Jon Taylor, Turner and Company (Hereford) Ltd, says Tory councillors need to get real (From Hereford Times)
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Jon Taylor, Turner and Company (Hereford) Ltd, says Tory councillors need to get real
8:00am Thursday 3rd May 2012 in Letters
I RESPOND to the various letters by councillors such as Messrs Jarvis, Nenaditch and, in the past, Blackshaw who have all tried to justify the new retail development on the old cattle market site.
I ask how many of them have firsthand direct experience in the retail industry and how they can believe that the new development will not be a hindrance to the present city centre which is currently dying.
How can competition help an ailing competitor rally?
As a professional involved in trying to let some of the vacant city centre shops I can categorically state that some of the existing companies within the existing city centre will relocate across the road Next is one obvious example as those involved will know.
I can also state that some of the shops are vacant because new companies to the city are waiting for the new development to start so that they can agree terms there rather than make a decision now to move to the city centre.
Do councillors not understand that retailing is a diminishing industry with the influence of the internet? As an example, Mothercare stated six months ago that its business now comes 20 per cent from the high street, 20 per cent from the internet and 60 per cent from out-of-town retail.
Hereford has its own experience of well known brands collapsing and there is the evidence of numerous market towns showing that their town centres have suffered badly once a new development on the edge of the town starts up in competition.
Finally , there is the unknown future of the new link road that may never happen if compulsory purchase orders are refused at the public inquiry which will be needed in view of the opposition by various substantial property owners who are affected by the proposal.
How will the new development then be linked to the city centre as we have been so strongly promised by those supporting the development? I appreciate the attraction of a new cinema but the destruction of Hereford city centre is not worth the cost and there has to be a better solution.
I urge our Conservative councillors to get real and be in touch with modern business with which they currently show a complete lack of awareness and sympathy. I am tempted to think of Alice in Wonderland but want to keep the argument based on modern times and events.
I therefore urge those involved to think again before they sign a document that commits them to the destruction, rather than regeneration, of Hereford City centre.
JON TURNER, Turner and Company (Hereford) Limited, Broad Street, Hereford.