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New Travel Lodge is Here and it's Open for Business!

Friday 17 August 2012, 11:44
By John Smith

Earlier today I had to visit a supplier on the Trading Estate so I thought I would pop over to the new development where we would be welcoming Travelodge, The new Marston Wagtail Pub Restaurant, and good old Kentucky Fried Chicken. Like everyone else I have watched them gradually rise from the earth to the point where all the signs are up, boldly decreeing that they are nearly ready for business.

Wincanton's new Travel Lodge

Whilst there I took a couple of photos and decided to try and have a chat with the managers to get the full picture on opening dates. To my surprise I found that Travelodge has already opened (TODAY 16th August). I spoke with the manager, Jason Mills, who was clearly happy to be trading here in Wincanton. Travelodge bring another 57 beds to the hospitality of Wincanton, and he was able to tell me that for tonight (first night) they have already had 14 reservations and 18 for tomorrow.

A visit to the Wagtail and a chat with the site manager revealed that the pub is handed over to Marston tomorrow and the manager will probably start interviewing for jobs next week. I wasn't able to get into KFC, but I suspect that they won't be far behind. It seems that they are all more or less down to the niceties, landscaping etc.

Wincanton's new bar/restaurant, The Wagtail

So what does this mean for Wincanton, and in particular, existing Wincanton traders? Well a first reaction could justifiably be that this will damage business in the Town Centre. There may be real truth in that. We will now have another pub in Wincanton to add to the existing list, and I think that in current economic times that doesn't help. A new KFC also brings more competition to our local takeaway businesses too.

However, whilst I accept that this is a clear danger for town centre traders I also believe that these new businesses also bring some positive benefits to Wincanton. For a start they bring something to Wincanton that has been missing for thirty-plus years. All three are nationally recognised names, and all three will pull drivers and passengers off the A303. For the first time since Jane and I moved to Wincanton, over thirty years ago, we now have excellent and genuine travel services to attract people to stop in Wincanton.

Some of those people will be travelling from London to The South West for a myriad of reason, and as they approach Wincanton they will see an amazing new big (can't miss it) sign that tells them that Wincanton is a great place to visit, and it should also show that we have full services including fuel and food. I'm sure that our councils (Town, District and County) have already put this in hand (somebody please confirm to me!). It would be hugely embarrassing if they haven't. Wincanton Businesses Together is more than happy to support such measures.

Wincanton's new KFC

Weary travellers will be overjoyed to see that they can stop and have a KFC if they are kiddie-heavy, or a relaxing Wagtail meal. If we are able to have brochures produced (somebody?) and displayed to show what else happens in Wincanton we will obviously see parents and kiddies walking round town and enjoying the specialist shopping that we have to offer. Some of them may even decide to have their meal in town at one of our excellent pus and cafes.

For the lonely sales rep they will book in at the Travelodge and make a major decision. Do they park and watch TV or do they wander into town and try our excellent pubs and services?

On balance having these three businesses in town will bring both challenges and benefits. It's all up to our local businesses and how they deal with this. We either slip into moan-and-groan mode or we plan to take advantage of the extra footfall that these businesses can bring us.


Victor Meldrew
Posts: 1
Re: New Travel Lodge is Here and it's Open for Business!
Reply #1 on : Fri August 17, 2012, 15:18:17
Great, but I understand that when the planning app was put to the Council it was objected to, especially by the Traders! Personally I am glad it is here as it should be an asset to the area. Funny though, several years ago I recommended the site to Travelodge (they were offering a £10k bonus)but they were only interested in Yeovil. I did write when the application for here was approved but recieved no reply. But good luck to them here. All i can hope is that the businesses here wil take full advantage of the situation.
Posts: 1
Asset to Town
Reply #2 on : Sat September 01, 2012, 07:55:24
What an asset to Wincanton, three new developments,food,beer,beds and takeaway.These should be seen by existing traders as a shot in the arm for the town,something new and fresh for the residents.I for one will support all of them over the next few weeks when they are fully open.As a consumer in the town it can only help raise offerings and help with healthy competition.Looking forward to my first pint of Pedigree and a KFC bucket.I have some family coming next year from New Zealand so they could now stay in the Travelodge.

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