Swindon AdvertiserRetail chiefs welcome £200k boost for the Brunel (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Retail chiefs welcome £200k boost for the Brunel

Swindon Advertiser: Emma Faramarzi, chairman of Swindon Federation of Small Businesses, outside the Brunel Emma Faramarzi, chairman of Swindon Federation of Small Businesses, outside the Brunel

BUSINESS and political leaders have welcomed an announcement that an extra £200,000 is to be spent on marketing the Brunel Centre as a regional shopping destination.

The Adver revealed yesterday that the cash injection is part of a bid to further boost visitor numbers and unit occupancy rates, which have increased in the year since receivers were called in.

The shopping centre in the heart of Swindon town centre was placed under the control of receivers on December 23, 2011, when centre owners CIT did not meet the terms of a long-term loan against the building which it used to buy the centre for £130m.

First Investments, which was appointed as the centre’s property and asset manager, has revealed that the administrators are injecting another £100,000 into the marketing budget, matched by £100,000 from the service charge budget, funded by tenants.

This money will be used to market the centre regionally and locally to drive up footfall, occupancy rates and the value of the centre. A marketing campaign is to start soon and is expected to take effect by the summer.

Emma Faramarzi, chairman of the Swindon Federation of Small Businesses and also a Swindon councillor, said: “Any money spent on marketing or advertising Swindon town centre is absolutely great.

“Hopefully they will get some real good return on it. They have got a lot to shout about, there’s so much regeneration work being done in the town and also we’ve got extra cheap car parking compared to other towns in the surrounding area.

“I hope they spend it wisely, not just give it to a PR agency and walk away.”

Coun Faramarzi (Con, Priory Vale) said that if she lived in Reading, she would not travel to Swindon just for the Brunel. But she might come to visit the Brunel and other town centre attractions, so the centre would have to market the Brunel as part of a wider town centre experience.

Heydar Faramarzi, president of Swindon Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Brunel shopping centre is a key retail hub in the town so we are delighted that investment will be made in marketing to increase footfall.

“This will ultimately generate more revenue into the local economy and raise the profile of Swindon as a shopping destination.”

And Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson, who is also the vice chairman of both the retail and town centre all-party Parlia-mentary groups, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news and a real boost for the traders within the Brunel Centre. “I’m sure it will help drive up footfall, building on the gains made when the council cut the car parking charges.”

Since taking over the Brunel, First Investments says it has reduced empty shop space from 11 per cent – 58,494sq ft – to 3.34 per cent, while rent arrears have fallen from £598,000 to £35,147. Meanwhile, footfall in the last three months of 2012 was up. 100,00 visitors on the same period in 2011.

Comments (13)

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11:04am Tue 8 Jan 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

Marketing will not help while there are more attractive options nearby. Spend the money on reducing parking fees and rents. The reduced (or perhaps free at certain times) parking fees will attract people to come for the cheap parking (this has worked for several other towns), and the reduced rents might bring some shops to the centre that people might actually want to spend money at.

Perhaps they could take a look at Milton Keynes centre for ideas - a superb shopping destination, and on public holidays, parking is generally free!
Marketing will not help while there are more attractive options nearby. Spend the money on reducing parking fees and rents. The reduced (or perhaps free at certain times) parking fees will attract people to come for the cheap parking (this has worked for several other towns), and the reduced rents might bring some shops to the centre that people might actually want to spend money at. Perhaps they could take a look at Milton Keynes centre for ideas - a superb shopping destination, and on public holidays, parking is generally free! The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 0

11:06am Tue 8 Jan 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

The other thing Swindon centre could do with is a proper food court, perhaps a bit like the one at the outlet village. There's not much in the way of decent quality food in the centre of Swindon either!
The other thing Swindon centre could do with is a proper food court, perhaps a bit like the one at the outlet village. There's not much in the way of decent quality food in the centre of Swindon either! The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Tim Newroman says...

Realistically, £200,000 on marketing across the south-west won't actually buy much. When certain nearby shopping facilities regularly screen TV adverts on ITV1, it's hard to see how the £200k will even make a dent.

It would also be interesting to discover who the money will be paid to, local agencies - or companies outside the area.
Realistically, £200,000 on marketing across the south-west won't actually buy much. When certain nearby shopping facilities regularly screen TV adverts on ITV1, it's hard to see how the £200k will even make a dent. [p] It would also be interesting to discover who the money will be paid to, local agencies - or companies outside the area. Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

1:26pm Tue 8 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

I cant really think of any shops in Brunel that would make me go there specially and I live in Swindon! M & S and Boots are at the Orbital and Sainsburys have 2 big stores and all have free parking. And the Outlet is far more attractive for most as are the prices out there compared to town centre.

