'Business leaders need to unite to drive economic future of Wycombe'

'Business leaders need to unite to drive economic future of Wycombe'

'Business leaders need to unite to drive economic future of Wycombe'

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

BUSINESS leaders need to unite to drive the economic future of Wycombe town centre and put the framework in place now to achieve that goal.

That is the view of Oliver O’Dell, Chief Executive of the High Wycombe Business Improvement District Company, who believes a shared economic vision must sit alongside the high profile long-term Wycombe Masterplan.

Mr O’Dell said the town needs to be more decisive on joined-up thinking for the High Street and Frogmoor, and Wycombe must make better use of its Purple Flag status to encourage new investment into the night-time economy.

He said: "It is well over five years since the town committed to a new shopping centre and we must continue to build on five-year aspirations.

"The Wycombe Masterplan and public realm work is great but we must also be targeting the right investors to secure a dynamic long-term offer for the town."

Mr O’Dell said he believed the town centre needs to be "more eclectic" and while talk about the future is welcome, the time is now for business chiefs to act on issues such as Frogmoor and empty units.

He said: "Everyone wants to see Frogmoor change but doesn’t want to be the first to commit. If we truly believe that a café culture is the way forward, why don’t we test the theory?

"Eighteen months ago everyone said that we couldn’t build a temporary garden in this space. We did, and the world didn’t end. People tend to respond positively to action. It’s inaction that causes frustration."

The BIDCo, in the second year of its five year term, has been busy laying the foundations to underpin the future economic prosperity of the town.

Mr O’Dell has highlighted empty commercial space as a key issue for debate.

He said "Filling empty units is the ultimate goal but sometimes getting to that point can be complicated and frustrating.

"Errant landlords, companies in administration and ill-prepared potential tenants can all delay a new unit opening up."

BIDCo has a programme in place to address those issues by supporting new businesses, collating information about empty units and promoting the town to investors.

That sits alongside the work of Wycombe District Council - which purchased two long-vacant units in the town last month to free up locked-in leases.

Mr O’Dell has also called for a change of perspective - instead of counting empty units, he wants shoppers and business leaders to look at the positives of new openings, renewed leases and new business partnerships.

He said, "We still have a long way to go but now is the time to think creatively about the future offer of our town. We cannot afford to be constrained by traditional thinking that separates out different activities.

"Our economic future will ultimately be a mix of retail, services, entertainment, residential and business in its widest sense. This must be planned for now."

Comments (5)

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9:45pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Bartholomew HuckleBerry says...

How can these people be leaders when all the residents having been long calling for what they have just finally worked out with all their business acumen and initiatives. Leaders cannot be followers ! Otherwise it is a case of a dog chasing its own tail.
How can these people be leaders when all the residents having been long calling for what they have just finally worked out with all their business acumen and initiatives. Leaders cannot be followers ! Otherwise it is a case of a dog chasing its own tail. Bartholomew HuckleBerry
  • Score: 5

11:27pm Sat 1 Mar 14

EricBrown says...

I agree with Bartholomew Huckleberry. I expect Mr O'Dell is a gradulate who has spent all his life in the public sector telling us mere mortals what to do and hopping from **** up to **** up. I doubt whether he has ever emloyed people, or tried to run a shop in High Wycombe, or a cafe, or business or even lives round here. The fact is Eden (designed by these idiots) has killed Wycombe. It's a town of two halves. The wind tunnel with the identikit chains and then the run down empty part, charity shops, betting shops, pound shops. The council are so greedy and stupid you are penalised to park in Wycombe £ 1.50 for two hours. Business rates are sky high ~ I guess to pay the likes of Mr Odell his fat cat fees ( bet he's not on less than 100k a year).
If they want ro revive the town centre then they need to encourage more businesses to come in:

* Free parking to attract customers. More people = more demand.
* Five years free rates for new businesses taking on leases.
* Acknowledge mistakes with Eden and get 'normal' people who speak common sense on board instead of these so called 'experts'
* Speed up planning process for change of use etc. WDC planning seem to obstruct business development. The lefties hate evil capitalist business remember. Not the elected Tories, the empoyees !!

But sadly, I suspect the dog will just chase it's tail and successive 'experts' will take it in turn to make it worse and worse.
I agree with Bartholomew Huckleberry. I expect Mr O'Dell is a gradulate who has spent all his life in the public sector telling us mere mortals what to do and hopping from **** up to **** up. I doubt whether he has ever emloyed people, or tried to run a shop in High Wycombe, or a cafe, or business or even lives round here. The fact is Eden (designed by these idiots) has killed Wycombe. It's a town of two halves. The wind tunnel with the identikit chains and then the run down empty part, charity shops, betting shops, pound shops. The council are so greedy and stupid you are penalised to park in Wycombe £ 1.50 for two hours. Business rates are sky high ~ I guess to pay the likes of Mr Odell his fat cat fees ( bet he's not on less than 100k a year). If they want ro revive the town centre then they need to encourage more businesses to come in: * Free parking to attract customers. More people = more demand. * Five years free rates for new businesses taking on leases. * Acknowledge mistakes with Eden and get 'normal' people who speak common sense on board instead of these so called 'experts' * Speed up planning process for change of use etc. WDC planning seem to obstruct business development. The lefties hate evil capitalist business remember. Not the elected Tories, the empoyees !! But sadly, I suspect the dog will just chase it's tail and successive 'experts' will take it in turn to make it worse and worse. EricBrown
  • Score: 7

11:43pm Sat 1 Mar 14

England must be saved says...

