I meet a friend regularly for lunch in Stourbridge. My friend, Margaret, has lived there all her life and she is nearly 70 – so she knows all there is to know about the place. We were meant to meet before Christmas but I had to postpone to sort something out for a client. Anyway, we rescheduled for last Friday and decided to meet at the new coffee place at the Clock Tower end of town.
If you don’t know Stourbridge at all let me paint a picture – there’s a High Street (I was going to say “no surprise there – but has Wolverhampton got a street called “High Street”?), the Ryemarket shopping centre and now this new, replacement shopping development at the far end of the town, as you approach from the train station. Stourbridge looks a bit like Wolverhampton City Centre, if you know what I mean.
There’s two train stations, one in the town centre and one just outside – both go to Birmingham, and there’s a new bus station. There’s Stourbridge College which has had lot’s of money spent on it recently. It’s near Brierley Hill and therefore close to Merry Hill Shopping Centre. The High Street is open to one way traffic. And it doesn’t look like there has been much investment in property for a long time.
Well, something has now changed. Margaret doesn’t know who is responsible for this and apparently this topic was discussed at many dinner tables over the festive period – someone has developed a new shopping complex which houses a new Tescos, library, Costa and the Town Hall. Speculation is that it is a joint development project with the council and Tescos.
It is pleasant enough. The coffee was usual Costa – I am not a coffee aficionado so I can’t really tell you if it’s good or bad. And I drink mine very weak anyway – half a shot instead of the usual 2.
But what appears to have caused the town to be mega busy now since this complex opened in Oct 2013 is that they (?) have built a new car park, under which gives a shoppers 3 hours free parking.
I have to preface the next sentence by saying I am not a property developer, an economist nor a politician –
If the town of Stourbridge can increase the footfall in the city centre surely Wolverhampton City can too. I know it isn’t simple and I know people are trying but perhaps Wolverhampton movers and shakers need to speak with whoever implemented this new development in Stourbridge – perhaps they already are, who knows?
Just a reminder that you can book for our next event at the event of the month where we will be discussing how to use the internet to boost your business and there will be someone there from the council so come and speak with them about the city centre.
Tosca is the charismatic founder of Wicked Spider, a specialist web design consultancy, training and video marketing agency.
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