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What Can Be Done To Attract Investors To Barnsley? A WAB Debate!

Friday December 7 2012



RECENT statistics show that there are 25,000 fewer jobs in Barnsley than the Yorkshire average and that the town has some of the highest unemployment levels.

In a report considered by Barnsley Council, it showed that unemployment was almost 1.5 per cent higher than the national average, with 18- to 24-year-olds are having a particularly tough time finding work.

Almost 13 per cent are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance - double the average for the rest of the country.

Barnsley Council is now considering what would make the town an attractive place for new investors.

Coun Dick Wraith said: “Barnsley should be fighting for every penny of investment that comes to South Yorkshire, and we want to be sure that everything possible is being done to bring in enough jobs for both current and future generations of job seekers.”

What do you think could be done to attract in new businesses and employment opportunities?

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Reply Posted by fwfwfssf on Friday December 7 2012 at 12:24
As a shopper, what would attract me is:

Free parking! I'd rather go to Meadowhall just so I don't have to pay to park!

And every time I go into the town center I see people sat outside on benches (near hmv, boots, barclays, greggs) drinking tins of cider and beer. Doesn't exactly make the place family friendly. And I think this is a big issue in the bus station. It isn't welcoming for people from outside the area.

Consequently, more shoppers equals more jobs. I've just read the story on the failing shops in the arcade.

No one will invest in a town where current shops are being shut down! I think the issue would be to help independent stores regenerate rather than bringing in bigger chains of stores, such as Debenhams. All town centres are becoming replicas of each other and Barnsley has a unique selling point because it doesn't have that many massive chains stores. The sense of community and the advantage of the markets can create revenue for the town.

Reply Posted by Kim on Friday December 7 2012 at 12:47
Barnsley should try and make itself a boutique town, there are so many independant retailers around here and not a lot is done to help them.

Reduce shop rents in the town centre and make them more accessable for smaller businesses. For instance, the old Collextions shop is 16K plus VAT = just under 20k, this is a massive amount of money for an independant retailer to try and get before rates and paying themselves a wage and a bit of profit to help them carry on trading. Maybe start offering a shop share style scheme, where more than one business share the same shop space therefore sharing the costs.

Free parking should be a must especially at weekends, paying for parking when places like meadowhall & parkgate offer this for free will turn shoppers to those places first even though they may be paying more in petrol to get there.

Try to entice more big name brands out there but ones with a more smaller feel to them such as Lush.

And finally, stop messing about with plans for the market area, tell the business owners exactly what will happen, how it will happen and what plans are inplace to ensure thier business's will be able to carry on trading whilst it is happening not just show pictures in the chronicle of what it could look like if the council got their fingers out of thier arse and actually did it rather than just playing at doing it.

Reply Posted by absinthe on Friday December 7 2012 at 18:07
Speaking as someone who once ran a business in town, some help with business rates would be good. Despite paying upfront with my business rates, it was never enough for them, and they hounded my business. The business rates actually cost me more than the shop rental - that's when you know something is wrong with the system! A 144sq ft shop was £500 a year, and you had to pay up front even if you were only on a six month lease. It was another £500 on top of the business rates if I wanted a small wheelie bin for the shop, which was nothing short of extortion. I went back to selling online, it was far easier, and I didn't have to deal with the grinding bureaucracy and pettiness of the council.

It didn't help much that on some days 8 out of 10 people who came in the shop actually tried to steal something, including badly behaved kids as young as 6 who were allowed to run wild on their own in the area. There were people who had no respect, who would come from the fast food shop next door and deliberately wipe their greasy hands on garments I had for sale on a rail outside the shop doorway.

Quite a lot of people who came into my shop were people from the market, trying to sell me their stock, because they were so sick and tired of constant theft from their stalls, that they were closing down. As the story in the Barnsley Chronicle says about a shop owner only taking 50p per day, a lot of shop owners in Barnsley have said the same thing. They feel completely disenfranchised.

Sure, there is a lot you can do for businesses, but the problem is that you are still stuck with the thieves, the drunks, the smackheads, the badly behaved kids, an unsupportive council, and the fact that no one has any money to spend.

However, if there was a magic wand I could wave to remove all the things I've just mentioned, what would help would be if people supported the small businesses more. If everyone in Barnsley supported a small business, a small business could afford to take on one member of staff - and that would make a big difference in the unemployment figures. One thing when I ran my shop, was the amount of teenagers who came in almost every day, asking if I had any work for them. These kids were desperate for work and I only wished I had some to give them.

Going back years, it would be the local Chamber of Commerce that stood in and let everyone know what business needed, but with the amount of money most businesses are making now, they can't even afford to be part of the Chamber of Commerce or any other local business support groups.

Reply Posted by jowwww on Monday December 10 2012 at 10:49
Flatten the Alambra! Go back to being a 90% market town re stalls anywhere and everywhere. Be unique and hold craft, antique, specialist continental and international food events and stop being £pound shop city.

Free parking an imperative.

