Around 20 traders, agents and stakeholders in Brierley Hill Town Centre had their chance to express their views on their town at a workshop in the town organised by Dudley Council.
Key themes which were identified by the workshop included the need for improved transport and parking, better safety and more investment in the area.
Participants were generally positive about the town. The new road has the potential to unlock investment (although some work needs to be done to improve routing and traffic light phasing), the LIFT Health and Social Care Centre will open in May and Stourbridge College are aiming to have their new arts campus open by September 2011. These initiatives will help to bring new footfall to drive trade in the centre. The markets in the town offer great value for money and are seen as a key strength to the town.
Issues remain to be tackled though. Traders expressed concern about the number of fast food shops in the area. These provide dead frontages during the day time when other shops are open.
The police agreed to review how they tackle anti-social behaviour in the town in response to comments concerning a small group of people causing a nuisance to shoppers.
There was a recognition that the High Street serves a different clientele to nearby Merry Hill and serves a purpose as a local shopping centre serving local residents. This was a strength and needs to be built on.
Comments from the participants will now be collated and council officers will create an action plan to support the ongoing regeneration of the town.