Wycombe's future under the spotlight of new Business Forum

Wycombe's future under the spotlight of new Business Forum

Chris Harvey, Oliver O'Dell and Wycombe District Cllr Hugh McCarthy

John Callaghan

Wycombe's future under the spotlight of new Business Forum

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by

WHAT kind of town does High Wycombe want to be?

As work begins to improve the look and infrastructure of the town centre, how can we ensure it becomes - and remains - a vibrant economic location for the future?

These were among the questions raised at a new Bucks Free Press Business Forum event, sponsored by Stupples Chandler Garvey, which held its inaugural meeting last week.

The starting point was the Wycombe Masterplan – a major scheme intending to improve the look and feel of the town.

After a presentation from one of the key figures in the implementation of the plan, the discussion moved into a range of related topics – all with the aim of making Wycombe a better, more vibrant place.

In attendance were a range of figures with an interest in the town:

Councillor Hugh McCarthy – Deputy Leader of Wycombe District Council; John Callaghan- Team Leader of Planning Services for WDC; Oliver O’Dell - Chief Executive of HWBiDCo; Chris Harvey - MD of HAP Architects; Helen Pearce - Operations Manager at John Lewis High Wycombe; Rupert Waters – Head of Economic Research at Buckinghamshire Business First; Michael Garvey - partner at Stupples Chandler Garvey

The Masterplan – the starting point for a vision of the future

“Wycombe deserves better,” said Cllr Hugh McCarthy before planning officer John Callaghan began his presentation.

That, he said, was the driver of the Masterplan - to revamp the town into being a location people would actively want to visit and lift it from the doldrums of its current infrastructure.

The town centre will be made more pedestrian friendly with new and improved public spaces and changes to the road network, including a major traffic route behind the town that would replace the current Abbey Way flyover.

Mr Callaghan said: “The quality of the environment is an essential part of its (Wycombe’s) appeal and future success.”

‘Connectedness’ was the key, he stressed. Instead of having ‘silo’s’ of segregated assets, such as the Rye, which is divorced from the town centre by the A40’s dual carriageway, key features need to be linked up, easier to access and reached in a way that is more pleasant for pedestrians - instead of grimly grey flyovers and underpasses.

Work gets underway this year to make the plan a reality, with a crossing over the A40, between the Rye and the town centre getting underway next week. Ultimately the scheme, in the pipeline since 2003, is scheduled for completion in 2026.

Mr Callaghan said: “It’s no panacea but we think these changes will give us the option for more far-reaching changes in the future.”

Cllr McCarthy added: “The aim behind this is to reposition Wycombe to become a nicer destination.

“We want to meander through town without being caged in by rails or traffic lights.”

Oliver O’Dell, of the HWBidCo questioned the link between the changing infrastructure and ways to encourage people to invest in the town. Would, for example, the town still be pursuing retail investment, and was there an idea of what type of people would actually want to come to this revamped space?

He said: “Do we have enough of a handle on what the offering of the town is going to be?

“It’s all very well creating this lovely place but there’s still got to be an offering.

“What are we doing to create the future?”

Identity crisis – what does Wycombe want to be?

Has Wycombe tried to broaden its appeal too much?

Helen Pearce of John Lewis asked a key question: “Who is Wycombe’s customer?”

She believes that too many times the town has acted on ideas which have not quite taken hold as intended: “Wycombe is great at starting things – at opening up a new pitch and leaving something sparkly behind.”

She said areas of the town needed clearer ‘themes’ to draw people in. While Eden’s identity is clearly about retail, what was that of Frogmoor? Or even that of the High Street?

Answering this could be a key win in the battle to make the town more vibrant– by having the confidence to give areas in the town a distinct identity instead of trying to appeal to everyone and falling short.

Why not, she wondered, make the town known for something in the way that others are, giving the example of specialist markets?

“What does Wycombe want to be known for?” she asked.

Michael Garvey noted that when the Oracle was built in Reading it seemed to have the effect of making the surrounding area of the town desirable to retailers in a way that has not happened in Wycombe – largely due to the recession.

In Reading, he said, if major retailers could not find premises in the Oracle they would grab any space going in the town because it had become an important location for them. This has not happened in Wycombe, with too many retailers rushing under Eden’s roof, leaving slim pickings elsewhere – particularly in the beleaguered Frogmoor area.

He added: “I think Eden’s been a fantastic development for the town but I think it’s fragmented the town.”

Michael noted the stranglehold listed buildings had, on Frogmoor in particular, stopped buildings being converted into homes. Vibrancy, he said, is a holistic thing for any town, no matter what form it takes.

