Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Brian Coleman calls Barnet traders lazy and boasts of his own uselessness !

Sometimes I cannot believe what I read. The following is taken from the report pack for the next Council meeting.
Question 60 Councillor Alison Moore
Some local businesses are citing the cashless parking service and huge parking charge increases as a major reason for a reduction in trade, and even for shops and businesses closing down - when will the Cabinet Member listen to local people and reverse the enormous and unfair parking charge increases that he imposed last year?
Answer by Councillor Brian Coleman
Since Christmas there have been an interesting set of announcements to the Stock Exchange from many retail companies and a number of chains have called in the receivers. What all trading announcements had in common was that Internet sales are booming.  Even Tescos have announced relatively poor trading and the vast majority of their supermarkets have free car parks. We need to manage these dramatic changes in the High Street , more flexibility on change of use, support for the nightime economy , more intelligent Planning decisions , the promotion of There are more empty shops in Whetstone where there are no parking controls than North Finchley where there are . The parking income figures prove the numbers visiting our High Streets and elsewhere are buoyant. Quality retail businesses that are flexible will always survive those that are not will go to the wall.

The lazy cop out is to blame the Council
I could ask WTF Brian Coleman knows about running a business, given that he makes his living from a string of taxpayer financed non jobs. Let us consider what Coleman said in a bit more detail. Firstly Brian Coleman acknowledges that High Street retailers are struggling and that this may be related to the boom in on line trading. This shows a complete lack of understanding of what makes a successful High Street. Firstly Brian Coleman implies that the only businesses on the High Street are retailers. In North Finchley the person leading the campaign against High Street parking charges is Helen Michaels. She runs a Cafe. The leader of the Council, Richard Cornelius acknowledged that restaurants are keeping many Barnet High Streets alive. Coleman clearly has no understanding that someone like Helen makes her living from passing trade, people buying a cup of tea and a sandwich. Don't such businesses matter. Then Coleman talks about the figures from Tesco's. Again Coleman shows a complete ignorance of that retailers business. Coleman states that the majority of their sites have car parks. In actual fact, the majority of Tescos outlets are small Tescos Express type outlets. These do not have parking facilities and are located on the High Street. Tescos have spent a fortune building this chain up and are as a result now far more vulnerable to the vampiric parking policies of the likes of Brian Coleman.

When Coleman talks about what needs to be done to re-energise the High Streets, he completely ignores the fact that the parking charges he's championed are the biggest single factor damaging businesses. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of his outburst is the bit where he trumpets his own incompetence and uselessness. He exclaims that Whetstone is a less successful town centre, with many boarded up shops, than North Finchley. Who is the councillor for Whetstone? None other than Brian Coleman. If you needed a more stark example of what happens when you have a completely useless councillor, you couldn't find a better example.

His claim that retailers blaming the Council is a "lazy cop out" is offensive. Last week I had a meeting with North Finchley traders. Did I get the impression I was talking to a bunch of lazy bastards? Not at all. In fact, nothing could have impressed me more than their attitude. Helen Michaels said "We are not looking for handouts, all we want is for our customers to not be penalised when they park". Brian Coleman exemplifies all that is bad in career politicians. He fails to listen to anyone. He spouts complete nonsense about subjects he knows nothing about and he makes offensive comments about anyone who has the audacity to argue with him. He is standing for the GLA in May, at the same time as the elections for Mayor of London. If he wins, he will get £50,000 a year for doing a part time job. I think he's shown that he is unfit for this role.

Coleman claims that "The parking figures prove our High Streets are buoyant". I suspect that when the GLA Election results are published, those figures will "prove that the People of Barnet think Brian Coleman is useless".


Mrs Angry said...

I met Helen at the meeting last night, & read the question & answer to her in the foyer as we waited to go in. She was incandescent with fury in the public gallery - Coleman is simply a loud mouthed fool and will get a massive kick up the arse in May, but we must not forget that his silent Tory colleagues are just as complicit in the damage they are causing traders. They sat there again last night, refusing to criticise the policy: they are abject cowards and they all deserve to lose their seats at the next local election. As a result of committing the fatal error of alienating thousands of Tory drivers and small business owners, many of them will lose their seats, and a bloody good thing too.

Jaybird said...

Tescos has a significant online business arm.

baarnett said...

The point is surely that, while there may be long-term trends, many shopkeepers are saying that trade has fallen off a cliff - and that Bwian is responsible.

Scotch Hopper said...

We adapted. Our principle business depended on Barnet High Street footfall. That declined with the recession. So, as a result of customer demand, we diversified into cake and sugarcraft products. Something of a niche business, a destination business where customers would come from far and wide - just like they do for the out of town supermarkets. And joy of joys, we have a council car park just round the back of us.

The graph tells a healthy storey - a steady rise in new business that was offsetting, and indeed reversing, the recession-led decline.

Gradually the meters on the streets disappeared. And then it happened in early November. Monday the 8th. Black Monday. All the parking machines were finally disabled in the car parks. Customers went away. We had retail consultants in that day, appointed as a result of Boris's Outer London Fund, to help with ideas to improve the High Street and boost trade. They were gobsmacked! There were tears and anger that day. Feelings of betrayal and bereavement. But anger was dominant, in us, the consultants and our customers. Tickets were being issued in a frenzied parasitic orgy. One lady got a ticket immediately after parking. She had crossed the road to look for another ‘working’ meter and was approached and offered assistance by a policeman. Whilst entering her details on her mobile phone with the policeman she was being ticketed with her children in the back of her car!!!

For us, vouchers are just pissing in the wind (please excuse me, but the phrase simply sums it up). Our customers, particularly for cake and sugarcraft, come from Potters Bar, Borehamwood, Enfield etc. Coming to Barnet isn’t about doing your duty and visiting granny for a weekly cup of tea and planning to get your vouchers online! Shopping is in impulsive thing and people who shop (as opposed to buying to meet very necessary needs) have emphatically stopped doing so in High Barnet and I assume North Finchley and the rest of the Borough.

We have a small market on Saturday and Wednesday. Once upon a time these were good trading days. In the last year or so there’s been little uplift from the market. Since November we have been noticeably DOWN on market days. Other traders have seen this too.

In short, we must not let Coleman and Cornelius carry on stating that the vouchers are an example of how he has listened to traders and bent over backwards, pulled a rabbit out of his hat, and hey presto, mop up all further dissent with the fantastic voucher scheme. It’s rubbish, it’s pants.

Morris Hickey said...

..... esta cojones!