ARGUS COMMENT: Newport must support BID to help centre prosper

ARGUS COMMENT: Newport must support to bid help centre prosper

ARGUS COMMENT: Newport must support to bid help centre prosper

First published in News
Last updated

IT IS all too easy to be negative about the future of Newport city centre.

You only have to look at some of the comments left on our website to see quite how easy.

It is unremitting negativity, often from people who appear to be revelling in the city centre's problems.

It is a shame some of those people were not at the Newport Centre on Thursday night.

About 60 city centre business owners came together to hear about plans for a Business Improvement District.

This newspaper is all in favour of a BID, as we said earlier this week. It gives businesses control of what is happening around their shops and offices.

It allows them - in return for a small levy on their business rates - to decide for themselves how best to turn the city centre around.

The overwhelming feelings from businesses at the meeting were of passion and positivity.

They are passionate about the city centre. And they are positive that, with the right help, it can survive and prosper.

The enthusiasm for a Newport BID was unanimous.

We have no doubt that it will happen and be hugely successful, particularly if it is driven by the passion and positivity displayed by businesses on Thursday.

The city as a whole now needs to get behind the idea. As many other towns and cities across the UK have shown, it is a winner.

Comments (18)

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12:01pm Sat 2 Feb 13

portman says...

ALL THE BEST TO THE TRADERS OF NEWPORT!
ALL THE BEST TO THE TRADERS OF NEWPORT! portman
  • Score: 0

12:01pm Sat 2 Feb 13

billy boy 2 says...

That's becauce it's just another backdoor increase in rates for the poor suffering businesses in the town centre not many of us left now those who are only waiting for there leases to end just heard bon marche is going next month the council and police should be looking after most of the measures the B.i.d will pay for heard it all before oh whens debenhams coming I got thrown out of premises 9 years ago because they were supposed to be coming
That's becauce it's just another backdoor increase in rates for the poor suffering businesses in the town centre not many of us left now those who are only waiting for there leases to end just heard bon marche is going next month the council and police should be looking after most of the measures the B.i.d will pay for heard it all before oh whens debenhams coming I got thrown out of premises 9 years ago because they were supposed to be coming billy boy 2
  • Score: 0

1:55pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Lliswerry Man says...

South Wales Argus, please when stating things, such as "as other towns and cities have been a winner " add WHY they have been successful........an
d a winner.

For starters it is about :-

Location !

Clean shopping areas !

Affluent Society !

Non restrictive Parking !

Affordable Rents and Rates !

Pubs and Clubs moved out of City Centres !

Decent Public Transport !

the list goes on, I have lived in many areas across the UK, but Newport is my home and I detest what it has become, BUT it is not just about a few shops and a few traders pulling together to make it a winner...... You need people to have MONEY in their pockets to spend in the first place, NEWPORT never gets any real inward investment for JOBS.

Without Jobs, we have high unemployment, then a slow decline in a town centre which is what has happened here and an ageing population.

I have lived in areas that were affluent, but they relied on 1 major employer... when that closed down, the whole town died, it happens year in year out in the country, probably the world.

The businesses in the City Centre work **** hard to stay open and try hard to provide the public with what they need, BUT they are let down by the lack of investment elsewhere in the City/Town.

Most jobs around Newport now are minimum waged... so people spend wisely, mostly online where things are a lot cheaper.

You might have the brigade on here, who say the same old hype about us supporting the Centre, Id love to, but economics state otherwise, only yesterday we decided to travel to the Centre, it was a failed test for us. We came home and ordered what we needed, £20 cheaper delivered to our door. Yes maybe I am partly responsible for not supporting the Centre, but then where does the Centre support me , if I am broke? do they do me a discount, if I am short?.. no... so I have to make my purchases where they are affordable.
Lets not forget a lot of retailers around Newport also sell Online.

Challenge for the Argus reporters.

Go into Newport, Do a count of what shops/retail outlets we have. The Type of, etc, clothes, food, hardware, electronics.
Then go to another Large City that is a "Winner", and do the same count.

You will find they have a LOT more choice...... that helps keep a City Centre alive... as people finding what they need means more footfall to see other shops they might need.

Newport is failing, for many reasons, a lot of it out of most people's control.

Why are for instance most of the "buildings" that rent units in the city/town centre owned by London Investment companies? who obviously do not care if they lay empty......how did that happen, why did that happen. When you start pointing fingers, you open a can of worms......