Oliver added: “We have almost tried to be all things to all people, and in a disjointed way.

“There are pots of good stuff but it doesn’t match up. It comes back to that – what town are you trying to be?”

 Night-time economy – where can we sit down at a ‘proper’ restaurant?

Another concern raised by Oliver was that of the night-time economy which recently took a further blow with the closure of the Antelope pub.

He noted the irony of the town being a purple flag holder: “We’re great at managing the night-time economy but we don’t have a night-time economy.”

The town has a diminishing number of locations to keep people here for a night out – no club and dwindling pubs.

While the Swan Theatre and the Cineworld cinema offered entertainment, there was little to get people going out, unlike other nearby towns, which have a thriving night life.

Oliver said: “We have a cultural night-time offering but we don’t have any offering otherwise – not like Beaconsfield does.”

Could higher quality dining options be the way forward?

Chris Harvey said: “We need to have restaurants. We have Eat Thai – that’s the closest to a restaurant in the town. Otherwise we have fast food outlets.”

Michael Garvey agreed this was an important factor: “I’ve always felt the food offering in Eden was a bit of an afterthought – under the archway and by the bus station. I’ve never thought the food offering was right. It’s not enough of a critical mass to draw people into the town.”

Bringing in business – a vision of town centre office buildings

Prosperity means investment, and investment means attracting more businesses. While Wycombe has lots of small businesses, there is a lack of major firms making the town centre their home.

Michael said: “The biggest challenge Wycombe faces is in attracting businesses.”

He added that there was a frustratingly circular situation in play which saw institutions that fund office developments pass over Wycombe because it did not have the track record for offices of, say, Maidenhead.

While the development coming to Handy Cross was welcome, he said, it was effectively a motorway hub that would not improve the town centre itself. And the pressures of housing need and green belt development would not help either.

He said: “Somebody needs to take a chance on Wycombe.

“It needs visionary thought. There’s a tension between demand for housing and delivering offices speculatively.”

Cllr McCarthy noted that very point was one that would soon be discussed through the consultation on the Wycombe Local Plan, which is aiming to find spaces to build up to 10,000 homes over the next 15 years.

The Octagon Court area, and that around the railway station were both mentioned as places with potential for office developments.

And, Michael said, the time was coming to reconsider the prospect of developing on the AONB and green belt – land designations set down when the district faced very different pressures to those of today.

Where next? Short term ideas to feed long-term plans

Michael said: “As an aspiring town in an entrepreneurial county we should be saying ‘forget the money, forget the cost – let’s be visionary.’”

Cllr McCarthy stressed the council would welcome such thinking, but the local authority could not act on it alone. The will may be there, but money was needed to enact any grand plans.

Engagement with all aspects of the community was a key to future success, all agreed – get residents and businesses on board with future plans and the battle for a successful future would be well underway.

Other matters were flagged up that all currently conspired to create the wrong impression of the town, from the dreary landscaping of Frogmoor to the battered paving around Wycombe.

The recent Automatic Numberplate Recognition car parking scheme was a great move, all thought, and one other towns could be envious of – helping visitors to Wycombe feel more comfortable in their stay.

The suggestion of having pop-up restaurants in Frogmoor for shorter periods of time was made by Oliver, and welcomed by Cllr McCarthy. This could gauge enthusiasm for a dining theme for Frogmoor before long-term and costly commitments were made toward that end..

Major changes to the town centre – particularly the Frogmoor and Queen’s Square areas, were not just desirable, it was agreed – they are essential. And bold moves may be needed to make them happen for the good of the town.

Michael said: “Sometimes you have to force change – it won’t just happen organically.”

More Business Forum events are being planned for this year, and will be reported by the BFP.

Comments (17)

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9:21am Mon 17 Feb 14

chepping100 says...

High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that.

High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs.

The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing.

High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.
High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that. High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs. The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing. High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’. chepping100
  • Score: 7

9:39am Mon 17 Feb 14

gpn01 says...

chepping100 wrote:
High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that.

High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs.

The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing.

High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.
I'm a bit confused. As a law abiding citizen I don't have an issue with a visible police presence in a town/city. On the contrary it helps give the feeling of safety. The thing that I would find off-putting is when the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable.
[quote][p][bold]chepping100[/bold] wrote: High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that. High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs. The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing. High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.[/p][/quote]I'm a bit confused. As a law abiding citizen I don't have an issue with a visible police presence in a town/city. On the contrary it helps give the feeling of safety. The thing that I would find off-putting is when the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable. gpn01
  • Score: 9

9:55am Mon 17 Feb 14

chepping100 says...

gpn01 wrote:
chepping100 wrote:
High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that.

