We could learn a thing from Bury

We could learn a thing from Bury

We could learn a thing from Bury

First published in Letters by

I AM writing in reply to a reader’s comments about the negativity for St Helens town centre.

On my last visit into the town centre, which was only a few weeks ago, I witnessed two young men fighting in Church Square. This was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. Not something to tempt me back.

Recently I went for a day out to Bury Market.

Bury has been awarded the best large town award for 2013-14. They also have an award-winning market, which every week hundreds of thousands of people visit. We were happy that 10,000 visited us over a couple of days for Summer Streets!

There are even coach trips laid on so people can visit Bury Market from far and wide. I can see why people visit. Everything is close by and well laid out, you can wander from busy markets to busy pedestrianised shops, then into a shopping centre.

Do the people spend money in the town?

You bet they do; the fruit and veg is cheaper than the supermarkets, so is the meat and your day-to-day essentials. What better than enjoying a day out and saving money on your weekly shop at the same time?

Yes, there were some empty shops, but that is the same for the whole of the UK, but the High Street chains are there in abundance: Primark, Lush, WH Smith, Burtons, Game and Next to name but a few. These shops are not moving out like they are in St Helens.

Why can’t we build up a market like we had years ago, create something that we can be proud of and let St Helens win the awards?

Let’s make St Helens somewhere that people will book coach trips to.

St Helens resident (Full details submitted)

Comments (14)

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2:56pm Thu 21 Aug 14

keepitreel says...

we had an open air market with a listed enclosed building at its centre that was always busy,but the LABOUR group decided we needed to move forward and demolished all the old buildings to let developers build the now out dated shopping centre,same as the brewery and historic public houses,short sighted and ill conceived,what have they done since NOTHING,we still have the outdated shopping centres but owned by another developer now who is in the process of raising the rents.
we had an open air market with a listed enclosed building at its centre that was always busy,but the LABOUR group decided we needed to move forward and demolished all the old buildings to let developers build the now out dated shopping centre,same as the brewery and historic public houses,short sighted and ill conceived,what have they done since NOTHING,we still have the outdated shopping centres but owned by another developer now who is in the process of raising the rents. keepitreel
  • Score: 11

4:38pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Terry B says...

keepitreel wrote:
we had an open air market with a listed enclosed building at its centre that was always busy,but the LABOUR group decided we needed to move forward and demolished all the old buildings to let developers build the now out dated shopping centre,same as the brewery and historic public houses,short sighted and ill conceived,what have they done since NOTHING,we still have the outdated shopping centres but owned by another developer now who is in the process of raising the rents.
Spot on! What the shopping centre needs is knocking down and to be replaced with proper streets with small local shops as well as bigger stores. But, most of all what the town needs is a market - a proper food market like Bury has. All that was taken away back in 1971 and the town has never got over it.
[quote][p][bold]keepitreel[/bold] wrote: we had an open air market with a listed enclosed building at its centre that was always busy,but the LABOUR group decided we needed to move forward and demolished all the old buildings to let developers build the now out dated shopping centre,same as the brewery and historic public houses,short sighted and ill conceived,what have they done since NOTHING,we still have the outdated shopping centres but owned by another developer now who is in the process of raising the rents.[/p][/quote]Spot on! What the shopping centre needs is knocking down and to be replaced with proper streets with small local shops as well as bigger stores. But, most of all what the town needs is a market - a proper food market like Bury has. All that was taken away back in 1971 and the town has never got over it. Terry B
  • Score: 12

11:13pm Thu 21 Aug 14

villagers says...

1971? times have changed circumstances have changed, long gone are the at home mothers that would go to these markets. I'm lucky if i get to go to town once a month! i finish work at 5.30pm daily i have to use the retail parks as town is closed then. It would be so easy for me to say i won't go to town due to lack of shops but the actual truth is i can't get to town as i'm a working mother. And i'm not in the minority either there are so many working mothers who can't combine socialising with shopping in town like in the 70's good grief. Stop blaming the council and blame the economic climate!! Wouldn't make no difference to me if we had a market bigger than bury i have to work!
1971? times have changed circumstances have changed, long gone are the at home mothers that would go to these markets. I'm lucky if i get to go to town once a month! i finish work at 5.30pm daily i have to use the retail parks as town is closed then. It would be so easy for me to say i won't go to town due to lack of shops but the actual truth is i can't get to town as i'm a working mother. And i'm not in the minority either there are so many working mothers who can't combine socialising with shopping in town like in the 70's good grief. Stop blaming the council and blame the economic climate!! Wouldn't make no difference to me if we had a market bigger than bury i have to work! villagers
  • Score: -9

1:24pm Fri 22 Aug 14

DrChan says...

