Mixed response to Eisteddfod's trade boost

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

WREXHAM’S recent hosting of the National Eisteddfod might not have set tills jingling at town centre shops but it did raise the profile of the area across the nation.

That was the general view of members of Wrexham Chamber of Trade and Tourism at their meeting on Wednesday evening.

Vice-chairman Alex Jones admitted he had come under fire for doubting claims the big cultural festival would generate an extra £6-8 million in revenue for the borough.

But he said while the eisteddfod had been a “really good attraction” he could still not see extra business had been generated by it.

A number of representatives of smaller businesses in the town centre said they had seen a slight improvement in trade for the week of the festival.

A number also reported seeing extra customers coming into the centre from the Maes.

Businessman Bob Grey said: “The eisteddfod was seen on TV every day so a lot of people saw the ‘new’ Wrexham, with its new shops such as Eagles Meadow.

“In that way I think it did Wrexham a lot of good.”

Kevin Critchley, manager of the Eagles Meadow shopping centre, said: “Rather than seeing an increase in trade, we were thinking more than anything else of lots of people coming into Wrexham who perhaps had never been here before or at least not for a number of years.

“In the past few years a lot has happened here and the eisteddfod was the opportunity to let a wider audience know that Wrexham is no longer a small market town but the capital of North Wales.

“It’s not the place you used to fly past when you were driving along the A483 to somewhere else.”

He added: “One restaurant in Eagles Meadow was full with people speaking predominantly Welsh.

“All our leisure type outlets in the centre did quite well and I know that Debenham’s had a very good week.”

Alex Jones said: “I would like to see figures for the number of passengers who used the bus linking the Maes with the town centre.

“I still believe things were very mixed for the town centre.”

See full story in the Leader

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