Minutes of Newbury Retail Association Meeting

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					Minutes of Newbury Retail Association Meeting
Tuesday 14 November 2006 held in the Newbury Town Council Chamber

Attending
Peter Atkinson                       Chairman Newbury Town Centre Steering Group
Liz Chandler                         Natures Corner & Caramelle
Mitch Roberts                        Town Centre Manager
Steve Brind                          Newbury Market Traders
Mick Conisbee                        Newbury Market Traders
Emma Webster                         West Berkshire Council
Brian Burgess                        Chairman (Newbury Internet)
Roy Speirs                           ICN Computers
Christine Speirs                     Vinyl Revival Records
Norman Bland                         NGB Computers
Mike Rodger                          Desmoulin Gallery (now closed)
John Wade                            Cotton Traders
Fiona Wade                           Cotton Traders
John Ince                            Artifax
Debbie Smith                         Market Trader
Mike Garrett                         Kuva
Helen White                          Newbury Weekly News
John Stratford                       Kings Coffee House
Jonathan Hopson                      Camp Hopson
Karachwg Dizayee                     Saman Kebab Fast Food
Malik Azam                           Appliance 2U
Roger Hunneman                       Newbury Town Council
Beccy Human                          Camp Hopson
Gerry Hogan                          Hogan Music
Barbara Hogan                        Hogan Music
Barry Forkin                         Barry Forkin/Toomers



1. Welcome & Apologies
   Andy Goodwin
   Colin Donald
   Sue Hetherton
   Frank Brown
   Wendy Seddon
   Wendy Berkeley
   Hugh Doel

2. Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising
   There is a geographical error (east/west) in the town division, which will be rectified.

3. Christmas Ice Rink Update
   Confirmation was received from West Berkshire Council (WBC) that the ice rink will be
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   located in the Market Place. The Market will return to the Market Place on 30 November
   2006. Brian Burgess reported that this is a concern to the Market Traders who had
   previously been informed that the Market would remain in Northbrook Street until the end
   of 2006, and had initiated the idea of the ice rink as a celebration and launch of the newly
   refurbished Market Place. Limited space will necessitate the expansion of the Market into
   Wharf Street and to the front of the Library. Steve Brind stated that complaint forms
   regarding maladministration by one Councillor would be presented to the Ombudsman on
   Wednesday 15 November. Emma Webster reported that it was necessary to move the
   buses back into Northbrook Street, as increased congestion meant that people would not
   be able to get into the town. This brought about a safety issue during the Thursday and
   Saturday Market days, necessitating the return of the Market to the Market Place. There
   had been a 17% increase in market stalls since its location in Northbrook Street, and that
   the ‘new joiners’ would be asked to occupy the locations away from the Market Place
   when the ice rink was present. Later in the meeting, Steve Brind clarified that there had
   been a drop off in the number of Market Traders during the building works in the town and
   the numbers had recovered during their time in Northbrook Street, to bring them back to
   full strength. He felt that the Market Traders were upset and had been let down and this
   was supported by a number of people present. The Town Council has proposed a public
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   meeting on Tuesday 21 November for further discussion on the location of the Market.
   Emma Webster felt it was frustrating to see a meeting being arranged by an authority who
   were not in a position to make decisions on the grounds of health and safety. This is a
   matter for the WBC Highways Authority. She reported that everybody was looking to do
   their best for a flowing transport network and a creative Christmas offering for the town.
   Mike Rodger also urged everybody to work together to promote the ice rink and show what
   can be achieved in the Market Place.
   Roger Hunneman stated that the Town Council has issued a press release and clarified
   that the proposed meeting/discussion was to seek the general view of the public.

