Posted by Neil on Friday, 04 April 2014 at 09:28:10
Filed under: Interview, Business, Transport, General, Village centre, Shopping
(Via Steve Griffiths, Chairman, Lymm Youth and Community Association)
The entrepreneurial vision and vibrancy of many of the traders at the recent meeting in Lymm aimed at increasing footfall for village shops was impressive. The common theme coming through was that Lymm needs to capitalise more on its existing and under-developed assets – Lymm Dam, Bridgewater Canal, Trans-pennine Trail, Slitten Gorge, Lymm Cross and the pretty Village Centre, etc. – and become a convenient day-out destination for visitors from nearby urban centres. There are retail opportunities here but it will require a change of policy with weekend opening (additionally, at least on a Sunday afternoon) and spread of activity onto the streets to encourage browsers.
There are those, though, that need to shop locally – the young, old, disabled and disadvantaged – who want staple items such as fresh fish and vegetables as confirmed in the traders own survey. Under the current market driven economy, there appears to be insufficient return to retain such shops, with the profits coming from selling “those little extra treats”. Many of these staple commodities are sold at viable prices by the Thursday Market on Henry Street Car Park and it would seriously disadvantage many in the local community if this facility was lost. There is no doubt though that loss of a Car Park causes loss of trade in local shops and inconvenience and increased risk driving through the chicane which is Brookfield Road parking on Thursdays. The suggestions to move the market into the adjoining Lymm Youth and Community Centre would be acceptable in principle to the LYCA Board but would cause some organisational difficulties to both existing users of the Centre and to Market Traders. These may not be insuperable but would contribute little to the vibrancy of the Village.
The long term solution must be to stop through traffic in the Village Centre and enable the market traders and existing retail outlets to spread onto the streets. It is noticeable that all the events that pack the village are when it is shut to traffic – Duck Race, Dickensian Christmas, Christmas Eve Carol Service, Food Fest, May Queen, etc. It would of course be wrong to suggest that it’s just the absence of cars that brings the people but a pedestrianized area would open opportunities for more regular additional small events with increased footfall. Additionally preventing through traffic other than buses, emergency and service vehicles along the front of the Lower Dam would free up areas for additional parking (for disabled?) along one side of The Cross. Brookfield and Danebank Roads would become the main thoroughfare with yellow lines along one side at least. Displaced parked cars could be accommodated on lower Eagle Brow, Bridgewater Street and part of Whitbarrow Road if these were made one-way in an anticlockwise direction.
In the past much has been made of the potential loss of passing trade but those few brave enough to risk the ever-present Traffic Wardens would surely be more than replaced by the creation of a more “user-friendly” Village Centre. It is conspicuous that those most vociferous about being dependant on passing trade – Dobsons Newsagents and Stephanie Florists – left the village within a month of blocking the most recent attempt at a car free village - leaving us with our unwanted and unfriendly traffic.
Tags: lymm village, cars