Councillor supports traders in calling for town centre improvements

Darlington and Stockton Times: Conservative councillor Bill Stenson in Darlington town centre Conservative councillor Bill Stenson in Darlington town centre

A LONG-SERVING Darlington councillor has backed traders in calling for the town’s council to do more to improve footfall.

Conservative councillor Bill Stenson said the town centre faces ruin if improvements are not made.

Echoing concerns raised by prominent town centre trader Beryl Hankin, he said: “Our town is being destroyed, it’s being ruined and I can’t believe the council can’t see in front of their noses.

“We need to bring in more parking and toilets and the amount of empty shops is serious, you only have to walk down Post House Wynd to see all the To Let signs.

“I want more traders coming back to the town, rent lowered and the old town hall – where I served my apprenticeship – to be refurbished.”

He added: “I support traders like Ms Hankin because they’re suffering and the council should do more.

“They are being very lackadaisical about things and when people start complaining they should do something about it, especially as they’ve been complaining about the same things for a long time.

“Does the town need a better deal? Yes, I think it does, we want people to come here and shop as it’s a lovely place and I’d hate to see it ruined.”

Yesterday, a spokeswoman from Darlington Borough Council addressed the concerns raised by traders and said: “Darlington Council strives to further develop the town and works closely in partnership with our private sector including the business led Business Improvement District whose aim is to increase footfall, and make the town cleaner, safer and welcoming for all.

“We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.”

Comments (13)

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5:21pm Wed 2 Jul 14

DarloXman says...

A spokeswoman from Darlington Borough Council said: “Darlington Council strives to further develop the town and works closely in partnership with our private sector including the business led Business Improvement District whose aim is to increase footfall, and make the town cleaner, safer and welcoming for all.

“We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.”

it's just not true. Every action of the council is the exact opposite of the suggested intent.

Is the BID business led? Please tell me who Ms Hirst works for and tell me the experience that makes her appropriate for this role?
A spokeswoman from Darlington Borough Council said: “Darlington Council strives to further develop the town and works closely in partnership with our private sector including the business led Business Improvement District whose aim is to increase footfall, and make the town cleaner, safer and welcoming for all. “We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.” it's just not true. Every action of the council is the exact opposite of the suggested intent. Is the BID business led? Please tell me who Ms Hirst works for and tell me the experience that makes her appropriate for this role? DarloXman
  • Score: 7

6:05pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Gamechanger says...

The council cannot divorce itself from its responsibility for the town centre. Its claim that the BID is responsible for making the town cleaner safer safer and more welcoming? Cleanliness and safety are council and police roles. No wonder the town centre is in a mess.
The council cannot divorce itself from its responsibility for the town centre. Its claim that the BID is responsible for making the town cleaner safer safer and more welcoming? Cleanliness and safety are council and police roles. No wonder the town centre is in a mess. Gamechanger
  • Score: 8

7:08pm Wed 2 Jul 14

oliviaden6 says...

Parking charges lack of spaces to park the attitude of the incumbent council and its faceless officers. This has led to the current lack of investment in the town and the lack of interest in the uptake of shops.
The current council seems hell bent on dragging us and the town into oblivion and bankruptcy. Bill and His Buddies need to take a long hard look at their records and resign enbloc or take some couragous steps to turn this town around or it will become a waste land.
Parking charges lack of spaces to park the attitude of the incumbent council and its faceless officers. This has led to the current lack of investment in the town and the lack of interest in the uptake of shops. The current council seems hell bent on dragging us and the town into oblivion and bankruptcy. Bill and His Buddies need to take a long hard look at their records and resign enbloc or take some couragous steps to turn this town around or it will become a waste land. oliviaden6
  • Score: 5

7:19pm Wed 2 Jul 14

laughingboy51 says...

Quote: “We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.”

Well if thats so why are we paying salaries to Managers etc when their job is to improve and maintain things!
Quote: “We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.” Well if thats so why are we paying salaries to Managers etc when their job is to improve and maintain things! laughingboy51
  • Score: 4

7:52pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Spy Boy says...

DarloXman wrote:
A spokeswoman from Darlington Borough Council said: “Darlington Council strives to further develop the town and works closely in partnership with our private sector including the business led Business Improvement District whose aim is to increase footfall, and make the town cleaner, safer and welcoming for all.

“We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.”

it's just not true. Every action of the council is the exact opposite of the suggested intent.

