Fitzy Goes Conservative?
As I may have mentioned before, I'm seriously considering retiring in the first half of next year. Hopefully by April, if things go well. But I'd like to keep my hand in on the Market, with a completely different line. Doing something the Chronicle used to do, when it was a serious daily paper. Daily advertising, in a couple of words.
This new line would involve advertising placards around the marketplace. I would probably start off with a block of four or six stalls down near the Fountain, packed with advertising placards and A-boards, advertising a rich variety of items and vacancies.
Boards for cars, for vans, motorbikes, cycles, both new and second-hand. Boards for businesses of all kinds with all sorts of products; live advertising at dirt-cheap prices. Boards for vacancies for all sorts of jobs, both salaried and waged. Boards for second-hand gear of all kinds, the stuff that used to fill the pages of the Chronicle, but does no longer. Notice boards, announcement boards, theatre and cinema boards, What's-On boards, boards in Polish, Latvian, Rumanian, whatever you like, we'd do it!
Best thing is, because all these boards would be free to start with, we'd soon get plenty filled up right away. As soon as word got around, people would stream into the town centre to read the boards, and hopefully spend a few quid in the Market, and in the shops and cafes round about.
Talking of the Town Centre, I must say the Conservatives have been doing their best to attract people in, with market rents frozen for more than another year, and all this free parking over the Christmas period, and all the help given to people setting-up new shops and businesses. There's no doubt, you do see more people about than you used to.
I must say that the new small bus station has not been a great hit with my customers. It leaves much to be desired, as one old chap explained. You sit there in cold weather on a freezing metal seat, with your head warmed by a hot-air heater high up the wall, and the bottom half of you is freezing off, with the wind howling under the open bays. I won't go into details of what he said should be done to the prat who designed it, and those who approved it. Clearly NBC shot themselves in the foot over this one, and it will be complained about all through the winter.
Abington Street being opened up is another matter. I felt a bit worried about it until I had a chance to try the free 2-hour parking for myself, and I must admit it's brilliant! Hopefully it should encourage shoppers into that end of the town centre, and liven up what was becoming the quiet end of Abington Street. And those who want to can be conveniently dropped off and picked up, which is going to be very useful for many people. All they need now is a crossing at the bottom of Wellington Street, for when the road is busy.
All in all, I do think the Conservatives have made a decent amount of progress in turning the Town Centre around, particularly after the mauling it got, like the Market, from the Liberal-Democrats. There is lots more to be done, but a good start has been made, and traders and shopkeepers and store managers are finding it a more encouraging place to trade, and more shoppers are finding it a better place to shop.