EricBrown wrote:
I agree with Bartholomew Huckleberry. I expect Mr O'Dell is a gradulate who has spent all his life in the public sector telling us mere mortals what to do and hopping from **** up to **** up. I doubt whether he has ever emloyed people, or tried to run a shop in High Wycombe, or a cafe, or business or even lives round here. The fact is Eden (designed by these idiots) has killed Wycombe. It's a town of two halves. The wind tunnel with the identikit chains and then the run down empty part, charity shops, betting shops, pound shops. The council are so greedy and stupid you are penalised to park in Wycombe £ 1.50 for two hours. Business rates are sky high ~ I guess to pay the likes of Mr Odell his fat cat fees ( bet he's not on less than 100k a year).
If they want ro revive the town centre then they need to encourage more businesses to come in:

* Free parking to attract customers. More people = more demand.
* Five years free rates for new businesses taking on leases.
* Acknowledge mistakes with Eden and get 'normal' people who speak common sense on board instead of these so called 'experts'
* Speed up planning process for change of use etc. WDC planning seem to obstruct business development. The lefties hate evil capitalist business remember. Not the elected Tories, the empoyees !!

But sadly, I suspect the dog will just chase it's tail and successive 'experts' will take it in turn to make it worse and worse.
Totally agree. It's the council that has caused the demise and it's time they actually focused on doing what the public want and doing their bit to re-vitalise the town with initiatives that work. Work with those that want to give it a go, who want to set up businesses, employ people. Are they up to it ? mmmmm ... I'm yet to be convinced but I live in hope.
[quote][p][bold]EricBrown[/bold] wrote: I agree with Bartholomew Huckleberry. I expect Mr O'Dell is a gradulate who has spent all his life in the public sector telling us mere mortals what to do and hopping from **** up to **** up. I doubt whether he has ever emloyed people, or tried to run a shop in High Wycombe, or a cafe, or business or even lives round here. The fact is Eden (designed by these idiots) has killed Wycombe. It's a town of two halves. The wind tunnel with the identikit chains and then the run down empty part, charity shops, betting shops, pound shops. The council are so greedy and stupid you are penalised to park in Wycombe £ 1.50 for two hours. Business rates are sky high ~ I guess to pay the likes of Mr Odell his fat cat fees ( bet he's not on less than 100k a year). If they want ro revive the town centre then they need to encourage more businesses to come in: * Free parking to attract customers. More people = more demand. * Five years free rates for new businesses taking on leases. * Acknowledge mistakes with Eden and get 'normal' people who speak common sense on board instead of these so called 'experts' * Speed up planning process for change of use etc. WDC planning seem to obstruct business development. The lefties hate evil capitalist business remember. Not the elected Tories, the empoyees !! But sadly, I suspect the dog will just chase it's tail and successive 'experts' will take it in turn to make it worse and worse.[/p][/quote]Totally agree. It's the council that has caused the demise and it's time they actually focused on doing what the public want and doing their bit to re-vitalise the town with initiatives that work. Work with those that want to give it a go, who want to set up businesses, employ people. Are they up to it ? mmmmm ... I'm yet to be convinced but I live in hope. England must be saved
  • Score: 4

6:27am Sun 2 Mar 14

1wycombe says...

EDEN. was a mistake wycombe district council is mistake it self.
EDEN. was a mistake wycombe district council is mistake it self. 1wycombe
  • Score: 3

3:35am Tue 4 Mar 14

Dickitdo says...

I have said it before , and I will say it again .As long as the planners in Wycombe keep restricting car access to the shops and business premises in the town then Wycombe will spiral down and down . Pedestrianisation does not work and will not work , you only have to look at Wycombe to prove this fact .What is needed before it is to late is to open up the roads in the town, allow on street parking where practical , and do away with the ridiculous parking charges that the Council treats as a cash cow . The planners of Wycombe and Bucks County Council are killing this Town and they must be held to account before it is too late and more money is invested in complete failure.
I have said it before , and I will say it again .As long as the planners in Wycombe keep restricting car access to the shops and business premises in the town then Wycombe will spiral down and down . Pedestrianisation does not work and will not work , you only have to look at Wycombe to prove this fact .What is needed before it is to late is to open up the roads in the town, allow on street parking where practical , and do away with the ridiculous parking charges that the Council treats as a cash cow . The planners of Wycombe and Bucks County Council are killing this Town and they must be held to account before it is too late and more money is invested in complete failure. Dickitdo
  • Score: 7

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