St Clement’s traders fear bleak Christmas trade

TRADERS in St Clement’s say they are facing a bleak Christmas, with a 70-space car park and free bus service being ignored by shoppers.

The temporary car park in Marston Road was created to ease the plight of businesses hit by building work on the busy St Clement’s car park, where student accommodation is being built.

But traders say the deserted car park has confirmed their worst fears, with businesses seeing customer numbers drop by up to a third.

Traders say shoppers are either still unaware of the temporary car park because of lack of signs, or simply staying away because it is too inconvenient.

The car park opposite the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies was proposed by developers, after traders claimed they could be forced out of business through the loss of parking spaces at the St Clement’s car park.

Cafe Coco said it would only be opening from Thursday to Sundays, with the loss of five jobs, because of the fall off in trade. Owner Clinton Pugh estimated the drop in custom had cost the cafe £40,000.

Only five vehicles were parked in the Marston Road car park at 1pm on Tuesday, with three there at 4pm, despite the offer of free parking for up two hours, with free bus journeys for shoppers to St Clement’s.

City council spokesman Christopher Lee said the temporary car park had been set up after local consultation.

Comments (10)

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9:29am Fri 6 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

It's a shame the traders didn't work together to open up the lage private car park at the rear of Cafe Coco to customers. There are around 21 spaces in there.

It can be seen at this link...

http://goo.gl/maps/y
4UNx

Also, if Dawson Street was re-opened to through traffic and laid out with bays and Pay & Display meters - that would have been a further 20 spaces.

Union Street Car Park is but 450 metres from Cafe Coco too. Personally, I'd always choose Union Street over St Clements to park due to the strange double-road entrance to St Clements.

Perhaps if a budget hotel were to open on the Cowley Road the residents would eat out in the local area too.
It's a shame the traders didn't work together to open up the lage private car park at the rear of Cafe Coco to customers. There are around 21 spaces in there. It can be seen at this link... http://goo.gl/maps/y 4UNx Also, if Dawson Street was re-opened to through traffic and laid out with bays and Pay & Display meters - that would have been a further 20 spaces. Union Street Car Park is but 450 metres from Cafe Coco too. Personally, I'd always choose Union Street over St Clements to park due to the strange double-road entrance to St Clements. Perhaps if a budget hotel were to open on the Cowley Road the residents would eat out in the local area too. Andrew:Oxford

12:20pm Fri 6 Dec 13

King Joke says...

Any business with any acumen would just advertise some special offers on some of the several hundred buses which pass within 100 m of Coco's every day, for the duration of the closure. BOGOF on pizza? Free drink with a main course? Affinity deal for Key Card holders? It isn't that difficult.
Any business with any acumen would just advertise some special offers on some of the several hundred buses which pass within 100 m of Coco's every day, for the duration of the closure. BOGOF on pizza? Free drink with a main course? Affinity deal for Key Card holders? It isn't that difficult. King Joke

4:17pm Fri 6 Dec 13

icba1957 says...

King Joke wrote:
Any business with any acumen would just advertise some special offers on some of the several hundred buses which pass within 100 m of Coco's every day, for the duration of the closure. BOGOF on pizza? Free drink with a main course? Affinity deal for Key Card holders? It isn't that difficult.
Unfortunately it IS too difficult for some, who prefer the option of blaming someone else for their own lack of initiative.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: Any business with any acumen would just advertise some special offers on some of the several hundred buses which pass within 100 m of Coco's every day, for the duration of the closure. BOGOF on pizza? Free drink with a main course? Affinity deal for Key Card holders? It isn't that difficult.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately it IS too difficult for some, who prefer the option of blaming someone else for their own lack of initiative. icba1957

4:45pm Fri 6 Dec 13

King Joke says...

Too right ICBA. I'm surprised at Clint Pugh, he's normally great at ideas for expanding his business on his own inititiave and not blamestorming.

Andrew makes a good point in a roundabout way. Clint Pugh campaigned to have Dawson St closed so he could put tables and chairs outside Coco's. If he was so in favour of parking he'd want people parking there. Maybe he's in favour as long as the traffic is queuing outside somebody else's frontage?

Either way he's got to pull his finger out and accept that, if the market changes, you jolly well move with the market or go under. Clearly there is less parking in the area now, so just market at a different demographic.
Too right ICBA. I'm surprised at Clint Pugh, he's normally great at ideas for expanding his business on his own inititiave and not blamestorming. Andrew makes a good point in a roundabout way. Clint Pugh campaigned to have Dawson St closed so he could put tables and chairs outside Coco's. If he was so in favour of parking he'd want people parking there. Maybe he's in favour as long as the traffic is queuing outside somebody else's frontage? Either way he's got to pull his finger out and accept that, if the market changes, you jolly well move with the market or go under. Clearly there is less parking in the area now, so just market at a different demographic. King Joke

8:34am Sat 7 Dec 13

shard says...

Who drives somewhere just for a cafe?

Are cowley road cafés suffering too, or are there people that can be tempted away with some strategic signage?
Who drives somewhere just for a cafe? Are cowley road cafés suffering too, or are there people that can be tempted away with some strategic signage? shard

5:36pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Kate Pollard says...