4. Town Centre Steering Group
   At the recent Town Centre Management Steering Group (TCMSG) meeting, it was
   decided that it would be inappropriate to accept the resignation of the Town Centre
   Manager (Mitch Roberts), following much discussion about the Borders advertising
   display. His resignation was duly withdrawn and the TCMSG pledged their support for
   Mitch Roberts.
   With regard to funding for the TCMSG, there is currently a shortfall of approximately
   £10 000. Emma Webster reported that, in order to achieve vital work up to Christmas and
   beyond, the financial allocation for the Steering group has been brought forward from April
   2007 to the current time. There will not be a further allocation in April. WBC is in year 1 of
   a four year commitment to provide the funding. Discussion regarding Christmas lights
   followed, with 2006 being the last Christmas for the current lights. The Town Council
   provided a substantial sum (approximately £26 000) to maintain, repair and erect the lights
   but is not in a position to purchase new lights for 2007. The advertising banners provide an
   income of around £5000 and work is being done by the TCMSG on the BID process. For
   further information on this issue, please contact Mitch Roberts on 07931 712969.
   Brian Burgess stated that he understood there was an invitation for Steve Brind to attend
   the TCMSG meetings, and Peter Atkinson confirmed this to be the case.

5. Pedlars
   Most people are aware that there is an increasing number of pedlars appearing in the
   Town Centre, particularly outside Cotton Traders, but also in varying locations. Brian
   Burgess has made several approaches to the Licensing department of WBC (through
   David Appleton), and Emma Webster informed the floor of a meeting on Friday to discuss
   a way of resolving this problem. Licenses for pedlars can be issued anywhere in the UK
   and are then valid throughout the UK. The proposal is to enforce the letter of the law, thus
   making trading difficult for the pedlars. Nick Carter emphasized that retailers could not
   expect the enforcement to be a priority for the police, in view of other more serious crime.
   WBC will move pedlars without a license when the matter became decriminalised next
   year. The issue of an increasing number of chuggers was raised by John Ince, and it was
   recognised that this also is a problem not easily overcome. The public should be
   discouraged from giving money, especially as most donations will not reach any charity for
   the first year, but purely goes towards paying the wages of the chugger.
   John Wade from Cotton Traders reported unruly behaviour by large groups of youths in
   the town centre, and Brian Burgess stated that it appeared evident that the police are
   currently understaffed. Rob Murray had previously released his contact details as follows
   A/PS 5183 Rob Murray
   Town Centre Neighbourhood Sergeant
   01635 264636/Mobile 07974117527
   Email: Robert.murray@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk


6. Market Traders return to the Market Place and buses return to Northbrook Street
   WBC has issued a press release regarding this matter.
7. Permanent closure of Wharf Street
   Nick Carter made the correction that Wharf Street would be brought into the pedestrian
   zone (i.e closed to traffic from 10am until 6pm), and that this was a temporary
   arrangement, giving WBC the opportunity to monitor traffic movement and make a
   decision in the New Year. He agreed that enforcing the closure would be challenging, but
   that WBC would consider more robust enforcement methods, such as bollards, if
   necessary and in due course. Brian Burgess raised the issue of improvements to the mini
   roundabout by the old telephone exchange, and Norman Bland felt that statistics gathered
   during the build up to Christmas would not present a meaningful picture, as this period did
   not reflect a ‘normal’ time of year.
   Malik Azam suggested that items 3, 6 and 7 on the Agenda, were in fact the same item. In
   agreement with a number of people present, he felt that the Market Traders had been
   deceived and that potential funding for the ice rink from private sponsors had been
   jeopardised. General discussion followed but in summary, as Chairman of the Newbury
   Retail Association, Brian Burgess formally wished every success to the ice rink.
   Jonathan Hopson suggested that planning for Christmas 2007 should start as soon as
   possible, and, together with John Ince and Mitch Roberts, will meet in the New Year to
   formulate some ideas.

8. Latest news on the Cinema.
   The following information has been received from Kennet Shopping: Soil tests have taken
   place over the last few weeks and the Cinema has gone out to tender, with construction
   expected to commence by the end of March/beginning of April 2007. There have been
   numerous enquiries from various food outlets and Mag Williams at Kennet Shopping has
   confirmed that Wetherspoons will not be one of the occupants.

9. Litter bins in Bartholomew Street
   The litter bins sit on nothing more than chipboard and this has rotted away in some
   instances. However, the bin outside Snappy Snaps has been correctly reinstated (this
   morning).