Reply Posted by mick on Monday December 10 2012 at 12:20
The problem with Barnsley and investment is the apathy shown by Barnsley council and our local MP .We are a labour safe seat in parliament and council . I am sure if we were a key marginal we would get more attention to swing our votes.All EU grants for Barnsley were taken by Sheffield city council for the supertram and Barnsley has seen no benefit from this venture at all.

Reply Posted by may on Monday December 10 2012 at 15:28
we should go back to the market town we were famous for. when bus trips from all over used to visit barnsley market.when the rich and poor shopped together. everyone loves a great market, regardless of how much money people do or dont have

Reply Posted by MA on Tuesday December 11 2012 at 13:38
Parking is free, on Weekends anyway.

Reply Posted by David Cameron on Tuesday December 11 2012 at 13:40
As others have mentioned, Barnsley centre doesn't really feel very safe! Too many druggies and people boozing/swearing in public. I know they tried with the anti swearing but there should be more town ambassadors like in Sheffield centre to curb the scruffs that spoil the look of the town and go stealing. The town is always bustling and fun stuff goes off on Saturdays but there are too many wild scrubberish druggies wandewring round like zombies looking for stuff to nick :(

Reply Posted by Moe on Tuesday December 11 2012 at 17:14
I agree with knock doewn the Alhambra center, it's like running into a prison the minute you hit towm and also agree with the Market and it would be helpful to people who do not have a car to park to have a REALLY good bus service - just miss one and your hanging round for an othr hour whoever did the designig over the last years like has been said has RUINED barnsley -- no wonder people travel else elsewhere

Reply Posted by dene on Tuesday December 11 2012 at 17:24
there's a lot of people drinking near the cash converters i go to the craft shop next door to it on weds night ,and the a mount of time i am stopped and ask if i smoke and could i give them a fag ,,,the police come but do nothing ,,would like more parking spaces in town for disabled people and stop people parking in the spaces ,,,,,

Reply Posted by James on Tuesday December 11 2012 at 17:33
As a local business owner it's so refreshing to read all the comments, I thought it was just me that realised this, it such a shame everyone always votes the same year in year out and it's not until we change that that Barnsley will ever change, vote raving loony party, as long as the council gets there pound (tone) of flesh they are not bothered and when the business have all gone pop and the shops have all been flattened to avoid the massive councils tax theft they will wake up and smell the coffee and then maybe they will do something or just borrow the money like thay always have, and make our kids, kids pay the bill.

Reply Posted by Jenni on Tuesday December 11 2012 at 18:51
I agree with "absinthe" if things were relaxed with the business rates it would attract more and/or better businesses...which in turn would offer jobs. I run a relatively small business (in terms of turnover) and have to pay a whopping £1,300 business rates A MONTH! Because the figures are based on the rent from 4 years ago...even though we pay less rent now than what it was being rented out for 4 years ago. I don't understand how charging one business a large amount, but letting 2/3 units sit empty in same estate/street makes sense, rather than charging a bit less but having all the units full and paying....works out more money for them in the end!

Reply Posted by Ja on Friday December 14 2012 at 17:44
Barnsley could do with being an enterprise zone local MP's should be doing just this
This would bring some employers in to the town then create work

Reply Posted by sara on Friday December 14 2012 at 18:36
People starting up in business here is beneficial to Barnsley. Not only for the individual but also future jobs they may create but the people they could attract to the town.
The council are cutting funding to enterprise Barnsley a valuable lifeline to starting business and it stop in March. I find this ridiculous when we want to make Barnsley a place to come and spend money!!

Reply Posted by Robert on Monday December 17 2012 at 09:46
By bringing in traffic, very cheap parking, knocking down the Alhambra, making us into a simple market town, with a market on Cheapside & Market Hill... Just like in the olden days! My humble opinion, of course!

Reply Posted by Carol on Monday December 17 2012 at 10:07
I remember 15 years ago at school learning about the impact of our of town shopping centres on small towns like Barnsley, Rotherham etc and here is living proof. I for one never go into Barnsley. Why should I walk around clinging to my bag, finding empty bottles of methadone on the shelves in boots ( thought this was taken under supervision) scrubbers spitting all over the place, drunks staggering around and druggies wandering around looking for anything to steal....does Meadowhall sound more inviting? Absolutely. There is nothing you can't get there or even in Leeds or the Trafford Centre - all within easy reach. All you can see in town is £ shops, charity shops, pawnbrokers, opticians and pubs. The market is deserted, empty stalls - none of the buzz that used to be there years ago just sad looking stall holders. Dilapidated empty buildings......do I need to go on? Come on Barnsley council pull your finger out before the town centre is flattened and turned into a housing estate! You invest more money building council houses than redeveloping the core of your town!

Reply Posted by Jon on Saturday January 5 2013 at 20:11
Why would we need more shops :/ does nobody understand that you need to manufacture and export instead of having a load of people working in shops. The people in council don't care about the young people or the people who live on ruff estates, all the council care about is how big their pay check is at the end of the month. If you want people to invest, lower the taxes and make doing business in Barnsley ALOT easier.