High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs.

The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing.

High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.
I'm a bit confused. As a law abiding citizen I don't have an issue with a visible police presence in a town/city. On the contrary it helps give the feeling of safety. The thing that I would find off-putting is when the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable.
"the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable"

You’ve hit the nail on the head!
This centred around Yates’s and Butler’s bars (and previously The Antelope).
[quote][p][bold]gpn01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chepping100[/bold] wrote: High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that. High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs. The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing. High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.[/p][/quote]I'm a bit confused. As a law abiding citizen I don't have an issue with a visible police presence in a town/city. On the contrary it helps give the feeling of safety. The thing that I would find off-putting is when the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable.[/p][/quote]"the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable" You’ve hit the nail on the head! This centred around Yates’s and Butler’s bars (and previously The Antelope). chepping100
  • Score: 12

10:01am Mon 17 Feb 14

gpn01 says...

chepping100 wrote:
gpn01 wrote:
chepping100 wrote:
High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that.

High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs.

The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing.

High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.
I'm a bit confused. As a law abiding citizen I don't have an issue with a visible police presence in a town/city. On the contrary it helps give the feeling of safety. The thing that I would find off-putting is when the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable.
"the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable"

You’ve hit the nail on the head!
This centred around Yates’s and Butler’s bars (and previously The Antelope).
So the challenge is to establish an environment that encourages law abiding citizens and discourages yobbos. Problem is how to better plan a town centre that can achieve that. Anybody know of any towns or cities that High Wycombe could model itself on?
[quote][p][bold]chepping100[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]gpn01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chepping100[/bold] wrote: High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that. High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs. The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing. High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.[/p][/quote]I'm a bit confused. As a law abiding citizen I don't have an issue with a visible police presence in a town/city. On the contrary it helps give the feeling of safety. The thing that I would find off-putting is when the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable.[/p][/quote]"the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable" You’ve hit the nail on the head! This centred around Yates’s and Butler’s bars (and previously The Antelope).[/p][/quote]So the challenge is to establish an environment that encourages law abiding citizens and discourages yobbos. Problem is how to better plan a town centre that can achieve that. Anybody know of any towns or cities that High Wycombe could model itself on? gpn01
  • Score: 0

10:21am Mon 17 Feb 14

chepping100 says...

gpn01 wrote:
chepping100 wrote:
gpn01 wrote:
chepping100 wrote:
High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that.

High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs.

The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing.

High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.
I'm a bit confused. As a law abiding citizen I don't have an issue with a visible police presence in a town/city. On the contrary it helps give the feeling of safety. The thing that I would find off-putting is when the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable.
"the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable"

You’ve hit the nail on the head!
This centred around Yates’s and Butler’s bars (and previously The Antelope).
So the challenge is to establish an environment that encourages law abiding citizens and discourages yobbos. Problem is how to better plan a town centre that can achieve that. Anybody know of any towns or cities that High Wycombe could model itself on?
The problems centre around Yates’s and Butler’s bars (and previously The Antelope). It’s these bars that need to change (or close).

It’s the management of these bars that is the problem. They are bad neighbours to nearby businesses.
[quote][p][bold]gpn01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chepping100[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]gpn01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chepping100[/bold] wrote: High Wycombe’s night time economy has been blighted by the heavy police presence and bouncers on nearly every pub door. Frogmoor is a no-go area: Yates’s and Butler’s bars have seen to that. High Wycombe has no independent restaurants (apart from a few curry houses), no night clubs and it is dominated by chain-pubs with virtually no traditional pubs. The Antelope was a disgrace, few decent people will miss it closing. High Wycombe’s problems are the result of poor top-down directives. It will not be improved by even more top-down ‘planning’.[/p][/quote]I'm a bit confused. As a law abiding citizen I don't have an issue with a visible police presence in a town/city. On the contrary it helps give the feeling of safety. The thing that I would find off-putting is when the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable.[/p][/quote]"the police presence is mandated by drunken yobbos whose behaviour makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable" You’ve hit the nail on the head! This centred around Yates’s and Butler’s bars (and previously The Antelope).[/p][/quote]So the challenge is to establish an environment that encourages law abiding citizens and discourages yobbos. Problem is how to better plan a town centre that can achieve that. Anybody know of any towns or cities that High Wycombe could model itself on?[/p][/quote]The problems centre around Yates’s and Butler’s bars (and previously The Antelope). It’s these bars that need to change (or close). It’s the management of these bars that is the problem. They are bad neighbours to nearby businesses. chepping100
  • Score: 9

10:38am Mon 17 Feb 14

LoraLou says...

