Study figure 4 – what evidence is there to suggest Wem needs re-branding? Using figure 4, it is very apparent to me that Wem needs re-branding. The statement “the town hall is vacant” means that important council meetings can be held so no changes can be decided on. The fact that it is vacant shows a lack of interest in the community, which makes it not a very desirable place to live. The next statement from a local businessperson “Too many shops are shut-it’s like a dying place”, is an example of de-population as there aren’t enough people in the area to spend money locally. This creates a lack of jobs which eventually leads to deprivation. People have a low income and usually poor health and housing conditions, so the younger, more qualified people move to where there are jobs (brain drain).
Another indicator from figure 4 that suggests Wem needs re-branding is the fact that North Shropshire District Council are asking how they can better market Wem’s market town image. This implies that it has a bad image – or they would not need to better it. Places only usually have a bad image when they show signs of deindustrialisation, depopulation, dereliction or deprivation and therefore need re-branding. Also, elderly resident states how the swimming pool was nearly closed in 2004 and that it is only open ‘on a shoestring’. The fact that it nearly closed and is still in danger of doing so is a sign of deprivation and shows that the town lacks stability. If it did close there would be an even larger lack of jobs and it would reduce Wem’s sphere of influence. A mother of two shows that Wem has a low sphere of influence already.
She says “I prefer to shop in Shrewsbury which is only 6 miles away”. It also shows that Wem lacks chain stores, which drives people away from the town centre meaning less money spent there causing shops to close like previously mentioned. Even people that say positive things about Wem still suggests indirectly that it needs re-branding. “It’s a wonderful place to retire to”, creates an ageing population which puts pressure on services such as health care and creates a need for more care workers. Elderly people have a low income and are not able to spend much in shops, therefore less money is put back into Wem’s economy.
This is called Grey Pounds. It also creates a de-multiplier effect. “Good High School here-100% A-Level passes” is also a negative thing because it means a lot of people with good qualifications have to move away to get jobs – the brain drain. This creates de-population and also an even larger ageing population. The last statement from a business commuter talks about reasonable house prices. They are reasonable because Wem is in a spiral of decline and shows signs of depreciation so very few people want to move there, meaning owners have to lower house prices.
Courtney from Study Moose
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