The Chamber of Trade has been asked by the council for our ideas on how the council can support businesses in the post-Covid-19 recovery phase.
Following are some of the ideas in no particular order.
Safety & Security
Even before Covid-19, safety and security were recognised by the council as the top priority if we are to encourage people back into Dewsbury.
Many of the public facing departments of the council with responsibilities in this area have had to prioritise coronavirus related emergency work during the lockdown and the situation has deteriorated during this period.
A particular effort is now required by everyone concerned to recover the situation. Drug farms, drug dealing in plain sight, fly tipping and general litter all need attention
Focus on priority locations and routes, e.g. in and out of the bus and train stations, mark them as safe places and ensure that police/parking attendants/council staff/Street Angels/volunteers are present and visible at all times.
The council has very usefully decided to postpone reintroducing parking charges until September.
We would like them to rethink the use of Cliffe Street and turn it into a free, long term car park with no charges or penalties.
The Chamber made this proposal during the parking consultation in 2019 that Cliffe Street car park should be a designated Park & Ride destination with no or very low charges and no time limit.
Remove the fear of a penalty charge and make Dewsbury a place that people want to visit and linger. As long as people are penalised for staying in town we will continue to lose visitors and businesses from Dewsbury.
Encourage residents, businesses and the council to 'buy local'. Whether town centre retail, business to business or coucil we should be buying from each other whenever possible.
Buy Local Directory
Create some sort of local directory
Make Space for Cafes & Restaurants
Make space available on pavements and roads so that local businesses can function especially cafes and restaurants. Adjust legislation so that all cafes etc have as much space for outside tables with social distancing to accommodate as many customers as their normal internal seating.
And let us all pray for continued good weather.
Avoid conflicting queues
Social distancing queues outside shops might conflict with neighbouring shops. The council needs to mediate and be the honest broker in such situations to avoid businesses coming into conflict.
The Market Place is the largest open space available in the town centre. Fill it with social distanced tables and umbrellas and put regular entertainment in one of the gazebos. Start with market days and extend whenever possible.
Invite decent quality buskers.
Allow businesses from the surrounding area to serve customers in Market Place.
Support volunteer activities in Market Place
If equipment can be stored securely in the Arcade then allow volunteer groups to start activities in Market Place. e.g. outdoor chess, roller skating.
Reduction of red tape
A relaxation of planning regulations and faster decision making.