Warminster and Villages
Economy and Tourism Group
NOTES of Meeting held on Tuesday 8th June 2010 in the Meeting Room of the Athenaeum.
PRESENT: Christine Gilbert (CG) in the Chair, Rosemary Buchan (RB), Elisabeth Collyns (EC), Victoria
Coombes (VC), Cllr Sue Fraser (SF), Susan Hewitt (SEH), Sue Harris (SH), Beverly Jenkins (BJ), Ian
Stanley (IS), Pamela Thicknesse (PT), Len Turner (LT), Christine Montagu (CEM). APOLOGIES: Michael
CG welcomed the Mayor of Warminster, Cllr Sue Fraser, to the meeting.
1. Minutes of the last meeting.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and agreed after an amendment to Item 4 para 1. Pound World
has been taken over by CM3 (not CM2).
2. Matters arising from the last minutes.
Item 2 para 1 IS has investigated the problem of litter, specifically on the roads beyond the town’s
jurisdiction. There is less litter now, but he has spoken with Bill Parks who has specialist highway
knowledge. Bill Parks has offered to attend one of our meetings to talk to us about the highways around
Warminster. CEM will contact him to fix a date.
Item 2 para 2 Car parking – Wiltshire Council has not agreed to the Town Council’s offer to contribute
£50,000 to ensure 2 hours ‘free’ parking in all the car parks. SF said that she was attending a meeting
tonight to discuss the situation. At present car parking charges will be imposed from 1st July. From April
2011 there will be a uniform rate in towns throughout the area. We discussed the fact that Warminster has
many village residents who use Warminster for shopping, and we wondered whether car parking charges
would reduce the number of journeys into town. There will no doubt be an increase in side street parking to
avoid paying charges. LT observed that car parking charges in some parts of the country were far higher
than those envisaged here.
3. Report from WVCP Management Committee member.
EC reported that the next Warminster Community Area Board meeting will be on 24th June at Codford.
LT reported that the first of the benchmarking exercises in town (as detailed in last month’s minutes) will be
manned by pupils at Warminster School on 9th July. They will record footfall at strategic points in the town.
They will ask questions to ascertain where people are travelling from, their views on the town, and, if there is
enough pupil power, car parking usage.
4. Shops and business news, and the town scene, including empty buildings.
Woodcock businesses in the Warminster Business List have been checked and updated. Two businesses that
expressed a wish for the estate to be improved have been put in touch with Caroline Lightfoot of Wiltshire
Council. They also have useful information for her about the ownership of the estate and its history. There
is one new business on the estate, and one has left.
The Jacques Vert concession will move out of M & Co next month. Their general principle is to move to
larger shops in bigger towns e.g. the new Debenhams opening in Bath later this year. The manager in
Warminster is keen to keep a presence here and is happy for anyone with that view to write to the company.
We agreed that Jacques Vert clothes add a valuable choice to shoppers in town and CEM will write to the
company on behalf of the Group.
There have been several changes to the shop scene in the past month. Tony’s Carpet Shop in George Street
will be auctioned (but the business will remain), Warminster Framing Studio’s lease is for sale,
Hippopotandmouse is to let, Miranda’s florist has been repossessed, and the Taste House in East Street is
empty. There may be problems with conversion of 45 High Street into a wine bar, as there is a potential
noise issue impinging on residential units above. One thing has not changed - the silver coated windows of
the Original Factory Shop remain, 3 years after being refused retrospective planning permission.
We talked about the effect of supermarkets not only on the small independent shops but also the power they
wield over the farmers. Many dairy farmers find the economic climate extremely difficult. CG and EC will
discuss this together more fully, and report back.
IS suggested that a permanent covered market, with lighting and refrigeration to hand, would be a better
venue for farmers to sell their produce in market towns, instead of stalls outside in all weathers. Would there
be a suitable venue in Warminster?
We discussed business promotions and loyalty schemes. LT observed that loyalty schemes reward existing
customers, whilst the main idea is to attract new custom. The key is to find a way of encouraging people to
explore and discover new interesting shopping.
5. Buy Local campaign update.
We are selling the second batch of Buy Local Campaign window stickers. The Warminster Journal printed a
piece on 28th May about the new initiative, and the June Warminster Way also featured the sticker campaign.
The Warminster Business List is having its final check. Group members agreed to ‘adopt’ a street and check
the details on a regular basis, reporting back to the Group with any changes. If empty commercial buildings
are noticed details of the firm selling/letting the business will be recorded.
The businesses on the Crusader Park/Warminster Business Park have shown limited interest to the idea of a
leaflet to promote the businesses on the estates (only 11 responses). The cost of the leaflet cannot be
justified at present. The Finance and Assets Committee of Town Council, who awarded us a grant for the
project, will decide later this month whether the money can be transferred to another of our projects.
The sub group has met twice since 4th May. Four quotes have been obtained for the printing of the Christmas
leaflet. Colour printing seems a possibility this time. We have applied to Warminster Community Area
Board for £400 towards the costs of printing and distribution. Discussions are ongoing with Churches
Together with regard to the possible distribution of the leaflet through the parish magazines.
Warminster Festival takes place from 3rd to 10th July. On Saturday 3rd July at the Town Criers’ Competition
in the park we will share a stall with the Fair Trade Group. CG and RB volunteered to help on the stall.
“The Warminster Blue Plaque Trail”, and “Days Out with a Difference” are two new leaflets on sale in
Warminster Information Centre. “Warminster Past, Present and Future” is being celebrated in two
competitions – a poem on a postcard, and a picture on a postcard.
We discussed how to attract more passing tourists (e.g those at Stonehenge) to divert to Warminster.
Regulations on the bypass do not allow advertising Warminster in any more detail than the static brown
signs. For instance there is no-where to advertise the Warminster Festival or the Carnival until vehicles have
turned onto the road into Warminster. How can town events be advertised to passing traffic more effectively?
Action for Market Towns is holding its South West awards showcase locally at Civic Hall in Trowbridge on
24th June from 9.30 until 3.30. CEM will apply for free tickets.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING: The next meeting will be held in the Meeting Room of the Athenaeum
on Tuesday 13th July at 5.00pm. Beverly Jenkins will be in the Chair.
C E Montagu (01985 301954)