The first round of public and stakeholder engagement was held in February and March 2021 to understand what residents, visitors, businesses and councillors would like to see for the future of the area.
Over 3,300 people responded to this survey, with 90% agreeing the town centre could be improved, 44% agreeing that the town centre is full of interesting places to eat and drink and 34% agreeing that the town centre had great arts and culture attractions.
The top suggestions on how to improve the town centre included more independent shops, independent cafes and restaurants, more cultural space and better open space to hold events and festivals.
More local and independent shops
More local and independent cafes and restaurants
More cultural space for arts, music, film and theatre
Better open public space to hold events and festivals
Better street furniture and planting on the high street
More green space
HemingwayDesign has used the feedback to shape a draft vision which aims to ensure the town centre is inclusive and diverse with people at its heart through five key principles.
A town centre that works for people in terms of 5Ps – place, purpose, prosperity, progressive and participatory.
Diverse; distinctive; multifunctional; cultural; designed for its
residents, workforce and visitors wellbeing; recognised as
the focal point of the town and has a distinct identity.
Entrepreneurial; economically vibrant; committed to building skills and life long learning; supportive of start ups, scale ups and a green economy.
Where you can test your ideas; where sustainable ideas can flourish;
where public led experimentation is welcomed and celebrated. A place that is stridently evolving.
Always puts sustainability, ethics, responsible businesses, social inclusion, health, wellbeing and PEOPLE first.
A place where its citizens have a real say and are always listened to. A town centre that has a wealth of activities and opportunities for all.