Is the BID business led? Please tell me who Ms Hirst works for and tell me the experience that makes her appropriate for this role?
Doesn't she report to Richard Alty? Someone told me he was chairing this and getting well paid for it. I can't find any details to support this though. The transparency and clarity is something our council have to work on. Things like the bonuses paid to the Executives.
[quote][p][bold]DarloXman[/bold] wrote: A spokeswoman from Darlington Borough Council said: “Darlington Council strives to further develop the town and works closely in partnership with our private sector including the business led Business Improvement District whose aim is to increase footfall, and make the town cleaner, safer and welcoming for all. “We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.” it's just not true. Every action of the council is the exact opposite of the suggested intent. Is the BID business led? Please tell me who Ms Hirst works for and tell me the experience that makes her appropriate for this role?[/p][/quote]Doesn't she report to Richard Alty? Someone told me he was chairing this and getting well paid for it. I can't find any details to support this though. The transparency and clarity is something our council have to work on. Things like the bonuses paid to the Executives. Spy Boy
  • Score: 3

8:21pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Bank of Europe says...

Well according to Bill Dixon we have the BEST shop occupancy in the North ... I don't know what you lot are talking about we should all have the same glasses on as our very own BILL DIXON
Well according to Bill Dixon we have the BEST shop occupancy in the North ... I don't know what you lot are talking about we should all have the same glasses on as our very own BILL DIXON Bank of Europe
  • Score: 7

8:55pm Wed 2 Jul 14

joeninety says...

If you are a man and don't want a mobile phone, place a bet or second-hand clothes; where do you shop in Darlington? M&S is so small that you could place the men's department in any of the empty units around the town. Where do you get a decent suit? BHS is of similar ilk.
Hence we are driven to shop elsewhere and whilst there can obtain the other goods we need; thus all business's suffer.
Bill Dixon and his rabble couldn't run the proverbial in a brewery so what hope is there for the future of our town?
Parking charges and zealous traffic wardens only compound the problems. Before long the only thing in the town will be more permanent caravans, which will make Bill happy
If you are a man and don't want a mobile phone, place a bet or second-hand clothes; where do you shop in Darlington? M&S is so small that you could place the men's department in any of the empty units around the town. Where do you get a decent suit? BHS is of similar ilk. Hence we are driven to shop elsewhere and whilst there can obtain the other goods we need; thus all business's suffer. Bill Dixon and his rabble couldn't run the proverbial in a brewery so what hope is there for the future of our town? Parking charges and zealous traffic wardens only compound the problems. Before long the only thing in the town will be more permanent caravans, which will make Bill happy joeninety
  • Score: 3

9:00pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Got Ya says...

I still think Ada Burns is lovely.

Whose this Stenson bloke by the way and how much of his allowances is he plowing into any improvements?
I still think Ada Burns is lovely. Whose this Stenson bloke by the way and how much of his allowances is he plowing into any improvements? Got Ya
  • Score: -2

10:14pm Wed 2 Jul 14

colin atkins says...

Councillors don't back up anyone except themselves. You have to have a back bone to back some one up, and as far as i am concerned all Councillors are spineless.
Councillors don't back up anyone except themselves. You have to have a back bone to back some one up, and as far as i am concerned all Councillors are spineless. colin atkins
  • Score: 1

10:20pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Darloresident says...

The voices against how this town are run are now at last reaching a point where even Puffing Billy Dixon will have to take notice... Who is right about occupancy levels? Stenson or Dixon? Bill Dixon confidently states that the town has the best shop occupancy level in the North East
Can I ask the Echo to quiz him as to how he backs that claim up?
The public know the truth.. Queens St Arcade,Cornmill,,Pos
t House Wynd,West Bondgate,North Road.. All with loads of empty units.
The leader of our council is in denial about the true state of our once great town. His complacency is worrying.As a leader he should lead and not put his hands over his ears to the concerned voices coming from all quarters.Residents,T
raders,Visitors and now Councillors..
The voices against how this town are run are now at last reaching a point where even Puffing Billy Dixon will have to take notice... Who is right about occupancy levels? Stenson or Dixon? Bill Dixon confidently states that the town has the best shop occupancy level in the North East Can I ask the Echo to quiz him as to how he backs that claim up? The public know the truth.. Queens St Arcade,Cornmill,,Pos t House Wynd,West Bondgate,North Road.. All with loads of empty units. The leader of our council is in denial about the true state of our once great town. His complacency is worrying.As a leader he should lead and not put his hands over his ears to the concerned voices coming from all quarters.Residents,T raders,Visitors and now Councillors.. Darloresident
  • Score: 2

2:59am Thu 3 Jul 14

SirLance says...

