Altrincham Forward Action Plan

July 25, 2012 1:18 pm

Altrincham Forward Change

Today the Altrincham Forward Action Plan was announced and saw a great turn out from business owners, community workers, volunteers and council members all of which had been invited to attend the launch.

Altrincham Forward Action Plan

The launch kicked off with an informal breakfast, sausage and bacon sandwiches or Danish pastries and muffins. After some mingling and anticipation Matt Colledge the Chair of Altrincham Forward and Leader of Trafford Council kicked off the proceedings by introducing the plan and going over some of the key initiatives.

Developments in Altrincham

Matt Colledge discussed Altrincham Forward’s role and how they are driving forward with Development, Marketing and Communications but he also added that they wanted to have more control over developments, carefully selecting developments that would improve the town not just companies who will be in and out without considering Altrincham’s heritage and community.

Marketing and PR

Altrincham Forward has been lucky to enlist the help of some big names in the Marketing and PR industry and extended his personal thanks to these companies who are offering their experience, expertise and time free of charge; all with the aim to improve Altrincham for everyone who lives and works here.

Matt discussed some of the areas they want to develop further and also transform other areas of Altrincham to be as appealing, of course Goose Green and Kings Court were mentioned and these areas will be further promoted through the Altrincham Forward initiative. They announced that 100 extra parking spaces have been sourced and they will continue to keep the Parking rates in Altrincham the lowest in the North West.

Altrincham is World Class

Matt went on to discuss the “high quality, high class, world quality, world class” offering Altrincham has in terms of restaurants, bars and independent businesses. The crowd murmured in agreement and we were personally reminded of the latest piece in the Guardian that Altrincham is the best pub crawl in the UK :) . It was clear throughout the launch that Altrincham Forward really want to encourage independents in the town.

Altrincham Forward are keen to encourage more outdoor performers and festivals to bring visitors to the town, they will be taking the success of the Taste of Trafford and expanding, creating the Altrincham Food and Drink festival, there are also plans for an Altrincham Arts festival.

Landlords Forum

One of the main areas that stood out was the landlords forum, headed up by David Moore, they will work on keeping the aesthetics of the town to a high standard making Altrincham town centre a lot more appealing to shop and visit. Matt was very clear that they were keen to support local businesses, independents and entrepreneurship.

Nick Johnson from Urban Splash, took the stand to discuss the development side, he mentioned a biological scenario that occurs naturally, where organisms grow and develop until they reach a point where more dominant organisms will over shadow smaller organisms and parasites to the point where they cannot survive. He described this as a metaphor for how many communities evolve where the larger more dominant forces over shadow smaller members.

Altrincham Community

Jackie Campbell, from Altrincham Chamber of Commerce, went on to discuss how they felt businesses would work together and called out to the community for feedback, ideas and support.

The audience had a few valid questions, one member pointed out that one of the biggest stumbling points for independent retailers was the business rates. Matt agreed this was a concern and that discussions were being held on how to lower the rates across the board as this was an issue that affected the rest of the region as well as Altrincham. He mentioned it was still early days but definitely a priority factor.

The influence of families and making Altrincham more appealing to families was discussed as other areas had managed to create a family friendly offering that attracted visitors and locals to spend money. At Visit Altrincham we had already been discussing this as we felt that businesses locally could do very well with day trade and early evening trade by offering family deals or family friendly venues.

It was also pointed out that the ‘to let’ signs that are scattered above shops in the town centre do not look good and perhaps a solution would be to allow these to be used for residential purposes, Matt said this would take a bit of investment but welcomed the idea mentioning it had been discussed previously. We agree these spaces could be let out to young people or students and with easy access to amenities and transport links they would be ideal for some people.

The launch finished off with a chance to ask the team questions and to mingle with other members of the audience. We spoke to a few people and the feedback was positive from the launch.

Altrincham Forward made it very clear that they wanted feedback from the community and launched their new website this morning which has full details of the plan and a questionnaire  for you to fill in to give your opinion.

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