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MINUTES OF THE WOLVERHAMPTON BUSINESS GROUP MEETING ON TUESDAY, 4TH OCTOBER 2011 Planning It has improved but some members still feel it is too slow – could those members who feel let down please contact me at email@example.com and either myself or Chris Bywater of First City will follow up your complaint with the Planning Department. Policing 70% believed the local police force had done its best in difficult circumstances during the riots and accepted Superintendent Payne’s assertion that he did not have enough officers to police all the centre before reinforcements arrived. 100% believed crime in the city has got worse and victims felt the police do not prioritise business crimes. There was a general feeling that police do not respond well enough to business crime and even the pursuing letters of complaint by senior businessmen. There was a strong feeling that the anti-social behaviour in the city centre was not well enough policed or maintained by the council. The Methodist Church soup kitchens in Darlington Street encouraged badly behaved vagrants who gave the city an unsafe perception. The council contributed about £54,000 to this project which was considered to be in the wrong location. Parking There was 100% agreement that parking charges were comparatively too high in the city particularly in comparison with Bentley Bridge, Bilston and Tettenhall locally and Merry Hill and Telford which are within easy driving distances. The petition to reduce charges had already received 1500 signatures and was predicted to obtain the 2500 well before the end of October. It was generally accepted that over 50% of Wolverhampton people shop elsewhere and that Councillors and Council employees should not be subsidized at the expense of hard working families. At present they park for free. Transport There was general agreement that ´bus only lanes` on the main business routes created more congestion and inconvenience to business users as they take up 50% of the road space and only have 12% of the traffic. Summer Row / South Side It was accepted that there was very little of architectural value in the area and if the council purchased the former C.P.O. properties, knocked them down and created nicely landscaped parking, the usage of the city would improve and investment would be more likely to occur. State of the City Centre There was widespread opinion that the variety and range of shops was decreasing (with T K Max etc leaving) and there was too much untidiness, neglect, dereliction, and it was not perceived to be safe. Market It was agreed that it was essential that for the market to flourish and compete with supermarkets that they must have free car parking for 2 hours. Councillors or Senior Officers It was felt by members that they should be invited to the next meeting.
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