First and foremost ! Public Toilets! people won't come spend their pounds if they can't 'spend a penny'. Secondly make the car parks more attractive by reducing the parking fees! How can the spenders get all their goods home easily? Easy to park and easy to shop! Then think about restoring Post House Wynd! That was a wonderful little walkway years ago, now it is bland and featureless! Clean up all the gobs of chewing gum on the paving around town center, fine the offenders who spit it there! Tackle the litter louts, the fast food mob who walk along eating and when finished scoffing just dump the food wrappers! Come on Darlington folk! You can all see this but nothing is done about it! Years ago there were well presented shop fronts, some traders went to great lengths to be 'seen'. It's changed for the worse now! time for a fair rental scheme for traders who wish to utilize town center properties. Charity shops look what they are, great intention but a reflection of the towns prosperity! (Harrogate will have them somewhere but not everywhere!). Time to invest in a decent town center! Stop driving people away to the shopping parks or your identity as 'Darlington' will be lost! By example go see what Milton Keynes have for their townsfolk! Yes they have better local investment but why? A decent place and decent surroundings with good educational facilities that will and has attracted investors! Darlington can do this too!
First and foremost ! Public Toilets! people won't come spend their pounds if they can't 'spend a penny'. Secondly make the car parks more attractive by reducing the parking fees! How can the spenders get all their goods home easily? Easy to park and easy to shop! Then think about restoring Post House Wynd! That was a wonderful little walkway years ago, now it is bland and featureless! Clean up all the gobs of chewing gum on the paving around town center, fine the offenders who spit it there! Tackle the litter louts, the fast food mob who walk along eating and when finished scoffing just dump the food wrappers! Come on Darlington folk! You can all see this but nothing is done about it! Years ago there were well presented shop fronts, some traders went to great lengths to be 'seen'. It's changed for the worse now! time for a fair rental scheme for traders who wish to utilize town center properties. Charity shops look what they are, great intention but a reflection of the towns prosperity! (Harrogate will have them somewhere but not everywhere!). Time to invest in a decent town center! Stop driving people away to the shopping parks or your identity as 'Darlington' will be lost! By example go see what Milton Keynes have for their townsfolk! Yes they have better local investment but why? A decent place and decent surroundings with good educational facilities that will and has attracted investors! Darlington can do this too! SirLance
  • Score: 6

8:20am Thu 3 Jul 14

JJ2000 says...

“Darlington Council strives to further develop the town and works closely in partnership with our private sector including the business led Business Improvement District whose aim is to increase footfall, and make the town cleaner, safer and welcoming for all.
“We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.”

This is a typically scripted and emotionless response and a fair indicator of just how far far removed some people are from the concerns raised by the public.
BiD serves no purpose other than to maintain its own existence. Even from the start BiD were unable to give projections of return on investment for the businesses forced to pay for the scheme, yet any other business startup would be expected to plan projections before investing or requesting any capital!
I accept that online sales have an effect, but this does not change the point that shopping should be an 'experience', an afternoon or a day out that is enjoyable. Comfort, ease and variety all have a part to play and there is none of that in Darlington.
People turn elsewhere because at this time there is no reason not to. The residents of Darlington can only do so much, but asking them to support a town when there is no benefit (comfort, ease and variety) in doing so, is merely attempting to pass the responsibility down.
“Darlington Council strives to further develop the town and works closely in partnership with our private sector including the business led Business Improvement District whose aim is to increase footfall, and make the town cleaner, safer and welcoming for all. “We welcome comments and suggestions to help to improve the town centre and its amenities to help ensure Darlington remains well positioned for business.” This is a typically scripted and emotionless response and a fair indicator of just how far far removed some people are from the concerns raised by the public. BiD serves no purpose other than to maintain its own existence. Even from the start BiD were unable to give projections of return on investment for the businesses forced to pay for the scheme, yet any other business startup would be expected to plan projections before investing or requesting any capital! I accept that online sales have an effect, but this does not change the point that shopping should be an 'experience', an afternoon or a day out that is enjoyable. Comfort, ease and variety all have a part to play and there is none of that in Darlington. People turn elsewhere because at this time there is no reason not to. The residents of Darlington can only do so much, but asking them to support a town when there is no benefit (comfort, ease and variety) in doing so, is merely attempting to pass the responsibility down. JJ2000
  • Score: 3

2:59pm Thu 3 Jul 14

oliviaden6 says...

BID is just a job creation scheme for Bill & His Buddies, more waste and expense for us all.
BID is just a job creation scheme for Bill & His Buddies, more waste and expense for us all. oliviaden6
  • Score: 0
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