Live Magazines’ Tedd Walmsley demands more CCTV to make our streets safer and asks that we all support our local shops and businesses
I’ve been advised by some well-intentioned friends to avoid Whalley like the plague – road chaos, noise, dirt and nowhere to park were the reasons cited. This, of course, whilst all true is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
Please try to get into Whalley as often as you can, we have some amazing independent businesses suffering at the hands of ridiculous changes to the pavement. What Whalley needs is a community car park paid for by the Section 106 monies levied from the multitude of house builders given permission to build in the last few years. The current work carried out by LCC, on instructions from our friends at RVBC, has created a catastrophic chain of events on the already beleaguered high street. Based on my conversations with local retailers, there’s been little communication and no compensation, which in my view, once again illustrates a lack of interest in working alongside the taxpayers and those investing heavily in the village.
Please make the effort and support these wonderful shops, some of whom you’ll see advertising in this issue.
One of the other things that has come to light this month, is the publication of recommendations by the ARC Consultancy, a Birmingham-based business. The report was commissioned by RVBC at a cost taken I believe, from a fund from central government. The aim was to give direction on how to improve our high streets and drive footfall – the full report is available on the RVBC website but has been described as a complete waste of money by one county councillor. It has cost a fortune and at best, states the obvious. I know various Chambers of Trade, retailers and councillors are all up in arms at this nonsense. However, as one of the main suggestions is to improve communication between the council and the private sector, I wait with interest on the outcome and we welcome any involvement and would be happy to support.
I’ve noticed a series of articles in the Lancashire Telegraph and web-based media sharing some of my concerns and I’m so glad that other publications can see some of the issues. Just last week there was an article around the low take-up of business rates relief and this struck a chord. A quote from one of the councillors said it would mean much more work for the council – well, big deal. I feel that’s what the staff are paid to do and the benefit to our businesses is immeasurable. Whatever support is available needs to be communicated and dealt with speedily. It feels once again that there’s no empathy nor understanding of the private sector and its challenges.
Another article in the Lancashire Telegraph told of a discussion regarding RVBC and a request from the Citizens Advice Bureau for ongoing support with funding for their services. I can only imagine the need for this service over the coming months will be at an all-time high – there are going to be many challenges for families and businesses alike and support will be needed. CAB Clitheroe is the only local branch in the entire valley and in my view, their support should be increased not reduced.
I was once again horrified to read about a punch up – this time in Clitheroe at the end of March – a brawl in the town centre left people hospitalised with the police making arrests and asking for video footage. I know many councillors are asking about extra CCTV in our towns to keep us all safe. Blackburn with Darwen for example has received funding from another central fund so my question is, have RVBC asked for the same?
Some good news with regards to the support RVBC has shown in helping bring the cast and crew of a major feature film to Clitheroe. Officers I believe have been working behind the scenes for the last couple of years on this and it all came to fruition recently when the film crew and actors arrived in the town to receive a warm Ribble Valley welcome from enthusiastic residents and businesses. Hopefully the film will showcase the area to audiences across the world and I’m told RVBC are working on various ideas to build upon the publicity.
As you read this article, I hope you’re having a wonderful Easter and enjoying family and some time off. Please continue to be kind to each other and if you can, support our high streets.
The views above are my own and I’d be delighted to get some replies to my questions and will report back on any progress and positive outcomes.