Thursday, 12 July 2007

More on Cattle Market progress

This morning I woke up to the following email to all councillors from Simon Harding:

Dear Councillor

The first meeting of the above is at 5.00pm Thursday 12 July in the Council Chamber. All Councillors Borough or Town are invited to attend as are members of the public.

At the Town Centre update meeting in the Athenaeum on 10 July, a number of very important issues were raised to be considered by members of the working party.
1. The map on the St Andrews Street South hoarding showing the current situation re confirmed shop lettings on the new development [despite being at least 10 months old] is accurate, showing that of the 10 retailers, hopefully, so far committed, 5 are moving from the town centre. There are no firm commitments on the shops being vacated in the town centre. Since then there has been the serious demise of HMV and the troubles at both Debenhams and Waterstones [Times Business 2 July 2007]

2. The purchase of the buildings for the widening of the link is still not completed.
Ivan Stephenson [Centros Miller] reported that negotiations with 5 new tenants and the completion of the purchase of the link buildings was at an advanced stage [a few weeks at maximum] a very similar answer to that given nearly a year ago.
This is not talking the town down. The public much prefers and will be more supportive if told the accurate state of affairs.

3. The vacated Woolwich Building Society offices, an island site, very central, surrounded by wide pavements, with access on 3 sides, could economically be converted to house:
Tourist Information Centre: releasing the valuable council owned building on Angel Hill for sale. It is feared there are undisclosed plans to house the TIC in the public venue - having the effect of moving our town centre to the west.
Shop Mobility: again releasing a valuable site for sale. The argument that the town is too congested on Wednesday and Saturday is not accurate, as basically all that needs to be done is to allow shop mobility users to follow the route used by taxis on these days. It is believed most users of Shop Mobility, as distinct from Disabled Parking Bay users, are driven to near the collection point.
Town Centre Manager: giving high visibility for this important post and releasing the present unsuitable premises in Guildhall Street.
Borough Council One Stop Shop: the PSV is being built, with urgent need for a town centre council information/payments facility.
Police: the new Safer Neighbourhood Teams are proving very successful. The Bury Central team of 1 sergeant, 3 police constables and 3 PCSOs will lose their Angel Hill offices when the PSV is completed. A high visibility town centre office would be greatly welcomed.
Public toilets: a better, cheaper, central location is hard to imagine. Virtually new and largely unused sewer connections are already in place. Secure internal doors could easily be installed to allow staff employed in the building to use the same facilities as the public. The latest national Help the Aged report highlights the importance of toilet location in generating shop trade. By 2010, 20% of all consumer goods will be purchased on-line. Those over 55 years old use on-line shopping less than those younger, yet the over 55's have immense purchasing power which they will use in the town if good, easily accessible, facilities are provided. Councillor Mrs Sara Mildmay-White has been provided, on her request, with a copy of this report which it is hoped all councillors will study. This is available on line at: then follow the links to Campaigns - other issues – incontinence.

It is understood those Councillors on this new working party will consider, in depth, all the above issues and let the public know of their decisions and how these were reached.

Simon Harding

My personal response briefly is:

1 & 2. Taking these facts at face value, what action is he suggesting?
3. Ignoring the very significant resource implications, is there room for all these functions?

Do all the neighbouring establishments want public lavatories there - e.g the Art Gallery?
Bury St Edmunds appears to fare well in the help the aged report.

The Angel Hill facilities are only approximately 260 metres from the Corn Exchange, which is probably the furthest point between the Angel Hill and School Yard.

What do others think?


david said...

Paul - my initial thought is that debating the issues raised via your blog is far better than councillors-only responding by email.

A wider cross-section of public opinion is now able to comment and I hope many will do so today.

The invitation to attend this evening's meeting is extended to all borough councillors but I'm sure any parish or town councillor within St Edmundsbury who wished to sit in the public gallery would be most welcome.

Apart from suggestions I have made to you for consideration, I have also contacted the writer of Report Y125 to ask that if BStETC is to be consulted, parish councils should have equal status.

The scheme is part-funded by the local taxpayers throughout the borough and who can say where the best name for the new public hall might come from?

colin said...

A short response as available time is in short supply.

items 1 and 2. what a surprise, can we trust any statement from CM,the difference here is it will hit CM commercially. We could see a "new" town centre at the cattlemarket site, with boarded up and empty property around the arket, which in turn may bring into question the markets viability. bury is known for nice small shops, and the market.

item 3. The woolwich building would make ideal Toilets, it was not that long ago we had public toilets near by,( no not behind boots, but where the tea shop is now). The need existed then , and the need even more exists today. Add a community police office at the same time and maybe the centre will stoping being a race track.

As for the TIC. where are the majority of tourists ... Angel Hill, and abbey gardens so where should you position a Tourist Information Centre ..... yes Angel hill. In my view dont move it for a few coins.

david said...

Paul - what are you on about now? People are either for it or against it. In my view it will be far better than a desolate car park. But then I don't like cars much, do I?

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Sadly the volum of comment you hoped for hasn't arrived David - despite 25+ hits a day.

You cynic Colin. For alternative use of Market Cross see above

David, what's wrong with my poll. It is not incompatible with being for or against. e.g. I am very positive and you are ???

david said...

Paul - I'm for it not against it. As I can't work out the difference between 'postive' and 'very positive' I haven't voted.

Neither can I distinguish between 'negative' and 'very negative'. Is the latter reserved for those who wear a hard hat and ring a bell?