Dear Formby Bubble...
Dear Formby Bubble,
Having lived in Formby for 60 years and worked in retailing all my working life, owning and running shops throughout the North West, I have first hand experience of how town centers have been destroyed by parking laws and charges. Companies have been forced to move out of high street shopping areas in to retail parks that benefit from convenient and free parking.
Over the years, I have seen many businesses close or move away from Formby Village. However, I do believe there is a solution to the future prosperity of the village and I would like to contribute to the development of its retail viability.
In a way, we are our own worst enemies, if you drive around the access roads to the village before 9am, where free parking is permitted, the parking areas are already full, sometimes on both sides of the road. This can make the roads dangerously congested and occasionally in accessible. Many of these vehicles belong to staff that work in the village who obviously need to park somewhere.
Park and Ride:
Formby is lucky to have a community bus service which most of the time is half empty and often completely empty before 9am.
There are plently of sites around Formby where staff could park free and be bussed in to work free of charge before 9am.
To run any business in the high street is expensive taking into account wages, leases, rates, heat, etc but without a good customer base there is no future for success.
For many years Sefton MBC have hounded the shopping public with ever increasing parking charger on the thinking that this is good for council revenue. However, quite the opposite is true - customers are chased away and the council lose out on rates from empty shops.
I would like to propose that the now empty streets around the village that have benefited from staff using the free 'park and ride' solution, parking meters are put in place where customers can obtain a ticket - punch in their vehicle registration number and display it on their windscreens to allow 2 hours free parking with a penalty fine for people that go over 2 hours. Park and ride facilities will be available for people that wish to stay longer than 2 hours. In addition 'residents permits' could be available for people that live on these roads.
Formby Village Hub:
Pedestrianizing Formby Village is a must and would put us on the map as the place to be and shop; socialise, have family time, bring children to.
We already have a service road at the rear of the shops both North and South. With timed deliveries to shops, working on a one-way system and most delivery vehicles already having trolleys to move stock, this could be a viable system to enable shops to function. The west end of Brows Lane would need to be kept clear of parked cars, using double yellow lines, as it would be too narrow for the volume of traffic and it may also need to be one way only. (Experts to advise on all of my highway and parking suggestions).
Build on and develop the activities that we already have.
1. Religious festivals - Christmas and Easter,
2. Dickensian Day,
3. October Fest (Sponsored)
4. CAMRA: Campaign for real ale festival (sponsored)
5. Food festival: Chef of the year with seasonal cookery demonstrations,
6. Farmers market weekly,
7. Art exhibitions,
8. Gardening weekend: Seasonal demonstrations suggesting what to do in your garden each month,
9. Model railway: Steam train rides for children,
10. Baby show,
11. Dancing groups - Clog, dancing, Morris dancing, Irish dancing and so.
12. At least one quality musical group, i.e. school band, quartets, German smart bands (as recently seen in Southport).
13. Boulez, small sand or gravel area as found on the continent,
14. Antiques show with valuation, etc.
All this could be enhanced by the use of the new sail type canopies to keep off any bad weather and make shopping ans socializing more enjoyable.
I believe for the public to sit outside, whatever time of the year and by creating a more continental atmosphere, Formby Village can be more prosperous and popular village for generations to enjoy for many years to come.
Name and address provided