Does anyone know which students are to be accommodated in the building to be put up on this car park?
Just curious to know if any of the colleges have their eye on this....or is it speculative?

It's easy to knock small businesses but in this day and age car parking nearby is essential for a good flow of business. Local authorities need to pay attention to the provision of car parking to avoid the loss of individual, interesting shops and cafes. The whole point of such businesses is that they offer good service and individuality - not BWGOF.....go to a supermarket for that.
Does anyone know which students are to be accommodated in the building to be put up on this car park? Just curious to know if any of the colleges have their eye on this....or is it speculative? It's easy to knock small businesses but in this day and age car parking nearby is essential for a good flow of business. Local authorities need to pay attention to the provision of car parking to avoid the loss of individual, interesting shops and cafes. The whole point of such businesses is that they offer good service and individuality - not BWGOF.....go to a supermarket for that. Kate Pollard

8:23am Mon 9 Dec 13

King Joke says...

Nobody's knocking small businesses, and the assumption that 'a good flow of business' depends on parking needs challenging. People using cars to get around on short journeys to local businesses is a habit that is dying out 'in this day and age' owing to high fuel costs, environmental awareness and so on, and was never that prevalent in East Oxford anyway. You'd suspect that the great majority of people eating and drinking at Coco's, the Kazbah, Cafe Tarifa etc didn't drive there. By continuing to focus on a small minority of travellers, local authorities risk distorting priorities when they should be making it easier for the majority who cycle, walk or get the bus to these businesses.
Nobody's knocking small businesses, and the assumption that 'a good flow of business' depends on parking needs challenging. People using cars to get around on short journeys to local businesses is a habit that is dying out 'in this day and age' owing to high fuel costs, environmental awareness and so on, and was never that prevalent in East Oxford anyway. You'd suspect that the great majority of people eating and drinking at Coco's, the Kazbah, Cafe Tarifa etc didn't drive there. By continuing to focus on a small minority of travellers, local authorities risk distorting priorities when they should be making it easier for the majority who cycle, walk or get the bus to these businesses. King Joke

7:43pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Kate Pollard says...

King Joke assumes that we all live in towns and can walk or bus to small businesses. The rents charged for town centre properties are prohibitive to smal businesses so many are on the edges. As a customer of several shops and cafes in St. Clements I need to be able to park nearby to buy items and then have a lovely cup of coffee before I drive back to my home. I can't be alone in having to think twice about a pleasant short trip when there is no longer a car park.
I'd still be interested to know why it has been decided to build student accommodation on this site, it's such a small space for a building. Are there different planning regulations for student accommodation? Would be interesting to hear from a planning expert.
King Joke assumes that we all live in towns and can walk or bus to small businesses. The rents charged for town centre properties are prohibitive to smal businesses so many are on the edges. As a customer of several shops and cafes in St. Clements I need to be able to park nearby to buy items and then have a lovely cup of coffee before I drive back to my home. I can't be alone in having to think twice about a pleasant short trip when there is no longer a car park. I'd still be interested to know why it has been decided to build student accommodation on this site, it's such a small space for a building. Are there different planning regulations for student accommodation? Would be interesting to hear from a planning expert. Kate Pollard

11:58pm Mon 9 Dec 13

clintonpugh says...

King Joke, I assume you are a Labour Councillor. Whoever you are, it is clear that you take a great interest in our area. I would love to have a public debate with you but it would be rather more grown up if you shed your cloak of anonymity!
Clinton Pugh-
One of many traders sold down the river by Oxford Labour Councillors.
Do contact me at Cafe Coco for public debate.
King Joke, I assume you are a Labour Councillor. Whoever you are, it is clear that you take a great interest in our area. I would love to have a public debate with you but it would be rather more grown up if you shed your cloak of anonymity! Clinton Pugh- One of many traders sold down the river by Oxford Labour Councillors. Do contact me at Cafe Coco for public debate. clintonpugh

4:26pm Fri 13 Dec 13

King Joke says...

Kate, we built the Park & Ride for people who live outside of towns, and disabled parking bays for those who need to park nearby.

Clinton - I can't come out, so to speak, on these pages. I am definitely not a Labour councillor though, nor an elected representative from any party, and I don't work for either of the councils. I don't want single you out of course, the call has come from 'traders' plural. So collectively what is the strategy, now that the market has moved, to target passing trade from people walking and cycling past, and on the bus? It does seem a little insulting that our trade is not valued given the time and energy being devoted to keeping the car park which we don't use. THe new block will be an opportunity too - how will the residents here be turned from prospects into customers?
Kate, we built the Park & Ride for people who live outside of towns, and disabled parking bays for those who need to park nearby. Clinton - I can't come out, so to speak, on these pages. I am definitely not a Labour councillor though, nor an elected representative from any party, and I don't work for either of the councils. I don't want single you out of course, the call has come from 'traders' plural. So collectively what is the strategy, now that the market has moved, to target passing trade from people walking and cycling past, and on the bus? It does seem a little insulting that our trade is not valued given the time and energy being devoted to keeping the car park which we don't use. THe new block will be an opportunity too - how will the residents here be turned from prospects into customers? King Joke

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