Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Last week I went into Wigan town centre and what a bleak experience it was.
I have never seen it so deserted with even the pubs and pie shops empty.
I don't know how the operators of these businesses make it pay with rent and exorbitant business rates to pay.

It is evident that many don't as shown by the boarded up shops and "to let" signs.
In other words the centre of Wigan is dying and the only activity is the new offices or whatever being built for the council.
Because of budget cuts I believe charges for town centre car parks are going up which will REALLY encourage visitors to the town.

The Galleries shopping centre built over 20 years ago was supposed to enhance the experience of town centre shopping, but in spite of the demolition of a much loved Market Hall is half empty on account of sky high rents and the new Market Hall has also lost many stalls.

In spite of this and perhaps blinded by speculative money men the council in it's wisdom allowed and promoted the "Grand Arcade" demolishing in doing so Roman remains which had lain undisturbed for two millenia.

Of course this development just took trade from the other shops resulting in the "To Let" signs.
People have only so much to spend and filling the town with new ones at higher rents does not bring in extra cash to the town but just gives the place a down at heel look.

I accept the multitude of out of town supermarkets does not help but their free parking is a disincentive to people to visit the town centre.
A punitive parking space tax on the supermarkets would even the situation somewhat and give the little businesses a chance thus enhancing the ambience of the town centre.

In the paper today the Metro is considering closing Metrolite Industries where disabled people are given a chance of employment to save £250,000 in an effort to balance the books "because of government cuts" This money could be diverted "to front line services" it is said.

And what are these I ask. What is more "frontline" than helping disabled people to have a purpose in life? Diversity and equal opportunities officers I suppose.

It is also interesting that the £250,000 saved? by this measure is little more than the salary of the chief executive. Similarly many staff working for the metro are on more than £100,000 per year, not the useful ones like care workers or bin men which we all need but bureaucrats in the Town Hall who if they ceased work nobody would notice, indeed if they left the town would be possibly be better off looking at the mess they have made in recent years.

Another way of saving money would be to go back to the old days where councillors did their job out of a sense of public spiritidness and were not paid.
When I was on the old UDC you did the job to put something back into society, not to use your position as a lucrative job. Meetings were held in the evening so that councillors could do their daytime job and still debate the problems of the district in the evening.
I have the feeling that many of the councillors would have difficulty in holding down a proper job nowadays.

We ran an efficient council in those days and were more accountable to the people and without the multitude of non jobs that we now have.

We managed without Diversity officers then but then we were not enriched or diverse. We were a united community and proud of it.

When I see the desecration of our area now wrought by the incompetent avaricious people who "manage" it I sometimes dispair.

Cameron says he wants "The Big Society". How about some of you overpaid incompetents giving up some of your salaries and expenses and do your bit for the good of the community.


Anonymous said...

Well stated, Sir !

Andyj said...

The last act of any corrupt Gov't is to rob from the people.

We read many stories where Kings have lived in absolute opulence while the people starved because trade and businesses could not flourish due to excessive taxations.