176,000 population should be enough for a WH Smith

St Helens Star: WH Smith on Church Street WH Smith on Church Street

THE questions over why WH Smith is deciding to close its St Helens store (as reported in last week’s Star) have to be asked.

Let us be honest here, we all know that shopping patterns have changed, but it is also worth asking how many other WH Smith stores are planning to close in the next few weeks.

I find the situation all the more amazing given that with a population of 176,000 or so in St Helens there isn’t enough custom to keep a shop like WH Smith in business.

It is not as if there is much other high street competition in St Helens unlike many other towns.

Warrington may not have any cheap parking, but what they do have is a range of stores which people want to shop at, many of which are completely absent from both the St Helens high street and the retail parks for that matter.

The leader of St Helens Council, according to his portfolio brief, has strategic responsibility for St Helens town centre.

I’m not sure exactly what that might actually entail, but one of the things he perhaps could do is to reinstate the post of the town centre manager which was scrapped some time ago.

This would mean a hands-on person can look at the strategic management of the town centre more effectively as it once was.

A town centre manager could actually hold an inquiry, invite members of the public and the business community to send in their views and ideas as to how things could be changed.

I see none of this happening under the current leadership which is sad, even though some time ago there was supposed to be some sort of group set up with the business community to look at some of the issues.

I look forward to hearing from the dynamic proposals coming from the council leader’s office soon with regards to addressing the decline of the town centre and to see if he would be willing to implement some of the ideas which I have suggested as an initial step.

Anthony Wilson

via sthelensstar.co.uk

Comments (5)

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10:48am Thu 5 Dec 13

jumperr says...

Anthony do you not think that if the meetings that you propose happen would the idea that a complete rearrange of the high st was the first on the agenda.i.e the high st has it his known as disappeared.
Anthony do you not think that if the meetings that you propose happen would the idea that a complete rearrange of the high st was the first on the agenda.i.e the high st has it his known as disappeared. jumperr

11:24am Thu 5 Dec 13

mikeperry109 says...

Anthony highlights the factors affecting the decline of our town centre, which is becoming an embarrassment, along with many others across the UK. When Brian Green was Leader of St. Helens council he warned that planning permission granted for out of town retail parks would lead to the demise of the town centre - but they went ahead and we are seeing the end result. He could not have foreseen the advent of internet shopping which has made a further contribution to the decline.
The choice is simple - continue to fight the decline or accept that it will continue and develop an alternative strategy.
Anthony highlights the factors affecting the decline of our town centre, which is becoming an embarrassment, along with many others across the UK. When Brian Green was Leader of St. Helens council he warned that planning permission granted for out of town retail parks would lead to the demise of the town centre - but they went ahead and we are seeing the end result. He could not have foreseen the advent of internet shopping which has made a further contribution to the decline. The choice is simple - continue to fight the decline or accept that it will continue and develop an alternative strategy. mikeperry109

6:47pm Fri 6 Dec 13

anthonywilson says...

jumperr wrote:
Anthony do you not think that if the meetings that you propose happen would the idea that a complete rearrange of the high st was the first on the agenda.i.e the high st has it his known as disappeared.
Its quite clear that other towns such as Warrington and Wigan are streets ahead in terms of attracting investment opportunities and masterplanning.
1. http://www.insiderme
dia.com/insider/nort
h-west/102165-60m-re
development-plan-wig
an
2. http://sys.warringto
n.gov.uk/content_doc
uments/documents/war
ringtonandco/Images/
Vision%202030%20Pres
entation%20AF%20LR_t
cm37-57105.pdf
One of the first items surely has to be about asking why St Helens has no apparent masterplan or level of similar investment. I agree that the St Helens high street needs a complete and radical overhaul. I would also suggest that the existing shopping centres St Mary's arcade and Hardshaw centres want either completely remodelling and or in the case of St Mary's demolishing so a new two or three story shopping centre can be built. It also goes without saying that for all the money spent on Church Street and Church Square the space looks drab, cold, unattractive and uninviting and this too needs serious attention once again.
[quote][p][bold]jumperr[/bold] wrote: Anthony do you not think that if the meetings that you propose happen would the idea that a complete rearrange of the high st was the first on the agenda.i.e the high st has it his known as disappeared.[/p][/quote]Its quite clear that other towns such as Warrington and Wigan are streets ahead in terms of attracting investment opportunities and masterplanning. 1. http://www.insiderme dia.com/insider/nort h-west/102165-60m-re development-plan-wig an 2. http://sys.warringto n.gov.uk/content_doc uments/documents/war ringtonandco/Images/ Vision%202030%20Pres entation%20AF%20LR_t cm37-57105.pdf One of the first items surely has to be about asking why St Helens has no apparent masterplan or level of similar investment. I agree that the St Helens high street needs a complete and radical overhaul. I would also suggest that the existing shopping centres St Mary's arcade and Hardshaw centres want either completely remodelling and or in the case of St Mary's demolishing so a new two or three story shopping centre can be built. It also goes without saying that for all the money spent on Church Street and Church Square the space looks drab, cold, unattractive and uninviting and this too needs serious attention once again. anthonywilson

10:17pm Fri 6 Dec 13

barrie timpson says...

Because it would require effort and intelligence. I dare you to try and find some in the town hall!
Because it would require effort and intelligence. I dare you to try and find some in the town hall! barrie timpson

5:22pm Sat 7 Dec 13

mummy1 says...

Town centre should have free parking, that would boost the shops that haven't already shut down, I do not shop in the town for that reason
Town centre should have free parking, that would boost the shops that haven't already shut down, I do not shop in the town for that reason mummy1

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