So there has been a lot of chatter in and around Hale and on Social Media about the demise of Hale High Street. We have lived in Hale for 25 years and seen real changes not only in how Hale high street is coping but how the UK retail sector has been effected AND CHANGED SINCE 2008, Hale is in no doubt going to change and keep on changing but will it be for the better.
SoHale believe with the redevelopment of Altrincham and the opening of Altair sometime soon means many Hale residents will naturally spend more time and money in and around Altrincham high street. This does not spell the end of Hale in fact the opposite in our view this will make Hale shopkeepers focus on the future which we think is Hale Village becoming a entertainment and services high street and much less retail based.
We believe Café bars, Restaurants, Wine bars and Takeaways will be the main stay for entertaining local residents/visitors and a mix of Estate Agents, hair dressers and Solicitors always having a place in the village.
Independent businesses V Large Chain Stores in Hale.
We have seen many comments on several Social Media feeds “we want more small Mom and Pop businesses in Hale and less chain stores” this would help save Hale high street. People say the big chains are killing Hale Village and we should keep them out. Sohale are not convinced of this argument as all shops play a role on Hale high street from large banks, supermarkets and restaurant chains all providing good reasons for residents to visit Hale and once on the high street visit those local artisan independent shops and spend their money.
M&S is just one of the chains which keep being mentioned, shop keepers say some of them have seen upto 50% fall in business since the new store opened (never seen any hard evidence) and blame the closure of some local businesses on M&S.
But what they fail to see is in the long run M&S have chosen to invest into Hale because? Well we think because Hale has a thriving Village Community with many successful residents who love to shop local and have a good disposable income.
Sohale believe since M&S opened Hale has seen an increased footfall not a drop in visitors. Hale residents who would have shopped at M&S Altrincham now have a choice to spend their time and money in Hale Village increasing the chance they will spend more with local shop keepers which include independents.
Parking will it kill Hale High Street?
So have the increased charges on Hale Car Parks made things worse for Hale shop keepers, if you listen to the shop keepers it is an overwhelming YES. But again we are not so sure? At the council meeting to vote for Free after 3 parking across all Trafford car parks the council comfirmed year on year short stay parking in Hale had increased? Not by a huge amount but still INCREASED.
Why has this happened? Well we believe because long stay parking has decreased due to the increased price this has enabled more customers to get parking spots on a regular basis. But who was parking all day? Many were shop workers who no longer pay to park for the day as it has become too expensive.
Hale is not totally reliant on paid parking it has Free street parking throughout the Village (short stay) which seems to be working well as far as we can see. Sohale support Trafford Council and their decision to give Free after 3 for the Christmas period and see this as a step in the right direction and hope a line of communication will be left open to discuss the matter further in the New Year.
Altrincham V Hale on Investment
Sohale has seen tweets saying Trafford Council do not care about Hale and they are spending far too much on Altrincham? Again not sure we argee and feel this is a very narrow minded view from a small group of shop keepers, why would Trafford Council not be spending more money on the redevelopment of Altrincham when it is the main retail area which serves Altrincham, Timperley and Hale and been in need of a new investment for years. The improvements made to Altrincham will only have a positive effect on Hale and the surrounding area as new customers come back to spend their hard earned cash.
What we must not overlook is investment is only part of the success of Altrincham so far, we also have to take into account the HARD work from residents and shop keepers working together to find ways to improve the shopping expierence for local people. We also believe more people talk positive about Altrincham because they see changes happening and we believe when the investment slows it will be the shop keepers and residents keeping Altrincham moving forward. Well done all who have been involved in the new look Altrincham long may it last.
Can Hale shopkeepers learn? maybe working together and keeping social media positive working with Trafford Council on improvements and looking for new ways to bring new customers into Hale Village including getting behind a market for the village or other events which may increase footfall. This is a big ask but I think it is time for Hale to step up and work to move forward to a brighter future. We would not go wrong by using the format Altrincham use to improve our hight street as we know it works.
Whats the Future for Hale?
Hale will always have a bright future and will always be successful in its own right whatever happens on our high street, what we need to see is Hale shop keepers and business associations working together and working harder to make Hale special. To much moaning from Hale and not enough planning is a large part of why people think Hale is losing out. Change the way we look at ourselves and promote Hale in a positive light stop talking Hale down.
Sitting back and complaining that the Trafford don’t like Hale will do nothing to help. Should we be working with Trafford Council and providing a wish list of changes we would love to see happen? Surly a village working together and showing a united front is better than pulling apart and at every corner moaning about the future.