I think the idea of a market is a great idea. I spent 10 years living in Leeds and there is a fantastic market there in an old Victorian building - Kirkgate Market. It's right in the city centre, next to the bus station and has a thriving outdoor section. Fruit and veg is cheap, and open at the weekends too. There are good butchers and fishmongers too, as well as food, clothes and other stalls.

I'm not a working mother, but I would guess that providing the opportunity for socialising and doing the grocery shop would be far easier and nicer if there was a market option there.

OK, it's a bigger city, but I think something like Bury Market would be fantastic, and it would provide an opportunity for small businesses to be set up.

I think I saw something about a arts and crafts market in St Helens too? That sounds promising.
I think the idea of a market is a great idea. I spent 10 years living in Leeds and there is a fantastic market there in an old Victorian building - Kirkgate Market. It's right in the city centre, next to the bus station and has a thriving outdoor section. Fruit and veg is cheap, and open at the weekends too. There are good butchers and fishmongers too, as well as food, clothes and other stalls. I'm not a working mother, but I would guess that providing the opportunity for socialising and doing the grocery shop would be far easier and nicer if there was a market option there. OK, it's a bigger city, but I think something like Bury Market would be fantastic, and it would provide an opportunity for small businesses to be set up. I think I saw something about a arts and crafts market in St Helens too? That sounds promising. DrChan
  • Score: 14

4:40pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Hughwithaview says...

villagers wrote:
1971? times have changed circumstances have changed, long gone are the at home mothers that would go to these markets. I'm lucky if i get to go to town once a month! i finish work at 5.30pm daily i have to use the retail parks as town is closed then. It would be so easy for me to say i won't go to town due to lack of shops but the actual truth is i can't get to town as i'm a working mother. And i'm not in the minority either there are so many working mothers who can't combine socialising with shopping in town like in the 70's good grief. Stop blaming the council and blame the economic climate!! Wouldn't make no difference to me if we had a market bigger than bury i have to work!
"I'm a working Mother!" - stop the world, I want to get off!

Apart from you, there may be a whole range of people in St Helens who would love to see the old traditional style markets that seem to do well in other places. It may come as a shock to you but other people have needs, wants and desires. Other people also have demands, stress and the need to work for a living, not just "working Mothers"

We all make choices in our lives - you chose to be a Mother and you go out to work - you seem to think that Mothers from the 70's had it so cushy with nothing better to do than swan around town "socialising"

In those days there were less labour saving devices around so housework really was "work" and looking after your own children meant exactly that, not farming them out to Grandparents and Nurseries. The evening meal was not something out of a microwave with oven chips either, it was a proper dinner made from scratch. I have nothing against working Mothers by the way, it just winds me up when people start whining about how hard their life is whilst insulting other people who have gone before them and running down the idea of traditional market just because "they" would not have the time to go there - as you stated Villagers, Good Grief!
[quote][p][bold]villagers[/bold] wrote: 1971? times have changed circumstances have changed, long gone are the at home mothers that would go to these markets. I'm lucky if i get to go to town once a month! i finish work at 5.30pm daily i have to use the retail parks as town is closed then. It would be so easy for me to say i won't go to town due to lack of shops but the actual truth is i can't get to town as i'm a working mother. And i'm not in the minority either there are so many working mothers who can't combine socialising with shopping in town like in the 70's good grief. Stop blaming the council and blame the economic climate!! Wouldn't make no difference to me if we had a market bigger than bury i have to work![/p][/quote]"I'm a working Mother!" - stop the world, I want to get off! Apart from you, there may be a whole range of people in St Helens who would love to see the old traditional style markets that seem to do well in other places. It may come as a shock to you but other people have needs, wants and desires. Other people also have demands, stress and the need to work for a living, not just "working Mothers" We all make choices in our lives - you chose to be a Mother and you go out to work - you seem to think that Mothers from the 70's had it so cushy with nothing better to do than swan around town "socialising" In those days there were less labour saving devices around so housework really was "work" and looking after your own children meant exactly that, not farming them out to Grandparents and Nurseries. The evening meal was not something out of a microwave with oven chips either, it was a proper dinner made from scratch. I have nothing against working Mothers by the way, it just winds me up when people start whining about how hard their life is whilst insulting other people who have gone before them and running down the idea of traditional market just because "they" would not have the time to go there - as you stated Villagers, Good Grief! Hughwithaview
  • Score: 14

9:23am Sat 23 Aug 14

mikeashworth says...

