Councils issue call to arms for town centre traders
The Vale of Glamorgan and Barry Town Councils issued a rallying cry to local businesses as they jointly hosted Barry’s first ever town centre summit.
On Tuesday 13 November, local businesses, representatives of the Holton Road traders group, and officers from both the Vale of Glamorgan and Barry Town Council met to discuss the challenges facing Barry town centre, and how best they could work together to overcome them.
The event was chaired by the Managing Director of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Rob Thomas, and Barry Town Council’s Town Clerk, Emily Forbes. Robyn Walsh, Community Development Officer spoke about the town’s Shop Local Campaign, which was recognised as a key route for engagement with local traders.
Interactive workshops were held to prioritise ways in which partners and local businesses can work together to make the town centre more attractive and viable.
Common themes emerged including a potential Business Improvement District, creating pop-up shops, reducing vacancies and holding local events. The workshop notes will now be collated into a feedback report to prioritise work moving forward.
Cllr Jonathan Bird, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration, said: “High streets throughout the UK are facing enormous challenges, with major retail closures occurring
on a daily basis. Barry is no exception with a number of significant losses recently.
“Clearly the landscape in which town centre businesses are trading is changing rapidly.
While it is true that old ways of doing business are no longer as effective, it must also be recognised that new, exciting opportunities are emerging.
“We all have a role to play in realising these opportunities and it is clear that working
together offers a much greater chance of success than going it alone and it is hugely encouraging to see a commitment to that principle from everyone at the summit.”
Wendy O’Connor, owner of Bluebells Florist, said: “I found the meeting tonight the best I have been to so far and the explanation about bidding was interesting.”
Further details on the support services available to local businesses via the Council’s economic development team can be found online at www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk