TRADERS will be asked to suggest new ways of boosting prosperity after crisis talks were held to discuss the effectiveness of the Taunton Town Centre Company.
More than 60 business owners, councillors and directors of the not-for-profit enterprise gathered at Henry’s in High Street last Wednesday, November 7, to consider the future of the company, which last month received a vote of no confidence from Taunton Deane Council’s scrutiny committee.
Now an independent survey is to be sent to all stores, inviting feedback on how best to remedy a range of issues affecting traders.
Among the company’s failings expressed by those at the meeting were a lack of transparency over several unanswered queries posed by businesses over the years.
Traders also criticised its failure to lobby the council on a number of concerns, most notably parking, and accused board members of maintaining poor communication links.
Andrew Knutt, of ADK Design in East Reach, who tabled a motion to draw up the surveys at the meeting, said he hoped it would lead to the creation of a new cooperative group to represent the interests of businesses.
“The idea is not to ponder on the past but to look forward to the future,” he said.
“I hope it brings about a change because this town needs fresh leadership.”
Jefferson Horsley, leader of the TDBC’s Lib Dem group and chairman of the council’s scrutiny committee, urged the company to ‘reinvigorate’ itself before it becomes irrelevant to the town needs. Andy Sharman of Somerset West Businesses Against Crime said he supported a cooperative-led approach for the future and accused TTCC of creating an exclusive club among businesses able to shell out for its £2,500 membership fee.
“It can not be representative of everyone with a such a price tag attached,” he said.
“The town centre company needs to be inclusive rather than exclusive and I look forward to participating in this survey.”
Francis Cornish, chairman of TTCC, said he welcomed the survey and hopes it addresses a wide range of issues.
“TTCC is working with the business community and with the council to ensure that Taunton maintains a successful town centre management initiative that meets and is seen to meet, the town's needs. “We shall be undertaking a review of our structure, management and operation to ensure that we maximise our potential.”
Business owners who want to access the survey can download it from www.adkdesign.co.uk/taunton.html