A SERIES of ideas to help regenerate Buckley town centre are to be considered by council chiefs.

Members of Buckley Town Council gathered for a special meeting with representatives of Flintshire Council on Wednesday evening.

The meeting had been called in order for the town council to put forward suggestions to help boost trade and footfall in the town centre, as well as exploring what funding could be available for the scheme.

In attendance were Flintshire Council cabinet member for economic development, Cllr Derek Butler, the authority's enterprise and regeneration manager Niall Waller and planning strategy manager Andrew Roberts, as well as owners of town centre businesses.

Following a brief introduction from each of the guests, Buckley Mayor Cllr Arnold Woolley opened the floor to councillors for suggestions.

Cllr carol Ellis said: "As a town council we did offer to pay for free parking, but it was declined.

"Traders I have spoken to think the quickest impact would be to have an element of free parking.

"It would bring some instant relief for businesses."

Former mayor Cllr David Ellis agreed, explaining: "There's an element of free parking all the way down Flint High Street and their shops are all open.

"That speaks volumes."

Cllr Dennis Hutchinson told the meeting the town did need the help of the county council and that he would like to see an emphasis placed on the search for a new owner of the former Factory Shop in Brunswick Road.

He said: "It would be a tremendous acquisition for the town. It closed in October and it does need some work doing to it, but once it is done that is a damn good sized shop."

Cllr Hutchinson also called for action to be taken regarding the town's old baths, which are located next to the town council office in Mold Road.

He added: "I am sure there is a future there - it is an iconic building in the centre of the town. Something needs to be done with it."

A large scale meeting with potential investors for development opportunities in the town was suggested by Cllr Vivienne Blondek.

Cllr Mike Peers asked whether it was time for the town's masterplan to be reviewed and brought up to date.

A range of suggestions were made by Cllr Carolyn Preece, including the opening of a new bank in the town with the backing of the county council, further exploration of pop-up shops, the town council's website becoming a "one-stop-shop" for town information and turning the former Factory Shop into smaller units for start-up businesses.

Among many other ideas, the de-pedestrianisation of the town centre was also raised - with councillors calling for a design in order to see what the final development could look like.

Members agreed that the Flintshire Council representatives should be given the opportunity to go back and explore the suggestions before giving definitive answers, but suggested a future meeting in September to discuss progress.

Niall Waller said he would request for a design to be drawn up regarding the de-pedestrianisation ideas and said he would endeavour to find out what the owners of the former Factory Shop plan to do with the site.

He also offered help to the town council and businesses in the way of social media training in order to market Buckley online more effectively.

Mr Waller emphasised however that the council's regeneration team has been significantly reduced over recent years and that regarding funding streams for regeneration from the Welsh Government have tended to be prioritised in areas such as Wrexham, Rhyl, Bangor and Colwyn Bay.

He assured those present that the county council was listening to the proposals and that there was a will to work together.

Andrew Roberts said one of his responsibilities is the county's local development plan and his team had been looking into ways to attract more investment into the area.

Mr Roberts said he felt one of the town's key developments was its precinct, stating he sees"a lot" of planning opportunities to improve the offering in the town centre.

He also told councillors that the town's Aldi store - which opened just three years ago - has become the third highest income generator of any supermarket in the county, behind Asda in Queensferry and Tesco in Mold.

He added: "It shows you what a significant investment can do."

Cllr Butler said: "The flavour of the meeting has been very constructive tonight.

"Buckley is relatively unique within Flintshire, but it needs to take that and market itself - people need to use the town."

He also encouraged councillors to speak to Cadwyn Clwyd about funding for projects such as the potential redevelopment of the old baths.