29 July, 2014

Down town appeal

L'ambition de l'association Vitrines d'Angers "Casser l'image d'un centre ville inaccessible" converge avec celle du maire de dynamiser le commerce.

"It is necessary to break the image of downtown as an inaccessible place". The statement of Christophe Barbieux, the president of Vitrines d'Angers, a community of store keepers and craftsmen of Angers, points out - and reminds - one of the main explanations about the current difficulties for his members in that part of the city. A few years ago, it was said that the contruction of the tramway line had reduced the attractiveness of the centre. But once the works completed, the conditions remained complicated. Later, the retail traders claimed that the policy of the (former) city council, whose project of a pavement tax was a tense episode of its relationship with the store owners, made things difficult for them.

It seems now that, even if those conditions had have some consequencies, new sources of difficulties have been since identified : the settlement of commercial centres in and around Angers where car parks are free while they are charged in town. The new city council has recently made a first move through the first no charged hour for car owners in the municipal car parks (what infuriated the city council minority).

That became urgent. A few days ago, the president of the Angers commercial court made clear that the economic situation was very unfavourable for the Angers storekeepers. Christophe Béchu, the Angers mayor, has recently announced that new measures would be in the pipes in order to make the "centre ville" more attractive. They were mentioned in his platform : to develop the animations and to implement a home delivery service. Those would be a favourable field of involvement for the town councillors and the Vitrines d'Angers members. Downtown could be the frontside of the new city council policy.

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