The rents for shops need to be cheaper to encourage independent retailers and smaller businesses to the town. We need tighter regulations on charity, betting and pound shops as well as Tesco Locals. It is all well and good wanting big retailers in the town but you also need the smaller more interesting businesses to make sure that Wycombe isn't just another clone town with the same old mix of shops. We have some great independent shops and restaurants in town including G'rillers, Kitsch Me Kwik, Ruby Moon, Mom'd Dinner and Bluegrass. We just need more of these but the sky high rents are more often than not prohibitive! we need local artists, crafts people and producers selling their wares in our town centre.

Frogmore needs more green space and places to sit. An area to socialise and hold events. Frogfest was a great start but what about a farmers market, christmas market or art market like Art on the Street in Maidenhead? Art on the Street is a major draw for people and when it is on the High street is always buzzing. It draws people in from all over the place and something similar could definitely have a positive impact in Wycombe!
The rents for shops need to be cheaper to encourage independent retailers and smaller businesses to the town. We need tighter regulations on charity, betting and pound shops as well as Tesco Locals. It is all well and good wanting big retailers in the town but you also need the smaller more interesting businesses to make sure that Wycombe isn't just another clone town with the same old mix of shops. We have some great independent shops and restaurants in town including G'rillers, Kitsch Me Kwik, Ruby Moon, Mom'd Dinner and Bluegrass. We just need more of these but the sky high rents are more often than not prohibitive! we need local artists, crafts people and producers selling their wares in our town centre. Frogmore needs more green space and places to sit. An area to socialise and hold events. Frogfest was a great start but what about a farmers market, christmas market or art market like Art on the Street in Maidenhead? Art on the Street is a major draw for people and when it is on the High street is always buzzing. It draws people in from all over the place and something similar could definitely have a positive impact in Wycombe! LoraLou
  • Score: 4

10:41am Mon 17 Feb 14

KTinBucks says...

Some good points in this report. But it seems to have been a talking shop only. Where are the actions, the accountabilities, the timeframes?

The NLP aspirations are hollow. The issues are well known & haven't changed since the last 2 plans!. NLP is homes centric, based on aspirations only. Where are the justifications, the rigour, the business cases?

Where is the Vision & Strategy? Isn't that the responsibility of BCC & WDC to define. Until you have this, all the consultation in the world will achieve nought!
Some good points in this report. But it seems to have been a talking shop only. Where are the actions, the accountabilities, the timeframes? The NLP aspirations are hollow. The issues are well known & haven't changed since the last 2 plans!. NLP is homes centric, based on aspirations only. Where are the justifications, the rigour, the business cases? Where is the Vision & Strategy? Isn't that the responsibility of BCC & WDC to define. Until you have this, all the consultation in the world will achieve nought! KTinBucks
  • Score: 1

10:45am Mon 17 Feb 14

big don g the 1st says...

Why is pedestrianising the place always top of their list? I don't have too many problems with motor vehicles being around and fully understand that I should walk on the pavement and that the road is for cars, vans and lorries etc. The High Street is no better for not having vehicles, it wasn't exactly like crossing the M40.

How about brightening up the place? Draw attention to some of the town's history? Make Wycombe a place we can have a bit of pride in.

First job, sort the fountain out at Frogmoor & stick up some nice flowers etc... Not really hard is it?

Have some more events like the French market, it livens up the town.
Why is pedestrianising the place always top of their list? I don't have too many problems with motor vehicles being around and fully understand that I should walk on the pavement and that the road is for cars, vans and lorries etc. The High Street is no better for not having vehicles, it wasn't exactly like crossing the M40. How about brightening up the place? Draw attention to some of the town's history? Make Wycombe a place we can have a bit of pride in. First job, sort the fountain out at Frogmoor & stick up some nice flowers etc... Not really hard is it? Have some more events like the French market, it livens up the town. big don g the 1st
  • Score: 5

10:51am Mon 17 Feb 14

chepping100 says...

big don g the 1st wrote:
Why is pedestrianising the place always top of their list? I don't have too many problems with motor vehicles being around and fully understand that I should walk on the pavement and that the road is for cars, vans and lorries etc. The High Street is no better for not having vehicles, it wasn't exactly like crossing the M40.

