Business in Action meeting 9th January 2008 at The Old Lodge 6pm
Denys Townsend - Linton Pet Shop
Tracey Holroyd - Old Lodge
Roddy Bushell - Fitzwilliam Estates
Malcolm Chalk - WWSM
Paul Andrews - Local councillor
Sylvia Milson & John Marshall - Parnaby’s
Helen Knapp - Hidden Monkey
Graham Hampshire & David Jeffels - Gazette Herald
Jeremy Powell - Palace Cinema
Zoe Plummer & Tim Sinclair - Ambiente
Jason Fitzgerald - Malton Town Council
Janet Waggot & Keith Knaggs - Ryedale District Council
Ian Beecham - Beecham’s Chemist
Geoff Rennie - Malton and Norton Area Partnership
The basis of the meeting was that it was a chance to question representatives of Ryedale District Council on what was being done and what could be done for Malton and Norton.
- Denys Townsend (chairman) thanked Janet Waggot (Ryedale Chief Executive) and (Keith Knaggs Leader of Ryedale District Council) for attending BIA meeting
- Janet Waggot said the council had expressed a wish to work positively with BIA and to build relationships on positive ground she said the council was interested in BIA and what they would like the council to do.
- Denys Townsend said the main aim and criteria was to increase footfall in Malton. There has been a significant drop over the last 5 years. There seems to be no organisation for taking the town forward.
- Roddy Bushell said most of the proposals were long term, there’s a need to set short-term goals– e.g. simple and straightforward signage.
- Denys Townsend said something needs to be done to generate footfall as priority. An individual or individuals to promote the towns. Fitzwilliam has such a person to manage promotion of Fitzwilliam properties even though this should have a positive knock on effect for Malton.
- Janet Waggot said there seemed to be a lack of co-ordination with regard to taking things forward. There seems to be a lack of pride in the town. She asked what are your issues? What do you want us to do? What’s stopping your businesses?
- Malcolm Chalk said our main problem is the ‘Out of town competition’ with its free car parking and product selection. As we are never going to compete with these shopping centres we need reasons for the people to be here, events to get people into town, and then things to do once they’re here. If the numbers are here the shops and cafes will then reap the benefits. Sensible parking charges. A new look at the management of the towns. An appreciation of what we have in the towns with a willingness from all parties to present the towns properly.
- Keith Knaggs admitted that he shopped at Monk’s Cross because Malton doesn't seem to offer any particular reason to shop here. Everyone’s friendly but nothing to do on an evening unless you want to drink. The public sector can try to provide reasons to come to Malton instead of elsewhere. Malton misses out on tourists. The Moors and Coast initiative is biased to Northern Ryedale because there’s more going on there, and they are well established at talking about/maintaining links etc.
- Denys Townsend said We’re retail though– we have limited time to invest in tourism and we need someone to represent us to them.
- Keith Knaggs said there seems to be a wall of negativity in Malton whenever anyone wants to do anything. We want to bring out the positives– what are they? Fire away!
- Malcolm Chalk asked could help be given on a Business Plan for the Town with a Marketing Strategy and then some funding?
- Zoe Plummer said part of the problem with Malton is that the Malton people think that Malton is rubbish with comments like ‘its only Malton’.
- Graham Hampshire said people don't thing the town has any good points.
- Zoe Plummer said even the Tourist Office when asked said there’s nowhere good to eat here.
- Janet Waggot said I think the attitude is very frustrating– there are lots of things to enjoy in Malton but we have to address the problem in manageable chunks. We at the council need to understand how we can help, but there are lots of splinter groups all doing the same thing and communicating with them all is exhausting.
- Helen Knapp said we need a list of who does what.
- Zoe Plummer said could anyone do that?
- Janet Waggot said I’ll do that, but it wont be immediate.
- Paul Andrews said one of the concerns is not Clifton Moor and Monk’s Cross its Morrison’s Supermarket– we all go there and it’s a big supermarket with a big Car Park yet it does not contribute to any re-generation.
- Malcolm Chalk said that he had received email saying that 5 to 6 businesses are going to close before March? Due to lack of trade. It’s horrifying! And we’re doing nothing about it.
- Janet Waggot said we need to generate good press for the town. Good housekeeping is also important. Heritage and conservation is important. The Association of Town Centre Managers had ideas in the past, e.g. signs/access/lighting/parking etc– we have to decide what’s important.
- John Marshall suggested sending a questionnaire out to large number of business people to get a broader consensus.
- Tim Sinclair But not all businesses come– it’s the apathy again.
- Malcolm Chalk said a questionnaire is time consuming though– who’s going to do it?
- John Marshall said the views of meeting non-attendees are important though. BIA should be prepared to do this.
- Zoe Plummer said does anyone have the time?
- Malcolm Chalk said time is always a problem. Denys and I spend hours on BIA all of which is volunteered free of charge.
- Zoe Plummer said what about a questionnaire via the website? Plus the media? Plus a leaflet drop?
- John Marshall said he felt that many businesses view BIA as a ‘select few’
- Malcolm Chalk said he would rather not be one of select few but one of many.
- Denys Townsend said we need to move further than that and represent a broader view.
- John Marshall said but start with the questionnaire.
- Keith Knaggs said can we come back to the reason for our presence? We
are not satisfied with our relationship with local business and we would
like a new start. It’s coming across that it’s a pity that past Town Centre
Management did not succeed. There is a need for a broader body– something
like the Malton/Norton partnership– this doesn't seem to be happening– what
can we do to help?