DrChan wrote:
I think the idea of a market is a great idea. I spent 10 years living in Leeds and there is a fantastic market there in an old Victorian building - Kirkgate Market. It's right in the city centre, next to the bus station and has a thriving outdoor section. Fruit and veg is cheap, and open at the weekends too. There are good butchers and fishmongers too, as well as food, clothes and other stalls.

I'm not a working mother, but I would guess that providing the opportunity for socialising and doing the grocery shop would be far easier and nicer if there was a market option there.

OK, it's a bigger city, but I think something like Bury Market would be fantastic, and it would provide an opportunity for small businesses to be set up.

I think I saw something about a arts and crafts market in St Helens too? That sounds promising.
I dont believe Bury has city status.

Population is an interesting point. I also thought Bury was bigger, maybe same size as Wigan borough however it's not. The borough of Bury is about the same size as the Borough of St Helens.
[quote][p][bold]DrChan[/bold] wrote: I think the idea of a market is a great idea. I spent 10 years living in Leeds and there is a fantastic market there in an old Victorian building - Kirkgate Market. It's right in the city centre, next to the bus station and has a thriving outdoor section. Fruit and veg is cheap, and open at the weekends too. There are good butchers and fishmongers too, as well as food, clothes and other stalls. I'm not a working mother, but I would guess that providing the opportunity for socialising and doing the grocery shop would be far easier and nicer if there was a market option there. OK, it's a bigger city, but I think something like Bury Market would be fantastic, and it would provide an opportunity for small businesses to be set up. I think I saw something about a arts and crafts market in St Helens too? That sounds promising.[/p][/quote]I dont believe Bury has city status. Population is an interesting point. I also thought Bury was bigger, maybe same size as Wigan borough however it's not. The borough of Bury is about the same size as the Borough of St Helens. mikeashworth
  • Score: 4

9:27am Sat 23 Aug 14

mikeashworth says...

I often look to a town's Market (s) as a test of how the place is doing. Even in tough economic times many places still have thriving Markets. We do not.

The placement of St Mary's Market is all wrong, the Market should be brough into the town centre proper (however that might look).

The glitzy entrance to St Marys Market looks lovely from the train, however few use it, some of automatic doors dont work, ones that do dont work correctly.

Majority of people enter market from the arcade, and look at that!

The cavernous, sports hall feel to St Marys doesnt do it any favours either.

They need to incentivise via rents to get the place busy.

The Makers Market which starts in October should be interesting, people who know what they're doing behind that.
I often look to a town's Market (s) as a test of how the place is doing. Even in tough economic times many places still have thriving Markets. We do not. The placement of St Mary's Market is all wrong, the Market should be brough into the town centre proper (however that might look). The glitzy entrance to St Marys Market looks lovely from the train, however few use it, some of automatic doors dont work, ones that do dont work correctly. Majority of people enter market from the arcade, and look at that! The cavernous, sports hall feel to St Marys doesnt do it any favours either. They need to incentivise via rents to get the place busy. The Makers Market which starts in October should be interesting, people who know what they're doing behind that. mikeashworth
  • Score: 9

7:18pm Mon 25 Aug 14

BillMitch says...

Bury is a relatively wealthy town, St Helens isn't. Bury also has more than it's fair share of charity shops and pound shops, and a lot of empty shops are boarded up with arty hoardings to disguise the struggle the town centre is having. And the lack of affordable parking is a regular gripe of Bury residents,sound familiar? I do wish people would stop throwing up these easy answers to what is a major problem for all town centres. "If only we copied x,y or z" .Visiting a town gives you a different perspective to locals, read the letters pages of any town in england and you will hear the same quick fix moaners offering instant solutions to long term difficult problems.
Bury is a relatively wealthy town, St Helens isn't. Bury also has more than it's fair share of charity shops and pound shops, and a lot of empty shops are boarded up with arty hoardings to disguise the struggle the town centre is having. And the lack of affordable parking is a regular gripe of Bury residents,sound familiar? I do wish people would stop throwing up these easy answers to what is a major problem for all town centres. "If only we copied x,y or z" .Visiting a town gives you a different perspective to locals, read the letters pages of any town in england and you will hear the same quick fix moaners offering instant solutions to long term difficult problems. BillMitch
  • Score: -4

7:19pm Mon 25 Aug 14

BillMitch says...