How about brightening up the place? Draw attention to some of the town's history? Make Wycombe a place we can have a bit of pride in.

First job, sort the fountain out at Frogmoor & stick up some nice flowers etc... Not really hard is it?

Have some more events like the French market, it livens up the town.
Marlow High Street is not pedestrianised; it is thriving.
High Wycombe High Street is pedestrianised; it is suffering.
[quote][p][bold]big don g the 1st[/bold] wrote: Why is pedestrianising the place always top of their list? I don't have too many problems with motor vehicles being around and fully understand that I should walk on the pavement and that the road is for cars, vans and lorries etc. The High Street is no better for not having vehicles, it wasn't exactly like crossing the M40. How about brightening up the place? Draw attention to some of the town's history? Make Wycombe a place we can have a bit of pride in. First job, sort the fountain out at Frogmoor & stick up some nice flowers etc... Not really hard is it? Have some more events like the French market, it livens up the town.[/p][/quote]Marlow High Street is not pedestrianised; it is thriving. High Wycombe High Street is pedestrianised; it is suffering. chepping100
  • Score: 8

11:12am Mon 17 Feb 14

adeel2012 says...

wycombe is dying, and all that these people, can do is sit around and talk, except for Mr O'dell, who seems to be pushing the topic in the right direction. How can wycombe improve if estate agents such as Stupples Chandler Garvey are too greedy to back down from their rental charges and terms. How can a new businesses come in and set up, when the issue in the first place is with rental costing and tax, which are too high for a new business to open its doors and establish its self with out going bust in the first 6months. Priority should be given to people who want to start up a small business and who live in the Wycombe District, as opposed to outsiders, and national corporations coming in and setting up. We just had a complete new revamp of the town center, a brand new shopping center, a fountain that doesn't work, and now talks of spending more money on pedestrianizing the town center which, like the fountain and shopping center are just a complete load of ****. If were not careful our high street is going to be run down, just like Luton, and other towns, the only difference is, that we have a brand new shopping center which is going to be derelict.
wycombe is dying, and all that these people, can do is sit around and talk, except for Mr O'dell, who seems to be pushing the topic in the right direction. How can wycombe improve if estate agents such as Stupples Chandler Garvey are too greedy to back down from their rental charges and terms. How can a new businesses come in and set up, when the issue in the first place is with rental costing and tax, which are too high for a new business to open its doors and establish its self with out going bust in the first 6months. Priority should be given to people who want to start up a small business and who live in the Wycombe District, as opposed to outsiders, and national corporations coming in and setting up. We just had a complete new revamp of the town center, a brand new shopping center, a fountain that doesn't work, and now talks of spending more money on pedestrianizing the town center which, like the fountain and shopping center are just a complete load of ****. If were not careful our high street is going to be run down, just like Luton, and other towns, the only difference is, that we have a brand new shopping center which is going to be derelict. adeel2012
  • Score: 2

11:18am Mon 17 Feb 14

Ministry for Growth says...

There is clearly something amiss for High Wycombe - Wycombe is the district and includes vibrant towns such as Marlow and Princes Risborough - and no amount of navel gazing will achieve anything. Eden was hailed at its birth as the saviour of the town; pragmatists could see the dangers of a perceived lack of a business strategy for the town. The much mooted 'market forces' have clearly spoken! Talking to local businesses (not Eden or John Lewis, sorry) over the last few years, it is becoming clear that there is something of a disconnect between what the majority of businesses feel they need: many - but not all - typically work from home - and their priorities are good meeting places and some start-up units for when they are ready to grow. The Council organised an exploratory visit to Kent a few years back and these points were highlighted and there was mutterings about getting to grips with this. What happened? I realise that I am offering a rather simplistic view however if High Wycombe is to join its neighbours as a 'destination town' (awful term!) then something has to give. Was Bucks Business First not represented at the meeting? By the way: Blue Grass is a fabulous restaurant in the heart of the town!
There is clearly something amiss for High Wycombe - Wycombe is the district and includes vibrant towns such as Marlow and Princes Risborough - and no amount of navel gazing will achieve anything. Eden was hailed at its birth as the saviour of the town; pragmatists could see the dangers of a perceived lack of a business strategy for the town. The much mooted 'market forces' have clearly spoken! Talking to local businesses (not Eden or John Lewis, sorry) over the last few years, it is becoming clear that there is something of a disconnect between what the majority of businesses feel they need: many - but not all - typically work from home - and their priorities are good meeting places and some start-up units for when they are ready to grow. The Council organised an exploratory visit to Kent a few years back and these points were highlighted and there was mutterings about getting to grips with this. What happened? I realise that I am offering a rather simplistic view however if High Wycombe is to join its neighbours as a 'destination town' (awful term!) then something has to give. Was Bucks Business First not represented at the meeting? By the way: Blue Grass is a fabulous restaurant in the heart of the town! Ministry for Growth
  • Score: 0

11:22am Mon 17 Feb 14

chepping100 says...