10. Park Way Development
    Nick Carter reported that Park Way development could be slightly behind schedule and
    work may not commence in September 2007. However, he assured the floor that work
    would not commence during the busy run up to Christmas. Compulsory purchase orders
    have been issued and this process could gain or lose some time. Some confidential
    information was published on a website and Nick Carter confirmed this to be an error.
    John Stratford asked for information about the relocation of the bus station during Market
    Street development. Nick Carter responded that a facility such as we have at present is
    not required in Newbury, as the Bus Company have a garage in Mill Lane. Enhanced
    facilities in Park Way and to the south of the town would be appropriate. Brian Burgess
    suggested that further disruption for building works would further deter retail customers
    and visitors. Nick Carter confirmed that the boat basin would not be started during Park
    Way development; the cinema starts shortly, is a self contained development with no road
    closures required and would take 12-18 months; Park Way is probably 15 months away
    from starting and would be a 3 year programme; Market Street currently has no firm date
    but, again, is a fairly self contained development. He agreed that car parking is a big issue
    and that we need to work together to determine the best possible resolution, utilizing
    capacity in other car parks, as well as the Northbrook Car Park. Car parking on Victoria
    Park has been dismissed as unviable. John Stratford recalled discussion about car parking
    in the Broadway at a meeting with Emma Webster in September, and Nick Carter stated
    that this was still on the agenda as an active issue. Seating was also promised but has not
    come to fruition and John stated that there is no seating from the Clock Tower in the
    Broadway to Superdrug, in Northbrook Street. Nick Carter agreed to action this point. New
    retailers for the Broadway include Sainsburys and Domino’s Pizza. The property owner of
    the newsagents is looking for a similar business to undertake the lease.

11. NRA Website Update
    January 2007 is the suggested date to launch the shopnewbury.com website. A listing on
    the database will be free and advertising will be incorporated into the £50 annual NRA
   subscription fee. Attendance at NRA meetings is open to any business in the town, but the
   right to vote will be determined by payment of the membership fee. The new bank account
   for the NRA is not yet set up. There are currently two websites for the NRA
   nranewbury.co.uk
   newburyretail.co.uk
   The former is owned by a company in Solihull (being looked into) and the latter is for
   members to find information about the NRA.

12. Shops opening and closing
   Sainburys – Broadway
   Domino’s Pizza – Broadway
   Timpsons is relocating in the Kennet Shopping
   New factory outlet and glass shop – Hammonds (original signage still in place)
   Bartholomew Street
   Kuva – Arcade
   Gucci Nail Studio – Pearl House
   Car Phone Warehouse moving to Northbrook Street
   Cottrells are closing

13. A.O.B
   Brian Burgess has been asked by Dreweatt Neate for feedback about the effect that the
   Races have on business in the Town Centre. It was agreed that the restaurants and pubs
   benefited but that the rest of the town was usually quieter, as local people were fearful of
   congestion and tended to stay away.
   Roger Hunneman has received information to say that the cameras will be installed in the
   arcade by 17 November 2006.
   John Ince reported that the bollards in Bartholomew Street were not working. Nick Carter
   agreed to action this point.
   John Ince requested information about permission for tables, chairs, A boards etc and
   alcohol licensing for businesses around the Market Place. Nick Carter stated that a single
   pack would soon be available for businesses throughout the town for this type of
   application. David Appleton (Head of Cultural Services) is currently working on this project.
   Brian Burgess noted that the notices relating to the consumption of alcohol had
   disappeared from lampposts throughout the town. Nick Carter will action this.
   John Stratford stated that The Chequers Hotel which was part of the Swallow Group has
   been purchased by a separate company and will continue trading.
   Brian Burgess informed the floor that the cost for hiring The Town Hall Chamber is £32
   and that this has been paid for by Mitch Roberts (October), Steve Brind (November) and
   himself (December). However, Emma Webster is pursuing use of the WBC Chamber at no
   charge.

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Date of next meeting is Tuesday 12 December 2006 6.15pm at Newbury Town Council
Chamber

				
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