Take the bus station for starters, how many times can it be "revamped" ? what it needs is regular maintenance and CLEANERS !!..... make it colourful and a place to enjoy arriving at, No.. instead we get a smelly run down feeling as we arrive.....it does not say Hello and Welcome to Newport does it. Gum ridden paths that smell of urine and alcohol.

And the worst offender in Newport... Its design... the winners you talk of, dont have the through traffic or scattering of shops we have, they have a closed off city centre, that is a central hub of shopping, some all under 1 roof...... with safe kiddy zones.
For me the best asset in Newport right now is the Kingsway Centre, its clean, bright, has a fair choice of shops, but not enough of them to cater for the needs of the growing population we now have and itself is starting to become cluttered with the small stalls popping up in the centre walkways.
Everybody in Newport would LOVE a City Centre complex we could all use and actually enjoy shopping in, stop saying or suggesting we do not, we just Do not have it yet do we....the public have been waiting far too long on many broken promises... and simply have just pictures of what we should be getting.
And the council could help the population, by recommeding that future employers in Newport actually employed a larger proportion of its workforce from Newport......Ive met people on my travels who have come from the USA/Canada and South America, when Panasonic /LG etc opened up... what happened to the "local jobs" being created.....for local people.

I overheard a lady till operator at Asda Pencarn the other day when it was snowing , saying how she lives in Ebbw Vale and hopes she can get home, YET the store is surrounded by local housing, with local people looking for work who could "walk" in...as many do... this is the madness we face.. im sure some will say, ah well, there was nobody qualified or interested.. really?.. again, its the responsibility of employers to find staff who live local, if they want to support the local community and have them return the favour.
And yes I know just as many people travel out of Newport for work... again , does not make it right or economically or environmentally viable.
South Wales Argus, please when stating things, such as "as other towns and cities have been a winner " add WHY they have been successful........an d a winner. For starters it is about :- Location ! Clean shopping areas ! Affluent Society ! Non restrictive Parking ! Affordable Rents and Rates ! Pubs and Clubs moved out of City Centres ! Decent Public Transport ! the list goes on, I have lived in many areas across the UK, but Newport is my home and I detest what it has become, BUT it is not just about a few shops and a few traders pulling together to make it a winner...... You need people to have MONEY in their pockets to spend in the first place, NEWPORT never gets any real inward investment for JOBS. Without Jobs, we have high unemployment, then a slow decline in a town centre which is what has happened here and an ageing population. I have lived in areas that were affluent, but they relied on 1 major employer... when that closed down, the whole town died, it happens year in year out in the country, probably the world. The businesses in the City Centre work **** hard to stay open and try hard to provide the public with what they need, BUT they are let down by the lack of investment elsewhere in the City/Town. Most jobs around Newport now are minimum waged... so people spend wisely, mostly online where things are a lot cheaper. You might have the brigade on here, who say the same old hype about us supporting the Centre, Id love to, but economics state otherwise, only yesterday we decided to travel to the Centre, it was a failed test for us. We came home and ordered what we needed, £20 cheaper delivered to our door. Yes maybe I am partly responsible for not supporting the Centre, but then where does the Centre support me , if I am broke? do they do me a discount, if I am short?.. no... so I have to make my purchases where they are affordable. Lets not forget a lot of retailers around Newport also sell Online. Challenge for the Argus reporters. Go into Newport, Do a count of what shops/retail outlets we have. The Type of, etc, clothes, food, hardware, electronics. Then go to another Large City that is a "Winner", and do the same count. You will find they have a LOT more choice...... that helps keep a City Centre alive... as people finding what they need means more footfall to see other shops they might need. Newport is failing, for many reasons, a lot of it out of most people's control. Why are for instance most of the "buildings" that rent units in the city/town centre owned by London Investment companies? who obviously do not care if they lay empty......how did that happen, why did that happen. When you start pointing fingers, you open a can of worms...... Take the bus station for starters, how many times can it be "revamped" ? what it needs is regular maintenance and CLEANERS !!..... make it colourful and a place to enjoy arriving at, No.. instead we get a smelly run down feeling as we arrive.....it does not say Hello and Welcome to Newport does it. Gum ridden paths that smell of urine and alcohol. And the worst offender in Newport... Its design... the winners you talk of, dont have the through traffic or scattering of shops we have, they have a closed off city centre, that is a central hub of shopping, some all under 1 roof...... with safe kiddy zones. For me the best asset in Newport right now is the Kingsway Centre, its clean, bright, has a fair choice of shops, but not enough of them to cater for the needs of the growing population we now have and itself is starting to become cluttered with the small stalls popping up in the centre walkways. Everybody in Newport would LOVE a City Centre complex we could all use and actually enjoy shopping in, stop saying or suggesting we do not, we just Do not have it yet do we....the public have been waiting far too long on many broken promises... and simply have just pictures of what we should be getting. And the council could help the population, by recommeding that future employers in Newport actually employed a larger proportion of its workforce from Newport......Ive met people on my travels who have come from the USA/Canada and South America, when Panasonic /LG etc opened up... what happened to the "local jobs" being created.....for local people. I overheard a lady till operator at Asda Pencarn the other day when it was snowing , saying how she lives in Ebbw Vale and hopes she can get home, YET the store is surrounded by local housing, with local people looking for work who could "walk" in...as many do... this is the madness we face.. im sure some will say, ah well, there was nobody qualified or interested.. really?.. again, its the responsibility of employers to find staff who live local, if they want to support the local community and have them return the favour. And yes I know just as many people travel out of Newport for work... again , does not make it right or economically or environmentally viable. Lliswerry Man
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Sat 2 Feb 13