LoraLou wrote:
The rents for shops need to be cheaper to encourage independent retailers and smaller businesses to the town. We need tighter regulations on charity, betting and pound shops as well as Tesco Locals. It is all well and good wanting big retailers in the town but you also need the smaller more interesting businesses to make sure that Wycombe isn't just another clone town with the same old mix of shops. We have some great independent shops and restaurants in town including G'rillers, Kitsch Me Kwik, Ruby Moon, Mom'd Dinner and Bluegrass. We just need more of these but the sky high rents are more often than not prohibitive! we need local artists, crafts people and producers selling their wares in our town centre.

Frogmore needs more green space and places to sit. An area to socialise and hold events. Frogfest was a great start but what about a farmers market, christmas market or art market like Art on the Street in Maidenhead? Art on the Street is a major draw for people and when it is on the High street is always buzzing. It draws people in from all over the place and something similar could definitely have a positive impact in Wycombe!
It’s the charity, betting and pound shops keeping the town centre going.
[quote][p][bold]LoraLou[/bold] wrote: The rents for shops need to be cheaper to encourage independent retailers and smaller businesses to the town. We need tighter regulations on charity, betting and pound shops as well as Tesco Locals. It is all well and good wanting big retailers in the town but you also need the smaller more interesting businesses to make sure that Wycombe isn't just another clone town with the same old mix of shops. We have some great independent shops and restaurants in town including G'rillers, Kitsch Me Kwik, Ruby Moon, Mom'd Dinner and Bluegrass. We just need more of these but the sky high rents are more often than not prohibitive! we need local artists, crafts people and producers selling their wares in our town centre. Frogmore needs more green space and places to sit. An area to socialise and hold events. Frogfest was a great start but what about a farmers market, christmas market or art market like Art on the Street in Maidenhead? Art on the Street is a major draw for people and when it is on the High street is always buzzing. It draws people in from all over the place and something similar could definitely have a positive impact in Wycombe![/p][/quote]It’s the charity, betting and pound shops keeping the town centre going. chepping100
  • Score: 6

12:08pm Mon 17 Feb 14

MattHopkins1620 says...

The Town's biggest blight is shambolic management by a succession of councillors that value bigger over better in everything they do.

Like small children focussing only on the new they abandoned the High Street and Frogmore because they wanted a shiny shopping centre. Many residents knew what would happen before Eden was built but apparently it was beyond the wit of our Councillors to see the obvious.

Now the focus turns towards Scott's Folly at Handy Cross and no doubt they will allow Eden to fall into decay as a result, in spite of the concerns raised by retailers in the town.

Interesting list of attendees at the meeting though. All business and council. Does anyone know what the Council Tax payers of the District would like? You know, the ones that sit in the traffic every day and slalom up Marlow hill avoiding pot holes.

"What kind of town does Wycombe want to be?" Frankly I don't think it has a clue but it does know it must be bigger with more shiny new buildings and it must be attractive to people that don't actually live here. I have asked before, but as there has been no answer, I will ask again, when will Wycombe be big enough?
The Town's biggest blight is shambolic management by a succession of councillors that value bigger over better in everything they do. Like small children focussing only on the new they abandoned the High Street and Frogmore because they wanted a shiny shopping centre. Many residents knew what would happen before Eden was built but apparently it was beyond the wit of our Councillors to see the obvious. Now the focus turns towards Scott's Folly at Handy Cross and no doubt they will allow Eden to fall into decay as a result, in spite of the concerns raised by retailers in the town. Interesting list of attendees at the meeting though. All business and council. Does anyone know what the Council Tax payers of the District would like? You know, the ones that sit in the traffic every day and slalom up Marlow hill avoiding pot holes. "What kind of town does Wycombe want to be?" Frankly I don't think it has a clue but it does know it must be bigger with more shiny new buildings and it must be attractive to people that don't actually live here. I have asked before, but as there has been no answer, I will ask again, when will Wycombe be big enough? MattHopkins1620
  • Score: 4

12:23pm Mon 17 Feb 14

gpn01 says...

