Traders asked their views on town centre company

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

Comments (2)

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5:17pm Thu 15 Nov 12

leemendos says...

I think get rid of the town centre company and management and hav a organisation run by the shops there the ones being affected the town centre just seems to be run down and not going forward no wonder people don't want to shop here I only do because I hav a lot of friends who work in the town it's about time Taunton was put back on the map
I think get rid of the town centre company and management and hav a organisation run by the shops there the ones being affected the town centre just seems to be run down and not going forward no wonder people don't want to shop here I only do because I hav a lot of friends who work in the town it's about time Taunton was put back on the map leemendos
  • Score: 0

9:21am Fri 16 Nov 12

joward says...

To be fair to TTCC I think they have done as best as they could in the economic climate. The real problem with bricks and mortar shops is the huge shift to internet shopping. Cheaper on line - how many times have we retailers had to listen to this - customers thinking we are overcharging. What people do not realise is the cost of running a and actual shop business as opposed to an web outlet. The council has to accept in some part that we are losing to the internet and we cannot afford the rates of pre-internet times. Until the govenment get a grip on handling the loss of income they are losing due to large internet entities not paying any tax in the UK such as Amazon then the etailers will continue to have an unfair economic advantage and people will just not shop in stores.
To be fair to TTCC I think they have done as best as they could in the economic climate. The real problem with bricks and mortar shops is the huge shift to internet shopping. Cheaper on line - how many times have we retailers had to listen to this - customers thinking we are overcharging. What people do not realise is the cost of running a and actual shop business as opposed to an web outlet. The council has to accept in some part that we are losing to the internet and we cannot afford the rates of pre-internet times. Until the govenment get a grip on handling the loss of income they are losing due to large internet entities not paying any tax in the UK such as Amazon then the etailers will continue to have an unfair economic advantage and people will just not shop in stores. joward
  • Score: 0

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