godobe says...

Lliswerry Man, some very interesting points there.
Lliswerry Man, some very interesting points there. godobe
  • Score: 0

5:26pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Lizincaerwent says...

Lliswerry Man has made some very good points regarding the main problems with Newport. He mentions non-restrictive parking. Newport Council has recently done away with the 2-hour free parking. All their other car parks are expensive and/or grubby and unpleasant yet they still expect people to come into the city centre.
Newport has a great little museum and a first class theatre at the Riverfront. It also has the Dolman which is well utilised.
The market is good too and there are some independent shops selling quality items but - which retailers are going to want to stay in the city when it looks so drab and uncared-for?
Times are hard for people locally and there isn't much money around so of course people are going to look for the best prices for everyday items and, if they can't find those in the city centre shops, they'll take their custom elsewhere.
I hope that BID succeeds but I'm afraid that Newport Council needs to wake up and see why some of their policies are the ones ruining the city.
Lliswerry Man has made some very good points regarding the main problems with Newport. He mentions non-restrictive parking. Newport Council has recently done away with the 2-hour free parking. All their other car parks are expensive and/or grubby and unpleasant yet they still expect people to come into the city centre. Newport has a great little museum and a first class theatre at the Riverfront. It also has the Dolman which is well utilised. The market is good too and there are some independent shops selling quality items but - which retailers are going to want to stay in the city when it looks so drab and uncared-for? Times are hard for people locally and there isn't much money around so of course people are going to look for the best prices for everyday items and, if they can't find those in the city centre shops, they'll take their custom elsewhere. I hope that BID succeeds but I'm afraid that Newport Council needs to wake up and see why some of their policies are the ones ruining the city. Lizincaerwent
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Sat 2 Feb 13

47alan47 says...

It's so true, Newport town centre looks like eastern Germany before the wall came down. It's not very inviting.
It's so true, Newport town centre looks like eastern Germany before the wall came down. It's not very inviting. 47alan47
  • Score: 0

7:56pm Sat 2 Feb 13

JoJoJoJo says...

I don't see how this will help? So the few businesses that are left in Newport will pay a little extra out in order for a bit of tarting up of the local area, how will that help improve business? What benefit is a taxi marshall when there's no shops for the taxi occupants to visit? I suppose the marshall can help shovel the drunks in. There are already street cleaners so why is there need for more? The streets will be cleaner in the future as footfall in the town will lessen as more shops leave. The only people who may benefit are the various charities who pop up on a regular basis and reopen a closed shop. They obviously can only do this as they qualify for rent/rate subsidies as everyone knows, making them an unfair competitor to local businesses.
I don't see how this will help? So the few businesses that are left in Newport will pay a little extra out in order for a bit of tarting up of the local area, how will that help improve business? What benefit is a taxi marshall when there's no shops for the taxi occupants to visit? I suppose the marshall can help shovel the drunks in. There are already street cleaners so why is there need for more? The streets will be cleaner in the future as footfall in the town will lessen as more shops leave. The only people who may benefit are the various charities who pop up on a regular basis and reopen a closed shop. They obviously can only do this as they qualify for rent/rate subsidies as everyone knows, making them an unfair competitor to local businesses. JoJoJoJo
  • Score: 0

10:36pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Libby5 says...

