Exploring opportunities to improve local high streets in Telford

Wrekin College students recently carried out a retail survey of 51 businesses throughout the borough including Wellington. The aim, simply to find out if there are opportunities to improve local high street trade, services and environment even further!  Here’s the findings.

Headline research

  • The ‘power of the community’ was a key finding – with friendliness, uniqueness, warmth, customer service as the ‘differentiator’ between a traditional high street and a large shopping centre.
  • Wellington Market was identified as an important positive factor for that local centre.
  • Half of respondents said a greater diversity of smaller independent shops would bring more visitors to their high street/centre.
  • A quarter said more or better parking (not free parking) would help visitors.
  • The ‘experiential’ side of the centre is important – restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, markets and events will bring more visitors and help them ‘linger’ which is good for retailers.
  • Businesses saw lack of knowledge and skills (particularly around online retailing), lack of support and lack of time as barriers to growth and success of their businesses

Headline proposals 

  • Protect and create local jobs by helping high street retailers become robust and sustainable via a ‘menu’ of support.
  • Support to include retailing and hospitality excellence programmes including mystery shoppers and benchmarking, new business start-up support, merchandising and window dressing, retail sustainability, diversification, online marketing and selling.
  • Accessible training and support: taking training to the 9 centres by means of a mobile training centre – such as a bus – and deliver it at ‘quieter’ times – such as late afternoons -and for shorter more manageable sessions.