In an open letter, the St Margarets’ Traders Association responds to Councillor Simon Lamb’s letter on the Online Community’s forum Vox Pop and the dismissal of the Town Centre Managers.

What follows is the letter in its entirety:

Councillor Lamb it is wrong of you to suggest that St Margarets’ does not benefit from the town centre managers. Your statement is made without thought or consultation from local businesses, just like your decision to sack the town centre managers. If you spent time in St Margaret’s and talked to the business owners that you are supposed to represent you would be aware of the level of support that St Margarets’ receives from the likes of Esther Worboys and Karen Pengelly.

Over the past few years Esther and Karen have brought together representatives from business associations borough-wide. They have set up meetings a created a forum for smaller associations, like St Margarets’, to benefit from their knowledge and make use of their expertise.

Although St Margarets’ does not have a paid TCM we have been able to call upon Karen and Esther for their professional help. Our recent community event, attended by around a thousand residents and visitors on 17th September, was a huge success thanks to the support and help from the TCMs. This event could have been spoiled had it not been for the calm intervention of Karen Pengelly in her capacity as town centre manager. During the set up period of the event a water board contractor arrived with written authority from the council to start digging up the road, their generator sited just yards from the stage and the band. I contacted one of the St Margarets’ councillors who in turn endeavoured to contact council officers to rectify the situation. As it was a Saturday the council offices were closed and help was unavailable. I contacted Karen for advice. Karen arrived on the scene within minutes; she negotiated with the contractors as a representative of the council and satisfied the contractors that they would be unable to carry out their non-emergency works on that day. The event was also helped by the promotion and support given by the TCMs. Thanks to Esther the insurance costs were renegotiated, Esther also supported the craft fair by providing the organiser with an invaluable best practices guide. These are just a few examples of how the TCMs have supported St Margarets’.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for further examples of how the TCM’s help and support St Margarets’. If we lost the services of the TCM’s it would be difficult for us to continue our community involvement on the current scale.

Simon Chapman St Margarets’ Traders Association 10 November 2005