I think it is totally correct to be positive about the BID as doing something is better than doing nothing at all and letting the city die. I for one really still want to shop in Newport and invest in my city. I therefore think it is worth using this forum to be constructive and ask the shoppers of Newport how we think BID money should best be used to increase trade in the City Centre, lets come up with ideas! One of the commentators mentioned earlier about how dirty the bus station is perhaps money could be used to improve this for example ? The encouragement of more 'pop up ' shops of various kinds would do it for me adding more interest and variety and getting rid of some of those empty shops - perhaps we could engage in an active campaign using the quirkiness of Newport to push this? The Argus are to be praised for strongly supporting the BID and trying to help and I think it would be great to hear how best they think the money could be spent, they surely know the city and its problems better than anyone, come on Argus, you start the ball rolling how can the traders best spend BID money?
I think it is totally correct to be positive about the BID as doing something is better than doing nothing at all and letting the city die. I for one really still want to shop in Newport and invest in my city. I therefore think it is worth using this forum to be constructive and ask the shoppers of Newport how we think BID money should best be used to increase trade in the City Centre, lets come up with ideas! One of the commentators mentioned earlier about how dirty the bus station is perhaps money could be used to improve this for example ? The encouragement of more 'pop up ' shops of various kinds would do it for me adding more interest and variety and getting rid of some of those empty shops - perhaps we could engage in an active campaign using the quirkiness of Newport to push this? The Argus are to be praised for strongly supporting the BID and trying to help and I think it would be great to hear how best they think the money could be spent, they surely know the city and its problems better than anyone, come on Argus, you start the ball rolling how can the traders best spend BID money? Libby5
  • Score: 0

12:05am Sun 3 Feb 13

YazPad-But says...

I don't see how this can help either. I'd love to be positive about Newport as a shopping area but I fail to see how this idea can help. If the place is cleaned up a bit that will be nice but it's not going to help bring in businesses that are priced out by high rates and rents is it?
I don't see how this can help either. I'd love to be positive about Newport as a shopping area but I fail to see how this idea can help. If the place is cleaned up a bit that will be nice but it's not going to help bring in businesses that are priced out by high rates and rents is it? YazPad-But
  • Score: 0

10:43am Sun 3 Feb 13

Oriel Bufton says...

When did the clots who run Newport council take a blind bit of notice of what the people of Newport want? Never! They are only in the job in order to line their own pockets. Get rid of them, and get some successful business men/women in their place. (Terry Mathews etc.,) who actually know what people want and need, and can actually do the job needed to put Newport back to what it used to be; an interesting, convenient place to shop, and a pleasure to visit. Get rid of the muck and filth in the streets, free parking for 4 hours, as in Cwmbran. Offer some kind of rates incentive for some of the better class of shop to see Newport as a place they want to trade, instead of a place they stay well clear of. I don't think anyone wants to run Newport down just for the sake of it; what people want is to be listened to, and to have their suggestions put into action. Instead of the powers that be - put there by the people of Newport, looking down their arrogant noses, and saying 'stuff you' Try voting for a different party, one who will listen and act according to the will of the people of Newport.
When did the clots who run Newport council take a blind bit of notice of what the people of Newport want? Never! They are only in the job in order to line their own pockets. Get rid of them, and get some successful business men/women in their place. (Terry Mathews etc.,) who actually know what people want and need, and can actually do the job needed to put Newport back to what it used to be; an interesting, convenient place to shop, and a pleasure to visit. Get rid of the muck and filth in the streets, free parking for 4 hours, as in Cwmbran. Offer some kind of rates incentive for some of the better class of shop to see Newport as a place they want to trade, instead of a place they stay well clear of. I don't think anyone wants to run Newport down just for the sake of it; what people want is to be listened to, and to have their suggestions put into action. Instead of the powers that be - put there by the people of Newport, looking down their arrogant noses, and saying 'stuff you' Try voting for a different party, one who will listen and act according to the will of the people of Newport. Oriel Bufton
  • Score: 0

11:41am Sun 3 Feb 13

Libby5 says...

I can understand Oriels viewpoint of course but this is not really about the council listening to what people want, it is about the traders finding out how they could best spend the money they invest in a BID to encourage people to shop in Newport again? This is a chance for the traders to be able to come together and do something themselves and surely put pressure on the council at the same time if necessary to do more?
I can understand Oriels viewpoint of course but this is not really about the council listening to what people want, it is about the traders finding out how they could best spend the money they invest in a BID to encourage people to shop in Newport again? This is a chance for the traders to be able to come together and do something themselves and surely put pressure on the council at the same time if necessary to do more? Libby5
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Sun 3 Feb 13

NewportMum says...