We have developed the out of town centres to attract shoppers and now wonder why no one goes into town anymore, surely thats not a hard one to work out? As others said, £200k is a drop in the ocean in advertsing terms anyway.
I cant really think of any shops in Brunel that would make me go there specially and I live in Swindon! M & S and Boots are at the Orbital and Sainsburys have 2 big stores and all have free parking. And the Outlet is far more attractive for most as are the prices out there compared to town centre. We have developed the out of town centres to attract shoppers and now wonder why no one goes into town anymore, surely thats not a hard one to work out? As others said, £200k is a drop in the ocean in advertsing terms anyway. house on the hill
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Tue 8 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

I cant really think of any shops in Brunel that would make me go there specially and I live in Swindon! M & S and Boots are at the Orbital and Sainsburys have 2 big stores and all have free parking. And the Outlet is far more attractive for most as are the prices out there compared to town centre.

We have developed the out of town centres to attract shoppers and now wonder why no one goes into town anymore, surely thats not a hard one to work out? As others said, £200k is a drop in the ocean in advertsing terms anyway.
I cant really think of any shops in Brunel that would make me go there specially and I live in Swindon! M & S and Boots are at the Orbital and Sainsburys have 2 big stores and all have free parking. And the Outlet is far more attractive for most as are the prices out there compared to town centre. We have developed the out of town centres to attract shoppers and now wonder why no one goes into town anymore, surely thats not a hard one to work out? As others said, £200k is a drop in the ocean in advertsing terms anyway. house on the hill
  • Score: 0

2:11pm Tue 8 Jan 13

StillPav says...

The main reason people come to Swindon from outside the town is to visit the Outlet Village.
.
They could do a lot worse than offer a free shuttle bus from the Outlet to the town centre.
The main reason people come to Swindon from outside the town is to visit the Outlet Village. . They could do a lot worse than offer a free shuttle bus from the Outlet to the town centre. StillPav
  • Score: 0

2:13pm Tue 8 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

Totally agree.

Much prefer to use Tesco, Greenbridge (Boots, Currys, PC World, Argos), Outlet, John Lewis, Pets at Home, Amazon and all with free parking/postage.

The last time that I went into the town centre was to get a fry up in Boswells on a Sunday morning after a lie in.

Unless you want pound shops, Cex or Cashconverters it is more convenient and more pleasant to go elsewhere.
Totally agree. Much prefer to use Tesco, Greenbridge (Boots, Currys, PC World, Argos), Outlet, John Lewis, Pets at Home, Amazon and all with free parking/postage. The last time that I went into the town centre was to get a fry up in Boswells on a Sunday morning after a lie in. Unless you want pound shops, Cex or Cashconverters it is more convenient and more pleasant to go elsewhere. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

2:41pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Tim Newroman says...

StillPav wrote:
The main reason people come to Swindon from outside the town is to visit the Outlet Village.
.
They could do a lot worse than offer a free shuttle bus from the Outlet to the town centre.

They could do a lot worse than offer a free shuttle bus from the Outlet to the town centre.


I suspect that only those who live in the town centre would actually use it...
[quote][p][bold]StillPav[/bold] wrote: The main reason people come to Swindon from outside the town is to visit the Outlet Village. . They could do a lot worse than offer a free shuttle bus from the Outlet to the town centre.[/p][/quote][quote] They could do a lot worse than offer a free shuttle bus from the Outlet to the town centre. [/quote] [p] I suspect that only those who live in the town centre would actually use it... Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

9:43pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Still About says...

I suspect that only those who live in the town centre would actually use it...


What does Emma think ?
[quote] I suspect that only those who live in the town centre would actually use it... [/quote] What does Emma think ? Still About
  • Score: 0

10:06am Wed 9 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

Turn the Brunel Centre into a potential regional shopping destination first and then advertsise it.
Turn the Brunel Centre into a potential regional shopping destination first and then advertsise it. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

4:25pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Emma Faramarzi says...

As I said to the Adver, in isolation the Brunel alone will not make the Town Centre a regional shopping destination but in conjunction with the wider Town Centre stores like BHS, River Island, Top Shop etc and the old college site regeneration I think it has a good shot. Not to forget Union Square and with the snow dome just down the road I think Swindon Town Centre has huge potential and will soon start to see a recovery.

The investment from the Brunel is very welcome.

I would like to encourage the tented market landlords to put some investment in. That would make a great food hall.

Every little helps as they say.
As I said to the Adver, in isolation the Brunel alone will not make the Town Centre a regional shopping destination but in conjunction with the wider Town Centre stores like BHS, River Island, Top Shop etc and the old college site regeneration I think it has a good shot. Not to forget Union Square and with the snow dome just down the road I think Swindon Town Centre has huge potential and will soon start to see a recovery. The investment from the Brunel is very welcome. I would like to encourage the tented market landlords to put some investment in. That would make a great food hall. Every little helps as they say. Emma Faramarzi
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Tim Newroman says...

Emma Faramarzi says...
Not to forget Union Square


Why would anyone travel to Swindon to visit a car park, a small medical centre and some houses for people on benefits?

None of which will be built for another nine months in any case.
[quote][b]Emma Faramarzi says...[/b] Not to forget Union Square [/quote] [p] Why would anyone travel to Swindon to visit a car park, a small medical centre and some houses for people on benefits? [p] None of which will be built for another nine months in any case. Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

9:55pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Still About says...

Yes

Ask yourself that question
Yes Ask yourself that question Still About
  • Score: 0

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