MattHopkins1620 wrote:
The Town's biggest blight is shambolic management by a succession of councillors that value bigger over better in everything they do.

Like small children focussing only on the new they abandoned the High Street and Frogmore because they wanted a shiny shopping centre. Many residents knew what would happen before Eden was built but apparently it was beyond the wit of our Councillors to see the obvious.

Now the focus turns towards Scott's Folly at Handy Cross and no doubt they will allow Eden to fall into decay as a result, in spite of the concerns raised by retailers in the town.

Interesting list of attendees at the meeting though. All business and council. Does anyone know what the Council Tax payers of the District would like? You know, the ones that sit in the traffic every day and slalom up Marlow hill avoiding pot holes.

"What kind of town does Wycombe want to be?" Frankly I don't think it has a clue but it does know it must be bigger with more shiny new buildings and it must be attractive to people that don't actually live here. I have asked before, but as there has been no answer, I will ask again, when will Wycombe be big enough?
Ah, but why bother asking current residents of Wycombe what they want? The Council is developing plans to support the Government's expectation that the local population is going to grow by at least 1% p.a. So that's at least 1200 new residents each year. So, in addition for somewhere for them to live, they'll need somewhere to work, somewhere t shop, somewhere to engage in leisure activities. That's why it's so critical that the new leisure centre is increased in size from what's in place currently and the new centre wil be so much larger. Oh, hang on, no it won't.....who's fault is that?
[quote][p][bold]MattHopkins1620[/bold] wrote: The Town's biggest blight is shambolic management by a succession of councillors that value bigger over better in everything they do. Like small children focussing only on the new they abandoned the High Street and Frogmore because they wanted a shiny shopping centre. Many residents knew what would happen before Eden was built but apparently it was beyond the wit of our Councillors to see the obvious. Now the focus turns towards Scott's Folly at Handy Cross and no doubt they will allow Eden to fall into decay as a result, in spite of the concerns raised by retailers in the town. Interesting list of attendees at the meeting though. All business and council. Does anyone know what the Council Tax payers of the District would like? You know, the ones that sit in the traffic every day and slalom up Marlow hill avoiding pot holes. "What kind of town does Wycombe want to be?" Frankly I don't think it has a clue but it does know it must be bigger with more shiny new buildings and it must be attractive to people that don't actually live here. I have asked before, but as there has been no answer, I will ask again, when will Wycombe be big enough?[/p][/quote]Ah, but why bother asking current residents of Wycombe what they want? The Council is developing plans to support the Government's expectation that the local population is going to grow by at least 1% p.a. So that's at least 1200 new residents each year. So, in addition for somewhere for them to live, they'll need somewhere to work, somewhere t shop, somewhere to engage in leisure activities. That's why it's so critical that the new leisure centre is increased in size from what's in place currently and the new centre wil be so much larger. Oh, hang on, no it won't.....who's fault is that? gpn01
  • Score: 1

12:59pm Mon 17 Feb 14

gpn01 says...

chepping100 wrote:
LoraLou wrote:
The rents for shops need to be cheaper to encourage independent retailers and smaller businesses to the town. We need tighter regulations on charity, betting and pound shops as well as Tesco Locals. It is all well and good wanting big retailers in the town but you also need the smaller more interesting businesses to make sure that Wycombe isn't just another clone town with the same old mix of shops. We have some great independent shops and restaurants in town including G'rillers, Kitsch Me Kwik, Ruby Moon, Mom'd Dinner and Bluegrass. We just need more of these but the sky high rents are more often than not prohibitive! we need local artists, crafts people and producers selling their wares in our town centre.

Frogmore needs more green space and places to sit. An area to socialise and hold events. Frogfest was a great start but what about a farmers market, christmas market or art market like Art on the Street in Maidenhead? Art on the Street is a major draw for people and when it is on the High street is always buzzing. It draws people in from all over the place and something similar could definitely have a positive impact in Wycombe!
It’s the charity, betting and pound shops keeping the town centre going.
In an effort to reduce costs, Calderdale Borough Council has approved plans to end discretionary rate relief on charity shops. If WDC were to adopt a similar approach then it may be just be the betting and pound shops that are left!
[quote][p][bold]chepping100[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LoraLou[/bold] wrote: The rents for shops need to be cheaper to encourage independent retailers and smaller businesses to the town. We need tighter regulations on charity, betting and pound shops as well as Tesco Locals. It is all well and good wanting big retailers in the town but you also need the smaller more interesting businesses to make sure that Wycombe isn't just another clone town with the same old mix of shops. We have some great independent shops and restaurants in town including G'rillers, Kitsch Me Kwik, Ruby Moon, Mom'd Dinner and Bluegrass. We just need more of these but the sky high rents are more often than not prohibitive! we need local artists, crafts people and producers selling their wares in our town centre. Frogmore needs more green space and places to sit. An area to socialise and hold events. Frogfest was a great start but what about a farmers market, christmas market or art market like Art on the Street in Maidenhead? Art on the Street is a major draw for people and when it is on the High street is always buzzing. It draws people in from all over the place and something similar could definitely have a positive impact in Wycombe![/p][/quote]It’s the charity, betting and pound shops keeping the town centre going.[/p][/quote]In an effort to reduce costs, Calderdale Borough Council has approved plans to end discretionary rate relief on charity shops. If WDC were to adopt a similar approach then it may be just be the betting and pound shops that are left! gpn01
  • Score: 0

