Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.
Dear Editor, – Lanark Business Group are to be congratulated for their initiative in persuading people to shop in local shops.
I don’t know how they gauged its success, but as someone who came into town on Saturday and supported local individual shops, I was disappointed not to notice too much difference in High Street in terms of shoppers.
However, as someone with a background in both retailing and marketing/PR, and in a traditional market town, perhaps you will permit me to offer the business group some constructive advice.
They have sold their Shop Local campaign as helping struggling local shops, a laudable aim, but they shot themselves in the foot somewhat by having their celebrity guest arrive in a new Bentley, complete with personalised plate which must have cost something approaching the cost of the car.
In itself that would be acceptable by the public, but not when, on their own website, they reveal the car is owned by one of the local shopkeepers the public are being urged to support.
Few, if any, shoppers will be able to afford a Bentley so the first rule of PR is not to alienate your customers.
I was disappointed in the market, expecting, like others there at the same time, a market akin to the town’s highly successful annual Christmas market.
It wasn’t, but could easily have been a proper market, and a great attraction. What happened there? You manage it at Christmas Lanark, so why not now?
And if, as all the publicity stated, the idea was to support private firms and not big chains, then why were the stall holders all drinking coffee/eating sandwiches all, as the blue branding made obvious, bought from a well known High Street chain of bakers? That also did not help the PR cause.
In my former town we too faced severe pressure from edge of town supermarkets, changing shopping trends, economic pressures, individual shops closing and being replaced by “£” shops, charities, hairdressers etc.
The traders group there fought back, successfully, with a range of initiatives from making the town centre more attractive, and actively promoting, advertising and marketing it across the county to special events such as markets, fairs etc. all aimed at attracting people from surrounding towns and villages.
You have to give the public a reason to visit your town. Simply saying come and see our shops is, I’m afraid, not enough. Lanark has too few individual shops and too many ‘cheap’ shops and hairdressers etc.
Therefore, you have to provide “added value” – more events like the Christmas market where you attract thousands from across the region. Once there, and a captive market, it is up to the retailers to attract them into their shops.
When we first moved back to Clydesdale, Lanark staged a great Easter market, attracting thousands and one which I thought was being repeated this year. Whatever the reason for its cancellation, it is more events like this you need.
The Royal Burgh of Lanark is a very historic town so why don’t we have big visitor events linking into that heritage? Towns across England, and Europe, successfully market themselves with mediaeval fairs, Victorian markets, specialist music festivals etc. Surely Lanark can do likewise?
Lanark can be a lively bustling town again, just as it was in my childhood, but to be successful you have to think big, be brave, think out of the box, do not be parochial and cast your net wider than just Lanark. The local residents alone will not keep the town going, you need to pull in visitors from elsewhere.
I also note the business group has been spending time on Owenstown. I think that is diverting energy away from the real immediate problems. Even if it goes ahead, this new town is at least 10 years away.
Of far more importance should be trying to make the local shopping centre strong now – ready to fight off the pressures from the Hamilton BID project with, I understand, revitalisation of that town centre starting from next year.
Never mind worrying about a town that has still to be built – worry about the shoppers who will be wooed 15 miles down the road to Hamilton. – Yours etc.,
Dear Ed, – On Friday, April 19, yet again the proposed quarry extension and New Lanark village featured prominently in the national press.
For eight years New Lanark has been without a clear landscape management policy. Now one has been published but strangely with no mention of the proposed quarry.
Once again Historic Scotland, the government’s heritage agency, would seem to have failed to meet its responsibilities with regard to our World Heritage site – a site described by UNESCO as a “small 18th. century village set in a sublime Scottish LANDSCAPE”.
If this act of vandalism goes ahead it will also destroy Boathaugh, the birthplace of the 17th Century Lanark poet and explorer, William ‘Lugless’ Lithgow – described as “Scotland’s first citizen of the world”. – Yours etc.,
Restless leg help
Dear Ed, – Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder which affects hundreds of thousands of people of all ages across the UK.
It is usually described by those living with the condition as an irresistible and involuntary need to move the legs, although other body parts can also be affected.
RLS is most often seen in women over the age of forty and can become progressively worse if left untreated.
The sensations associated with RLS typically begin or intensify when a person is in a relaxed state, for example when in a theatre, travelling in a car or trying to sleep.
It can lead to long sleepless nights and can therefore have a devastating effect on a person’s employment, family, social life and mental health.
Many medical practitioners are unfamiliar with the condition and those living with RLS are therefore often left in despair, feeling that they have nowhere to turn.
However RLS-UK, a small charity, is here to help.
We are raising awareness of RLS and helping those living with it. Our website www.rls-uk.org has more information. – Yours etc.,