I agree Libby5, this should be welcomed as an opportunity for traders in Newport. If they act together and pool resources they should be able to achieve a lot. My own suggestion would be that one of Newport's unique selling points is the quality of many of the buildings in the city centre. There are many architectural gems in Newport but it's not always obvious because many of them are in a poor state. If some money could be used to restore the exteriors of some of these buildings that would be a really good thing because it's something that you could never replicate in places like, eg, Cwmbran and Spytty.
I agree Libby5, this should be welcomed as an opportunity for traders in Newport. If they act together and pool resources they should be able to achieve a lot. My own suggestion would be that one of Newport's unique selling points is the quality of many of the buildings in the city centre. There are many architectural gems in Newport but it's not always obvious because many of them are in a poor state. If some money could be used to restore the exteriors of some of these buildings that would be a really good thing because it's something that you could never replicate in places like, eg, Cwmbran and Spytty. NewportMum
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Limestonecowboy says...

Shock...Coming from Ebbw Vale to work in Newport GOSH!
Shock...Coming from Ebbw Vale to work in Newport GOSH! Limestonecowboy
  • Score: 0

5:37pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Woodgnome says...

The Argus is quite right to promote positivity because the status quo will not do.

However, I do worry about Argus comments like

"It is unremitting negativity, often from people who appear to be revelling in the city centre's problems. "

because such comments are patronising and unhelpful.

Instead this widely voiced negativity should be recognised as a barometer of civic pride and faith in city leaders.

Until civic leaders clearly indentify and recognise the problems answers are unlikely to be found.
The Argus is quite right to promote positivity because the status quo will not do. However, I do worry about Argus comments like "It is unremitting negativity, often from people who appear to be revelling in the city centre's problems. " because such comments are patronising and unhelpful. Instead this widely voiced negativity should be recognised as a barometer of civic pride and faith in city leaders. Until civic leaders clearly indentify and recognise the problems answers are unlikely to be found. Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

12:32pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Independentvoter says...

One of the biggest problems is that you're asking people to spend money that they simply haven't got and those who do have shop on-line or somewhere more inviting.
One of the biggest problems is that you're asking people to spend money that they simply haven't got and those who do have shop on-line or somewhere more inviting. Independentvoter
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Gatesy101 says...

All very good saying this South Wales Argus but maybe you should start employing local people.....the paper is no longer printed in Newport its printed in Hylton Road in Worcester (check underneath the barcode it tells you) so you got rid of all the printers who you used to employ, all your adverts are set in India now so you have laid off all the people who used to set the adverts apart from a small handful who are expecting to get the boot everyda and most of the telesales teams have gone as well and you now use people from Dursley.....not such a local paper anymore are you?

I'd be interested in your comments as to why you got rid of so many local people to move everything elsewhere.
All very good saying this South Wales Argus but maybe you should start employing local people.....the paper is no longer printed in Newport its printed in Hylton Road in Worcester (check underneath the barcode it tells you) so you got rid of all the printers who you used to employ, all your adverts are set in India now so you have laid off all the people who used to set the adverts apart from a small handful who are expecting to get the boot everyda and most of the telesales teams have gone as well and you now use people from Dursley.....not such a local paper anymore are you? I'd be interested in your comments as to why you got rid of so many local people to move everything elsewhere. Gatesy101
  • Score: 0

6:48am Thu 7 Feb 13

scraptheWAG says...

Newport like alot of wales had been in terminal decline for years run by a bunch of self serving idiots, people will point to Cardiff as a beacon of welsh success scratch below the surface and what you see is a city regenerated by grants and propped up by huge numbers of well paid public sector jobs I might be wrong but the WAG alone employs 5000 draining the economy of millions
Newport like alot of wales had been in terminal decline for years run by a bunch of self serving idiots, people will point to Cardiff as a beacon of welsh success scratch below the surface and what you see is a city regenerated by grants and propped up by huge numbers of well paid public sector jobs I might be wrong but the WAG alone employs 5000 draining the economy of millions scraptheWAG
  • Score: 0

3:17pm Thu 7 Feb 13

JENKO1965 says...

it just seems to me that the council are just palming the problem onto someone else, and theyve give up
it just seems to me that the council are just palming the problem onto someone else, and theyve give up JENKO1965
  • Score: 0

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