Winnall Business Forum Step Closer?


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Winnall Business Forum Step Closer?

Around 30 representatives from the business community in Winnall have met for an exploratory meeting to see if they could work together for their own future.

Unlike previous meetings, this time there seemed to be a general consensus that now was the time to ‘get their act together’ and form a core committee to proceed further.

They heard from various representatives – including how a Business Improvement Districts scheme works in the south of the county at Segensworth, near Fareham. Guest speaker Martin O’Rourke explained how the scheme in Segensworth had been running successfully since 2015. He also explained that when the scheme renewed, there was an increase in those interested in working together – and that the vote had been secured with an increased majority.

But he also warned that there would also be apathy from companies who just didn’t want to be involved, and that any prospective Winnall group would have to expect this.

Eloise Appleby from Winchester City Council also explained some of the findings of a consultation process ‘The Winnall Planning Framework’ which involved research from consultants Parsons Brinkerhoff. This clearly identified a co-ordinated business group as one o many actions to help Winnall work more effectively as a business location.

Questions, questions, questions

Of the practical questions asked, the usual subjects arose again – including non-existent superfast broadband, poor parking facilities, poorly-designed road junctions and an apparent lack of communication. Others bemoaned the fact that at least four previous meetings had ended with yet another meeting and little progress. Another questioned why businesses had the foot the bill in the first place for things like CCTV, which might be covered in other circumstances by other authorities. Others brought up the subject of HGVs and drivers unfamiliar to the area who have gone on to cause immense damage when their lorries hit buildings and property.

However, City Council representatives promised to come up with at least some answers – including a realistic figure of how much money might be generated by such a scheme.

Prior to the meeting, Economy boss James Byrnes had urged local businesses to attend: “This event is just the start of the journey, setting out options for the future.”