Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An email from Centros Miller

So... having been cheeky enough to email the guy at Centros Miller about the recent furore that was building over the naming of the Cattle Market development in Bury St Edmunds, I am very pleased to have had a reply.

I hope that the consultations regarding the naming of the squares around the arc are far reaching and that the council includes modern methods in the consultative process using Internet-based facilities as well as public meetings.

I have included the email here for info.


"Thank you for your comments on the name of our development in Bury St Edmunds and my apologies for the short delay in responding.

As we have stated in the press the new name and branding is needed for marketing purposes and it is aimed both at people inside and outside of Bury St Edmunds.

In particular we have to present the many benefits of the development to retailers,caterers,and their advisors who we hope will be persuaded to bring their business to the town.Then, when the development opens we will also need to attract the many potential customers from outside Bury St Edmunds.

To do that successfully we need to present a very positive image and demonstrate that Bury St Edmunds will soon have something different,new and exciting to offer.We found that there were many examples in other towns where a former cattle market had been redeveloped but not retained the name.We felt that as a name,cattle market offered too many negative connotations,so we commissioned a branding exercise to find a new name.During this process we did indeed consult with a selection of local people - in particular members of the Chamber of Commerce,the Town Centre Management Group,The Bury Society and some local councillors.

A number of names were put forward and discussed,one of them being "arc", and it was not given the negative reaction that many are now promoting. Individuals may have had their own particular preferences which they championed but there were those that disagreed with them.It is also unfortunately true to say that there is a body of people in Bury St Edmunds who were very anti the development ever proceeding and who would find cause to be critical whatever name was selected.

We believe that arc offers us the opportunity to apply a completely fresh and appropriate branding to help us present the many exciting opportunities that we can offer to potential retailers.We also think that many local people are reacting negatively to the name without seeing the ways it is being and will be applied to our marketing material and thereby misunderstanding its main purpose.Can I suggest for example that you visit the new web site www.arc-burystedmunds.com .

In conjunction with St Edmundsbury Council we have agreed that the naming of the streets,the new squares and the venue will be undertaken by the council and we understand that it will be undertaking a consultative process on this.

Since we first started working on this development in 2001 we have said many times that the scheme will form a natural extension of the existing town centre and that over time the new will integrate seamlessly with the old.

But in the meantime we need to differentiate between the new and the old so that we can get people from outside to see that Bury St Edmunds is changing for the better.The arc branding will do that and in two years time when it is open we firmly believe that people will be commenting on how good the development is for the town,not what it is called.

Thanks again for your comments and I hope my response will go some way to setting your mind to rest on this matter".

AN ADDENDUM in reply to another email:

"I am sure that your Council will be looking for as wide a public participation as possible in moving forward with naming various parts of the development and will be engaging with the local community. Indeed why not submit your own ideas to go with the others that have already been made".


For interested parties, an event is being held on Tuesday 10th July (indeed today) to bring people up to date with what's happening in Bury St Edmunds town centre and the council is inviting everyone to go along.

As well as finding out from Taylor Woodrow Construction how work on the cattle market site is progressing, there will also be news from two major town centre retailers. There will also be an opportunity for questions, with a panel including St Edmundsbury Borough Council Leader John Griffiths and Cattle Market and Town Centre Working Party chairman Cllr Sara Mildmay-White.

1pm and 6pm at the Athenaeum, Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds.

More info can be found at: http://www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk/sebc/new/PR04070701.cfm


a.n.other said...

Thank you for for taking the sort of action that many people perhaps wanted to take, but didn't.
I will read the reply you recieved a few more times, but my first impression is that there seems to be an implication that there has been something wrong with Bury that this new development will be putting right!
Why does the name Cattle Market have negative connotations? Surely the market was one of the things that made Bury the place it is today.
I am not really against the development, I have always hoped it could add a different dimension to our already fantastic town, but I have always worried about what will happen to the town centre when retailers such as Next, Monsoon,Waterstones etc. relocate to thier new sites.Do they intend to keep two premises going? I would be very surprised.
We already have a few boarded up premises, even in Abbeyate Street, no one seens to want them,this does not fill me with confidence.
It seems sad that in ushering in a slightly dubious new, we are not appreciating what we already have.
You have to be very carefull what you wish for!

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

I went to both sessions and have posted the results on my blog - that's not a plug but i can't be bothered to duplicate here!.

ANO - one of the points made was that out of over 400 retail outlets in the town, only a handful are currently unlet. This is an unusually low number, 5% being more the norm.

21st Century Mummy said...

a.n.other - yes, I see what you mean, having re-read the email. Initally I'd taken the context as it would make Bury St Edmunds "even" better. Like you I am not against the development and I do hope that it will have a positive effect on the economy rather than a negative impact.

I prefer to shop in the beautiful independent shops of Bury and I don't think it will change my shopping habits and those of people similar to me. However, what I hope is that the new range of shops will stop those who head off to Ipswich and Cambridge and will encourage them to spend their money in BSE instead as well as visit the independents.

I hope that the marketing team who are responsible for attracting the shops into the development are focusing on retailers who do not already have a presence here and that existing high street retailers have the faith to remain where they are. Coming from the Moreton Hall end of town, I would certainly find it more convenient to do my shopping at the existing venues than to walk up to the extended area.

If they do move, I hope that the vacant units are used wisely and creatively. One thing that I would really love for the town is a smart council funded eco-shop selling useful eco-friendly products and technology as well as providing a one-stop shop for information.

There could also be a gallery focusing on the work of local emerging artists, with a constantly changing exhibition. A friend of mine would have loved to have set this up, but it is something that would need an enormous amount of funding. Moving on from that it would be fabulous if the site of the old Bury Book Shop could be offered over to artists and craftspeople for studios with the ground floor being the retail area to showcase their work. It's so higgledy piggledy it would be great for this purpose.

With Abbeygate St focusing on restaurants etc already, it would be wonderful if this became the "eaterie" part of town. In fact many towns operate successfully in this way, where different types of businesses are concentrated in different areas.

As well as organising a consultation regarding the new development, perhaps there also needs to be a consultation regarding what people want for the rest of the town.

Paul - it's reassuring that Bury is below average regarding empty shops, even if it is disconcerting to walk past them.

Tina at the Moreton Hall Directory is considering hosting a wishlist section on the MHD blog. Maybe there could be something similar for Bury town centre. If demand can be made demonstrable, it may give potential retailers extra confidence to invest in the respective properties.