Author Topic: Town Council proposal to trash High Street shops and devalue all Westbury homes  (Read 1349 times)

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Offline baldy

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Unfortunately, the High Street as a parade of local shops is completely knackered with rock bottom rents proving that it is next to unviable. No developer would consider redevelopment, not least because of the costs of buying the existing properties (shops + maisonettes) + demolition + reconstruction would completely exceed any value that would be created thus making a huge loss for anyone trying ...


Here is the latest online WHN with the continuing story: https://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&pubid=9d0a8620-7076-45aa-8b4e-57667e5bd5ae

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Offline Shizzy

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So what would happen when eventually the parade is no longer fit for habitation (in respect of the maisonettes) and fit to carry out a business in respect of the shops?
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Offline Michael

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The government has made money available for improvements to high street shopping centres, Wiltshire Council are charged with administering this, however at the moment they appear to favour Salisbury, Chippenham and Trowbridge.
Westbury TC need to put forward plans to upgrade the High St, they should be ambitious, and in my view they should start with the removal of the rotunda and look at ways to join up the High St, with Edward St, and Marristow St.
As has been said it is unlikely that a private developer would be prepared to invest, and the council need to find out what the people and businesses of Westbury want.
The Neighbourhood plan gives the council the opportunity to discuss this issue and to find out what the people want and to tell them what is possible to achieve, but they also need to seek expert and informed opinion.

Offline baldy

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So what would happen when eventually the parade is no longer fit for habitation (in respect of the maisonettes) and fit to carry out a business in respect of the shops?


The owners or (if there is a safety threat) Wiltshire Council would eventually board them up if no-one tried to buy them once they are unfit for habitation.


I've seen parades of shops stand empty whilst waiting for redevelopment ... waiting for decades sometimes.


I think part of the issue in Westbury is that there are several supermarkets and mini supermarkets that mean that if the whole High Street closed, it would make little difference to most folk. The take-aways would go to other streets and re-open former shops (that are currently converted to houses / flats) and some supermarkets would offer the goods that some folk wanted in their High Street.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 18:21:56 PM by baldy »
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Offline baldy

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The government has made money available for improvements to high street shopping centres, Wiltshire Council are charged with administering this, however at the moment they appear to favour Salisbury, Chippenham and Trowbridge.
Westbury TC need to put forward plans to upgrade the High St, they should be ambitious, and in my view they should start with the removal of the rotunda and look at ways to join up the High St, with Edward St, and Marristow St.
As has been said it is unlikely that a private developer would be prepared to invest, and the council need to find out what the people and businesses of Westbury want.
The Neighbourhood plan gives the council the opportunity to discuss this issue and to find out what the people want and to tell them what is possible to achieve, but they also need to seek expert and informed opinion.


Mike


Yes, but the whole idea is totally unviable in Westbury because the likely rent that would be achieved from any new units would be far too low to make the scheme viable.  It would take a very brave developer to risk losing his entire investment on a failed scheme when it is clear that there is no demand from viable retail chain businesses to occupy the High Street.

This type pf project must be developer led.  It is no good councils talking amongst themselves.  You must find a developer or development agent who knows the rent that would be achieved and the overall costs involved.

I've done the analysis several times and it is a complete and total car crash in terms of being totally un-viable.

Having said that, the one way to make the sums work would be to allow tall (ish) tower blocks of flats over the shops which would make the profit that is necessary to subsidise the new shop units which would only attract low demand and low rents.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 18:15:57 PM by baldy »
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Offline Michael

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Russell.

Yours is the kind of informed advice that has to be considered,I certainly don't suggest closing the High St to traffic, but I do think the businesses and the people should be told it like it is.

There is no easy solution, and your ideas on high rise development should be considered as an option, but as you say getting a developer to become involved is a big ask.





Offline Pugwash

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Rather than pedestrianisation, a quick win would be to reverse the traffic direction on the service road behind the eastern block. This would allow potential shoppers who have not found a parking space along the High Street to return to the car park without having to re-engage with the traffic on the main A350.
At the moment, as you have to get back onto the main road, either at West End or the top of Haynes Road, you may as well just carry on to Trowbridge or Warminster, as many do.

Offline Shizzy

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Having said that, the one way to make the sums work would be to allow tall (ish) tower blocks of flats over the shops which would make the profit that is necessary to subsidise the new shop units which would only attract low demand and low rents.

Probably the best and only solution.
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Offline baldy

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I was thinking about four rather wide  7-storey towers where the ground floor is shops and / or parking and a basement is parking.

It would actually be a town centre landmark and could be nicely designed.

It would have to be built in four or more phases, one after the other, so that existing businesses have somewhere to trade during construction.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 09:51:42 AM by baldy »
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Offline Bob DeBilda

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It would actually be a town centre landmark and could be nicely designed.



More like a town centre eyesore.

It’s obvious that Morrison’s is the biggest attraction in the town centre. What needs to be done is encourage Morrison customers to visit the High st. Make it easier to walk from Morrison’s car park to the High St shops.
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Offline baldy

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Yes, this has been looked at many times, but the BT Exchange is in the way with hundreds of cables underground that mean it will not move. Also, Morrisons faces the wrong way around. To join it all up, would mean getting a link through the BT exchange site and turning the Morrisons around or at least putting in a second entrance ...



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