What we can do is:
- Bring more potential customers by bringing jobs and housing to the area
- Invest in the Town: Of the current capital program well over half is spent in Malton and Norton
- We have done three half million pound projects in the past 5 years (leisure centre/innovation centre)
- Work on increasing tourism– this is an area that you don't do
- The street scene can be worked on
- We can’t do Marketing and Business plans– business are the experts in this field, not the council.
- Denys Townsend said as far as I’m aware no money has yet been spent in
Tourism– what tourism?
Street scene– ok that’s going on
Marketing– we aren’t experts on town marketing. We need leadership, maybe from a town manager or another person who could be funded by the interested parties.
- Geoff Rennie said the Town Partnership, based on a strategy to develop Malton and Norton as the commercial centre for this area of Ryedale, has a list of objectives and a development plan for the area. We are supporting the Castle Gardens project. It can be difficult to pull everything together into a consistent policy.
- Janet Waggot said the important thing is that this body is recognised by funding bodies. This needs to be tapped into. We need goals so that people can all share and contribute– lets use the existing partnerships.
- Jason Fitzgerald said in the past the Town management has had to fight for funding. You need an employed person, with dedicated office staff from the council to work with the town manager.
- Denys Townsend said maybe we should form a small group to discuss past Town Centre Management?
- Janet Waggot said we could do with some goals of what you all want. Liaison with council is important but the right person should also be close to the businesses.
- Geoff Rennie said the partnership is independent of the council etc. We can give independent support.
- Denys Townsend said the Saturday market is appalling, and has been for some time. It’s up for renewal this year. Can a change in the contract be made to improve the market?
- Jason Fitzgerald said the town council agree– the contract should not be renewed for another year.
- John Marshall said could the market traders do it themselves?
- Jason Fitzgerald said in the past we have tried to input conditions– one of them should be renewal of the stalls.
- Jeremy Powell said a one-year contract probably not long enough in that case.
- Denys Townsend said Halifax and Hebden Bridge recently undergone improvements– pedestrianisation etc. A proposal could be made to adjust traffic flow in Malton Centre?
- Janet Waggot said we went walked around Malton to see what could be done. One thing is the ‘motorway’ style signs. Town would look nicer without them– its expensive but it could be done. The county council would need to be involved.
- Denys Townsend said Questions? Where do we go from here?
- Zoe Plummer said what are our three priorities? What objectives have Malton and Norton partnership decided?
- Denys Townsend said should be a smaller group formed that represents all the various groups to meet quarterly. (Town Council/District Council/BIA/Thrive/Malton and Norton Partnership etc)
- Janet Waggot said we would still would like 3 priorities.
- Denys Townsend said are we happy with the quality of the plants/lawns and flowerbeds?
- Jason Fitzgerald said the town council are to enhance these this year
- Malcolm Chalk said what about a pedestrian activated crossing to help with traffic calming on Yorkersgate?
- Denys Townsend said Street cleaning– the dirt from the lorries is appalling. Is this the remit of the District Council?
- Keith Knaggs said this is more the Town Council to maintain the open spaces. It could be farmed out or done by local people.
- Roddy Bushell said the town is dirty– it could do with addressing.
- Jason Fitzgerald said traditional materials look better than repaired modern materials.
- Janet Waggot said had we better decide on some objectives?
- John Marshall said but start with the questionnaire.
- Malcolm Chalk said what about making more of the river? York and most other towns with rivers make the most of their rivers. In Malton it is just fenced off.
- Sylvia Milson said the flood defences are overgrown and untidy.
- Janet Waggot said the upkeep can be complicated– could be Environment
agency, or the county council or even the landowner– each situation is
- David Jeffels said I am the cabinet minister for Tourism and Leisure for
Scarborough– we have had similar debates to this. I’m also a board member
for the Yorkshire Tourism partnership and we have started ‘in bloom’ groups
they are very successful. Whitby has re-generated– there are many boutique
shops and its now most successful seaside town in (Yorkshire?). It also won
silver in the RHS Britain in Bloom competition– it sends a good message.
What about hanging basket and tubs in Malton. Also could tie in with
Malton’s Roman Heritage.
- Roddy Bushell said parks department responsible for the success.
- Graham Hampshire said yes– them and the Friends’ Groups.
- Denys Townsend said with a lot of leadership from the council.
- Graham Hampshire said yes but it could be achieved in Malton
- Jason Fitzgerald said businesses don't generally do their own displays. Approaches to Malton from Castle Howard Road and Old Malton look great. Other approaches could be improved. Racing community and some other people have put some effort in, and some are an absolute disgrace.
- Denys Townsend said we need someone with enough time to co-ordinate everything.
- Janet Waggot said we would like to invest in BIA but it would help if
more voices could be heard
- Denys Townsend said it’s brilliant that you have this attitude. Thank you for coming and listening and giving us hope.
- Keith Knaggs said this is meant to signal a new beginning. We need to sort out who does what at present. I’m not sure where you want to go from here. Please note that we haven't discussed the politics. You are competing for scarce resources.
- Roddy Bushell said we would consult with our members and come back to you with our top 3 priorities.
- Denys Townsend said we would like to meet again with representatives from all the groups.
- Jason Fitzgerald said we are working to areas of common interest– I’ll raise the issues at my meetings.
- John Marshall said the questionnaire needs discussing properly.
- Jason Fitzgerald said the website is excellent.
- Helen Knapp proposed a meeting Wednesday 16th to finalise questionnaire, 6pm at Old Lodge.
- Denys Townsend said many thanks to the Old Lodge for the room and refreshments.
Author:Malcolm Chalk (WWSM)