11:54am Friday 15th June 2012
I READ with interest recently in the BFP a letter from Oliver O’Dell regarding a Business Improvement District (BID) scheme for Wycombe Town.
I checked out the BID website and discovered that Oliver and his team have a good understanding of the town’s ills whilst also acknowledging its strengths.
There is no doubt that Wycombe needs help. We are seeing the result of decades of poor planning and lack of vision, which is still ongoing. The planning consent to allow John Lewis to sell clothing is another nail in the coffin. The store will stock most of the quality labels on sale in the town centre but also offers long opening hours and convenient, free parking, which gives it a huge advantage over its rivals in the town. The Eden Centre, as predicted, has drawn shoppers away from the High Street, leaving the heart of Wycombe with an impoverished, soulless feel about it. You can almost see the tumbleweed rolling down street. The old town has been reduced to a centre for discount and charity shops. These shops have their place within a diverse choice of outlets, but if allowed to dominate, they do little to create an atmosphere where entrepreneurs and vibrant new businesses will want to invest. If this were a suburb of a declining industrial city, it would be understandable, but Wycombe is an historic town set amongst stunning scenery, and situated in one of the most affluent areas of the South East. It has first class access to motorways and fast rail links to London. The nearest large shopping centre is over 25 miles away. The local businesses should be able to build on these advantages making Wycombe an enviable place to work, live and shop.
The BID scheme is the first official body to acknowledge the town’s problems and offers the one and only chance to halt the decline and create an environment for local businesses to thrive. I very much hope that these businesses grasp this opportunity and vote YES on the BID proposal.
Carol McCullough, Lyndhurst Close, Downley
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