Facebook page. "We have to pay for parking, so were going to Widnes" - so, the council give free parking - yet it's not good enough. "There's no shops in the town and it looks awful" - so the council are investing £1m into the town centre, yet that's not good enough! To be fair the council can't do right for doing wrong. So I'm putting it to all you lot, please please please try shopping local! Those that haven't been to the town centre in "years", come and have a look! There's always new little shops/stalls opening. On a weekly/monthly basis! So we need your support, and often.. It's down to US shoppers too why St. Helens has declined, not just the council, and WE need to help get it back! Comments welcome...[/p][/quote]Tasha, What you'll discover if you hang around the comment area here long enough is that many people will never be satisifed, happy eetcwith whatever goes on in St Helens, or any changes made or proposed. And the more I hear them moan, the more I think that the issues are less about our town and more about the person moaning. It's the only constant. I never understand all this Widnes and Warrington stuff. I visited both in the last few weeks, and contrary to popular opinion, the streets did not appear to be paved with gold.[/p][/quote]No, the streets of other towns are not paved with gold but they are not paved with the absolute stench of despair either. Why is it that people who air views that condemn the ruling Labour group's mismanagement are always classed as "moaners" "whingers" and of the pursuasion that will "never be satisfied, no matter what"? I seem to remember Mike that you have done a fair share of complaining about the town yourself. I admit that I am a severe critic and this is a reaction to how poorly served St Helens has been by a Council that has stood by for years without intervention and allowed the town to degenerate. As this has happened the shopping centre has become less inviting to real shoppers and more attractive to drug addicts and drunks Now, all of a sudden, after many people have complained, we have a whole host of initiatives - free parking, dancing dinosaurs, a million pounds and an ex town centre manager personally invited back by Mr Grunewald. Why do we pay these people so highly when in fact they do nothing until they can no longer ignore the complaints and we have reached a crisis point? Why are the Council offices stuffed with highly paid senior officers and managers if everytime we need new ideas and policies we have to employ external resources at an extra cost? Call me a moaner, a whinger or whatever you like but I prefer to see myself as a genuinely concerned resident who was born and bred in St Helens and can remember when this town had something to be proud about. That does not mean I am some old fogey who dreams of the good old days through rose coloured glasses, I am a realist who knows how retail has changed, how the internet has influenced our buying options and how the recession has affected businesses. I also know that if we had people with acumen and true skills up the steps of the Town Hall, the situation could be very different. Hughwithaview
  • Score: 5

10:19am Fri 8 Aug 14

barrie timpson says...

http://www.liverpool
echo.co.uk/news/live
rpool-news/chief-exe
cutive-ged-gibbons-l
iverpool-6348475
http://www.liverpool echo.co.uk/news/live rpool-news/chief-exe cutive-ged-gibbons-l iverpool-6348475 barrie timpson
  • Score: 0

11:51am Fri 8 Aug 14

jumperr says...

They have said what needs doing in all aspects of running a council but never do it say one thing to get voted in and do another
They have said what needs doing in all aspects of running a council but never do it say one thing to get voted in and do another jumperr
  • Score: 0

4:42pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Sankey says...

The reason people don't retail shop in St. Helens town centre is because they don't want to. Go onto the malls outside of the town centre any weekend you can barely park and lots of diner pubs and other eateries are opening and are always packed. The million pounds is simply throwing council taxpayers money away there is nothing conceivable they can do to change reality. Better to not try and redevelop St. Helens into a cafe / service business format and develop the vacant premises into affordable housing and develop a community. They don't need an expensive commission or a battery of clueless expensed councillors who don't know their a@@@ from their elbow that is something that is obvious with anyone with an ounce of common sense and judgement. Do what is obvious and spend the million pounds on local services which is what the council is for.
The reason people don't retail shop in St. Helens town centre is because they don't want to. Go onto the malls outside of the town centre any weekend you can barely park and lots of diner pubs and other eateries are opening and are always packed. The million pounds is simply throwing council taxpayers money away there is nothing conceivable they can do to change reality. Better to not try and redevelop St. Helens into a cafe / service business format and develop the vacant premises into affordable housing and develop a community. They don't need an expensive commission or a battery of clueless expensed councillors who don't know their a@@@ from their elbow that is something that is obvious with anyone with an ounce of common sense and judgement. Do what is obvious and spend the million pounds on local services which is what the council is for. Sankey
  • Score: -1

8:27pm Tue 12 Aug 14

barrie timpson says...

Why does Raven head retail park smell so bad? The drains have been a problem now for over a year and it's like shopping with the added aroma of a sewer - can we get nothing right?
Why does Raven head retail park smell so bad? The drains have been a problem now for over a year and it's like shopping with the added aroma of a sewer - can we get nothing right? barrie timpson
  • Score: 0

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