When I think about our town centre, I can’t stop thinking about the Beehive, the analogy is perfect, don’t you think? People coming in buzzing around, shopping, meeting, browsing, and then going out again until next time.
At the last census done in Jersey in 2011, 33,522 people lived in St Helier, 1/3 of the Jersey population, which is quite a number… A town Centre has to offer diversity and a distinctive environment with an identity, a magnet that attracts people to work, visit and live. To enable this to happen, we need someone to co-ordinate, to proactively and energetically initiate ideas and to focus retailers and government to work together to make the town a vibrant, desirable and competitive place. It is a key roles at the heart of our community; Mary Portas says: “I’ve always summed it up in three words: service, specialism and connectivity – to their local communities – and if they work with each other to create high streets we want to visit, they’ll be stronger.” Read The Portas Review here.
Richard MacKenzie, our St Helier Town Manager is retiring next week and it has been a great pleasure for me to have met him. He will be missed by all parties; Richard knew each individual retailer in St Helier, he walked the walk and talked the talk. He understood their challenges and was working closely with the Parish of St Helier and EDD to help with the communication and the creation of new initiative.
Should St Helier take part of The Great British High Street Awards?? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be seen as “the place” to be, we already have the best beaches, the most sunshine, couldn’t we have the Best Town Centre??
I am very passionate about this and I hope that Richard will be replaced by someone who will be passionate, a new “Queen” or “King” who will drive the “worker bees” towards the highest mission of the Hive and will make St Helier this vibrant and exciting place to live, to visit, to shop and to be proud of.
I will be having Breakfast with Richard tomorrow morning at Cocorico (in Broad Street), so if you would like to say a final farewell to him, please join us anytime between 8am-10am.