keepitreel wrote:
we had an open air market with a listed enclosed building at its centre that was always busy,but the LABOUR group decided we needed to move forward and demolished all the old buildings to let developers build the now out dated shopping centre,same as the brewery and historic public houses,short sighted and ill conceived,what have they done since NOTHING,we still have the outdated shopping centres but owned by another developer now who is in the process of raising the rents.
Remind me what the Lib Dems and Tories did for the four years they controlled the council-take your time.
[quote][p][bold]keepitreel[/bold] wrote: we had an open air market with a listed enclosed building at its centre that was always busy,but the LABOUR group decided we needed to move forward and demolished all the old buildings to let developers build the now out dated shopping centre,same as the brewery and historic public houses,short sighted and ill conceived,what have they done since NOTHING,we still have the outdated shopping centres but owned by another developer now who is in the process of raising the rents.[/p][/quote]Remind me what the Lib Dems and Tories did for the four years they controlled the council-take your time. BillMitch
  • Score: -3

12:37pm Tue 26 Aug 14

barrie timpson says...

Bill , remind me what Labour have done in every other year apart from those four?
Bill , remind me what Labour have done in every other year apart from those four? barrie timpson
  • Score: 7

3:40pm Tue 26 Aug 14

barrie timpson says...

and to be honest , the other town stuff doesn't bother me - I don't live in Bury , so if they are committing Genocide on the streets, it doesn't excuse the atrocity that this town has become.
Or is that OK , because things are just as bad in Helmand?
and to be honest , the other town stuff doesn't bother me - I don't live in Bury , so if they are committing Genocide on the streets, it doesn't excuse the atrocity that this town has become. Or is that OK , because things are just as bad in Helmand? barrie timpson
  • Score: 3

4:51pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Terry B says...

Seems to be pretty clear what the consensus is and if democracy prevailed the council would take on board what's being said here and act accordingly - but there's the small problem of that word "democracy". How many councils of whatever political persuasion ever do what the people want?
Seems to be pretty clear what the consensus is and if democracy prevailed the council would take on board what's being said here and act accordingly - but there's the small problem of that word "democracy". How many councils of whatever political persuasion ever do what the people want? Terry B
  • Score: 5

5:11pm Tue 26 Aug 14

barrie timpson says...

They must be rare Terry !
They must be rare Terry ! barrie timpson
  • Score: 2

3:24pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Hughwithaview says...

BillMitch wrote:
keepitreel wrote:
we had an open air market with a listed enclosed building at its centre that was always busy,but the LABOUR group decided we needed to move forward and demolished all the old buildings to let developers build the now out dated shopping centre,same as the brewery and historic public houses,short sighted and ill conceived,what have they done since NOTHING,we still have the outdated shopping centres but owned by another developer now who is in the process of raising the rents.
Remind me what the Lib Dems and Tories did for the four years they controlled the council-take your time.
Why does it alway have to be political?

I would not care who was in power - Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems etc they would still get a scathing response from me if they were as ineffective and apathetic as the shower we have had to put up with here for so many years.

We all know there is no such thing as a quick fix for St Helens because it has been allowed to sink too deep in the mire. Nevertheless neither is it acceptable to say "Oh well, what can we do - all towns are the same"

All towns are not the same, because there are some towns that have people in senior roles who actually have some business acumen and are able to get their finger out of their ear and do something positive.

It seems to me that there are a lot of people in St Helens who are willing to accept mediocre and below average - unfortunately, those who are not are labelled as "moaners" and the "usual suspects" - isn't democracy wonderful!
[quote][p][bold]BillMitch[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keepitreel[/bold] wrote: we had an open air market with a listed enclosed building at its centre that was always busy,but the LABOUR group decided we needed to move forward and demolished all the old buildings to let developers build the now out dated shopping centre,same as the brewery and historic public houses,short sighted and ill conceived,what have they done since NOTHING,we still have the outdated shopping centres but owned by another developer now who is in the process of raising the rents.[/p][/quote]Remind me what the Lib Dems and Tories did for the four years they controlled the council-take your time.[/p][/quote]Why does it alway have to be political? I would not care who was in power - Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems etc they would still get a scathing response from me if they were as ineffective and apathetic as the shower we have had to put up with here for so many years. We all know there is no such thing as a quick fix for St Helens because it has been allowed to sink too deep in the mire. Nevertheless neither is it acceptable to say "Oh well, what can we do - all towns are the same" All towns are not the same, because there are some towns that have people in senior roles who actually have some business acumen and are able to get their finger out of their ear and do something positive. It seems to me that there are a lot of people in St Helens who are willing to accept mediocre and below average - unfortunately, those who are not are labelled as "moaners" and the "usual suspects" - isn't democracy wonderful! Hughwithaview
  • Score: 4
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