6:25pm Mon 17 Feb 14

demoness the second says...

People knock Aylesbury a lot, but the one thing I have noticed since coming to live here is the amount of events they have got going on in the town.
We do have a farmers market once a month. We also had loads of xmas related things in December - including a couple of craft markets/fairs.
I am convinced it is because Aylesbury does have a town council who are proactive and interested in the town - and this is what makes the difference and what poor beleaguered Wycombe needs.
Here are some of the things that are happening in Aylesbury this year..
http://www.aylesbury
towncouncil.gov.uk/t
own-council-events/

The High Street always has something going on - from live musical acts to Morris dancers.
It also helps that the High Street is close to the market square and that M and S, Smiths, and a host of other busy shops are there as well.
I love Eden but sadly ( as so many others have said) it is detached from the town and I think that is the problem.
People knock Aylesbury a lot, but the one thing I have noticed since coming to live here is the amount of events they have got going on in the town. We do have a farmers market once a month. We also had loads of xmas related things in December - including a couple of craft markets/fairs. I am convinced it is because Aylesbury does have a town council who are proactive and interested in the town - and this is what makes the difference and what poor beleaguered Wycombe needs. Here are some of the things that are happening in Aylesbury this year.. http://www.aylesbury towncouncil.gov.uk/t own-council-events/ The High Street always has something going on - from live musical acts to Morris dancers. It also helps that the High Street is close to the market square and that M and S, Smiths, and a host of other busy shops are there as well. I love Eden but sadly ( as so many others have said) it is detached from the town and I think that is the problem. demoness the second
  • Score: 1

7:47pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Dickitdo says...

Wycombe Town is in a valley , whatever any Planner does they have to consider the out and out fact that people do not want to walk carrying their shopping back to their car . What is required is on street parking not pedestrians wandering about in the roads. Pedestrianisation in High Wycombe does not work and what's more it never will, It may seem to be a good modern concept , but it will not work in High Wycombe What must be done is sensible free parking close to the shops that we already have , and proper retailers will follow . Do not keep throwing good money after bad . Shoppers want convenience not inconvenience . The planners in this Town need to find a dark room and think about what they propose for a hour or so, and just maybe they may come to a sensible solution that does not cost us millions .We do not want or need any more shops and fast food outlets,We need to put the shops that we have to the use that they were meant for. Just make it easy for people to shop .Its easy. Stop wasting money on projects that will never ever work ,Town planners are fundamentally flawed, For a start they have not seen how the town has gone downhill over the last fifty to sixty years " I have " What I have seen is a downhill slippery slope of uselessness , Also a near criminal waste of our money on completely useless projects!.
Wycombe Town is in a valley , whatever any Planner does they have to consider the out and out fact that people do not want to walk carrying their shopping back to their car . What is required is on street parking not pedestrians wandering about in the roads. Pedestrianisation in High Wycombe does not work and what's more it never will, It may seem to be a good modern concept , but it will not work in High Wycombe What must be done is sensible free parking close to the shops that we already have , and proper retailers will follow . Do not keep throwing good money after bad . Shoppers want convenience not inconvenience . The planners in this Town need to find a dark room and think about what they propose for a hour or so, and just maybe they may come to a sensible solution that does not cost us millions .We do not want or need any more shops and fast food outlets,We need to put the shops that we have to the use that they were meant for. Just make it easy for people to shop .Its easy. Stop wasting money on projects that will never ever work ,Town planners are fundamentally flawed, For a start they have not seen how the town has gone downhill over the last fifty to sixty years " I have " What I have seen is a downhill slippery slope of uselessness , Also a near criminal waste of our money on completely useless projects!. Dickitdo
  • Score: 4

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