PLEASE READ THE COMMENTS BELOW ON THE BUSINESS MEETING HELD ON 17TH JUNE
One of the most important element of the Forum is how it brings together for the first time residents, community organisations and businesses to work together to make Emsworth even more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. Emsworth has a thriving business community, reflecting the character of the town in retail, marine, tourism and hospitality, food and an abundance of independent sole traders.
But like most Towns in recent times many businesses have struggled in the recent recession. It is in everyone’s interests to have a vibrant, successful, balanced business and retail sector.
This part of the website will contain news and information about the work of the Forum as it relates to business. This work will be led by the Emsworth Business Association who have been active in the town for many years.
The Association (EBA) represents over 100 small business and service providers in Emsworth and surrounding area. 12 years old this year the EBA promotes the town as an excellent location to visit, live, work and do business.
Now firmly established as the leading independent support organisation for business in Emsworth, the EBA remains committed to developing the economic prosperity of the area.
If you would like to be involved in this work please join the Forum and contact GilesBabb@bluebellinnemsworth.co.uk or visit the EBA website by clicking on the link below
Feedback from the Business, Culture and Leisure Meeting Last Week
In the recent Forum Survey people said
• People value independent shops
• They were concerned about the loss of two banks, a building society & shops
• We should encourage people to support local business & bank
• The library should stay in the centre of the village
• There are too many estate agents, hairdressers, and charity shops
• Shop rental, parking & business rate costs are high
• We need more choice & variety of shops & pubs
• The retail opening hours should be more flexible (evenings & Sundays)
• The ICT infrastructure is very poor in some areas of the town
• Perhaps we should have an Emsworth pound
• A town manager might also help promote the town
• Many residents do not work (retired) or are self-employed
• Jobs are mainly in the low waged service industries without much career opportunity
• People are concerned about change of use from business to housing: they do not want Emsworth to be a dormitory town
• The Emsworth Plan should support
– opportunities for young people, school leavers, etc
– small business, self-employed & home working
– traditional jobs such as boat building, restoring fishing/oyster boats etc.
– all year around work (vs seasonal)
– better broadband and mobile phone coverage
– Access to public Wi-Fi systems especially in the town centre
– Fibre optic cable in all new developments
– Parking for incoming workers
• People value and want more events like the Arts festivals, Westfest, etc, but would like to see a co-ordinated approach to events for the benefit of all
• More facilities are needed for all age groups: e.g. a gym, sports centre, indoor swimming pool, keep fit facilities, a larger Community Centre, a concert hall, open air theatre….
• Better, cheaper access to current club facilities
• More evening activities
• Facilities in North Emsworth
• Manned Tourist/Information office for visitors
Those attending last week’s meeting agreed with this feedback and added the following views and ideas
Transport & Parking
• A review of current parking provision is needed to deal with parking issues and should look at the needs of residents, businesses and visitors.
• A 40 minute free period in the car-parks in parallel with the on-street provision was suggested.
• Travel plans should be required for all employers with more than 10 employees
• Safer cycling and pedestrian schemes should be developed
• Perhaps we need to look at traffic flows to see if they could be improved with a one way system or ’20 is plenty’ scheme
• We need to think about pedestrian and cyclists more – support ‘walkers are welcome’
• A car-free day in the town centre could be considered to evaluate and encourage alternatives to using the private car
• Park and Ride could be used to reduce the pressure on parking in the centre, with, for example, buses running on Market Days from the north
• Parking signage could be used to “manage” car-parking since there was rarely pressure on Palmers Road car-park
• An Emsworth bike hire scheme was suggested
• Electric car charging points were proposed
Retail & Town Centre
• The north-south ‘divide’, either side of the A259, is an issues that needs to be addressed
• The area around the Community Centre, the hospital site and the museum & fire station, potentially provides a hub for regeneration
• The current mix of independent shops should be supported, alongside more food & restaurant options and distinctive shops which were not available elsewhere
• Other services were proposed, including a computer repair shops, and independent clothing outlets for fashion and children/s clothes
• An Emsworth Town Centre manager was felt to be a good idea and could possibly be financed through a Community Development Trust.
• A Tourist Information centre should be established staffed by volunteers
• Need to look at consolidating all the Emsworth websites
• The Library should be kept in the town centre and supported. It could be linked with a new Tourist Information Centre to encourage visitors. We need to find a solution in the next two years.
• The Emsworth Show, Emsworth in Bloom, The Food Fortnight, the Farmers Market and ‘walkers are welcome’ are very valuable initiatives and should be developed more
• An event should take place every weekend in the Square in the summer
• Need to look at why we are getting so many charity shops: is it high rents and business rates? Can we get back some of the business rates paid in the town?
• Need to encourage new businesses into the town
• Vacant shops and offices could be used more creatively, encouraging pop-up ventures.
• Large units could be sub-divided into smaller retail units or communal offices
• A “home-workers’ hub could be part of that initiative
• A high street ‘Use it or lose it’ campaign was proposed.
• An Emsworth pound (generated and spent in Emsworth) could be used (as in Bristol & Totnes) to generate local trade
• More employment opportunities are needed – moving away from low paid work
• We should encourage other service industries and not just retail & tourism
• We should encourage education, training & apprenticeships in areas where the town has expertise such as engineering, maritime industries, vintage vehicle restoration, food and the arts
• We would like to see boat building & repairs done at Dolphin Quay again
• Business need to work with local schools and colleges to create more opportunities for work experience etc. Maybe have a specialist training centre linked with a local college in the town
• A vision for arts and culture over the next 5-10 years should be developed
• There is a need for greater liaison with other local arts projects and providers, such as The Spring in Havant
• The Arts Trail could be extended to provide a more “year -long” event – with a visit to a different artist every weekend
• Possibly have a permanent gallery & arts centre
• The Art Trail could also be linked to a series of walks published in the Art Trail book
• Art work could be displayed across the town in retailers
• We could have a literary/book festival exploiting Emsworth’s link to P G Wodehouse
• We could have an ‘open gardens’ day as they had in Westbourne recently
• We could extend the twinning arrangements for children and young people to include other countries
• There is a lack of a leisure centre in Emsworth, which could be addressed with a low cost facility on a site such as the gas storage site when it is made available for re-use.
• Facilities for children are needed & we could possibly have children’s splash-pool/lido in Horndean Road Recreation Ground
• Sports clubs and facilities should be developed and supported e.g. a sports trail in the summer
• Swimming facilities could be funded through a lottery grant.
• Sailing opportunities for children at reasonable prices should be provided
• The Millpond could be used to encourage community activity – as it used to be in the past
• Encourage walking trails