TO:  ALL WHITCHURCH TOWN COUNCIL MEMBERS

 

 

FROM: Tony Corbin – Town Project Officer HCC (for and on behalf of WA/TAPT)

 

30th November 2005

 

PROJECT REPORT

 

Dear Councillors,

 

The usual report is attached for your review and or comment.

 

The main focus in the past month has been the Christmas in Whitchurch initiative. We are conscious that this has been proceeding at a gallop in order to meet the deadlines. The project team is extremely grateful for the forbearance of and support from all members and in particular to the Mayor for agreeing to preside at the 3rd December ‘switch on’ ceremony (4pm) and the Best Window Display prize giving (Noon 17th December), Cllr. Barry Jackman (for Town Hall Lights) and Cllr. Penny Turner (for the ‘reindeer’!)

 

The Christmas in Whitchurch flyer (printed at no cost by John Buckley) has been distributed locally thanks to the support of WA members but in particular the Old Paper Shop who delivered the leaflet with the Sunday papers. Participating shops (21 of them) also have the flyers and all have agreed to display white Festive lights, display the ‘supporting Christmas in Whitchurch’ window sticker and will have copies of the three competition entry forms. Seventeen (17) Church, Community and Voluntary groups have also contributed their support. A great example of unifying effort in the Town, excellent publicity (Parish Magazine, the flyer, local papers editorial) and a good basis for progressing further work at a steadier pace next year on the Town centre Revitalisation Project. (BTW documentation includes disclaimer, Data Protection clauses etc)

 

Beyond that we have mostly good news but there is one not so good item to report:

 

·         Not so good News – still no breakthrough in terms of the HGV survey. I have now escalated the HGV ‘lack of report’ issue via my management within HCC.  Meantime, no tangible deliverable on the Town Entry Gateway signs yet, but Jamie Daly (BDBC) has advised that he is very close to gaining agreement on a design with Highways Mtc and will be in contact with WTC/WA very shortly.

·         Good News - Phil Cooper has done a sterling job in keeping www.thewhitchurchweb.org up to date with all the local news and in particular the latest news and events list for Christmas in Whitchurch. Even Sir George Young MP has set up a link to the site!

·         Good News – A meeting of the combined Tourism Project/Town Centre section (sub groups) has now taken place attended by Cllrs Irene and ken Clark. Proposals on how the group would like to proceed (Revised Heritage Guide and a new Town Guide) will be presented early next year to WA and on request WTC.  

·         Good news - The Heritage centre Project will get underway with a kick off meeting 14th December (11.00 am). Cllr. Alison Wall will attend as BDBC portfolio holder, WTC Councillors welcomed too. News on the outcomes in the next report to Councillors.

·         Good News – a copy of the new HCC Market Towns leaflet – that includes an item on Whitchurch is enclosed

·         Good News – Tony Corbin presented the work of the Whitchurch Association to the LSP Board 17th November as a working example of ‘community partnerships in action’. Well received – The Town Action Plan is now an LSP supported initiative.

·         Good News – a new three tier WA Communication model will be discussed at the next WA Committee Meeting 1st December. It aims to reduce the volume of communication and improve relevance. Three tiers (distribution lists will be introduced: WA Committee ONLY; all WA  ‘members’ and finally small interest group distribution lists that are Project sub group (or section) Specific. Meantime, after requests from TAPT,  I understand that the new WA committee will be looking at how they should communicate such as Committee meeting minutes.

 

The above and other changes to status are reflected in the body of the main report (overleaf) by italicised text.

 

That’s it except to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.

 

 

 

 


 

Initiative No. (Category)

Description

WTA Sub Group leader in bold

(= Co opted)

<= WTC Cllr>

Current Status

1 Economy

Tourism Projects to:

 

·         Encourage More Visitors to the Town

·         Bring More revenue to the Town

Susan Flawith

Phil Cooper

Harriet Titcomb

<Gill Nethercott>

(Derek Verran)

(Stephen Bryer)

Includes Town Guide, Heritage Leaflet and Circular Walks reprint/update all cross referenced to Whitchurch Web content. A sub group meeting to include WTC - representation, John Buckley, Harriet Titcomb, Keith Watts & Stewart Parrington is scheduled for 30th Nov.

2 Environment

Town Centre Project:

·         Improve appearance of Town Centre

·         Advise on and encourage building restoration

Harriet Titcomb

<Gill Nethercott>

Tony Corbin

Derek Verran

Keith Watts

HCC Country Towns Initiative (circa £40-50k) and B&DBC POPPI circa £20k (Pride of Place Partnership Initiative) potentially available for built environment enhancement/conservation related improvement projects. Main focus has been ‘Christmas in Whitchurch – 20+ retailers supporting initiative plus Church/Ctty Groups. Flyer issued 25th November. Mayor switches on lights 3rd Dec

3 Community

One Stop Shop:

·         Town Hall utilisation for Community group usage

·         Tourist Information point

 

(Cathy Burt)

Liz Dermody

Tony Corbin

19th Jan WTA meeting proposed Town Hall could be a meeting venue for proposed Community Support Officers and Wardens (e.g. with the public).

CB has reaffirmed that the Town Hall is available on request to local Community serving groups.

4 Economy

Town Business Support & Development:

 

·         Improve economic viability of the town

·         Support/funding for business start ups

·         Encourage collaborative activity

Tony Corbin

Stewart Parrington

(Ed Beckmann – BLWx)

(John Mitchell – Enterprise First)

(Drewett Neate – Comm’l Agency)

(Testbourne Bus Forum members)

 

Town Hall now being used (Tues) for BLWx 1 to 1 one-hour business advice clinics. Newbury Building Soc has shown an interest in participating in Business led community activities.

 

This project is being increasingly merged with 2 above. Agreement in principle to form a Local Retailers Trade Association with links to the Testbourne Business Club has been reached. Related to Christmas in Whitchurch, retailers are being encouraged to display/list their ‘gift offers’

 

 

 

 

5 & 6 now Merged Transport

Traffic Mgmt Projects

a)       Reduced HGV through traffic volumes

 

 

 

 

 

 

b)        

Town Gateway project and environmental calming scheme

Derek Verran

Tony Corbin

(Reg Kimpton)

Chris Setters

(Keith Pauw HCC)

(Cathy Burt)

(John Wall)

 

 

 

Greg Harris

Susan Flawith

<Gill Nethercott>

Chris Setters

< R Dykes>

<Cllr B. Jackman>

(John Wall)

Harriet Titcomb

Tony Corbin

(Jamie Daly B&DBC)

Presentation by an HCC Officer to members/public on 26th Sep provided limited detail or guidance for the Association and WTC. The officer has been chased for the report but to date no response (or final report).

 

The matter has been escalated by TC to HCC Senior Mgmt. Review progress  in December

Little visible progress in the past two months. JD (BDBC) has been liasing with HCC and has submitted a further modified design in the hope that HCC will accept for mtc etc. Currently WTA/WTC waiting outcome.

 

TC on behalf of WA sent a reminder/update request to JD 29th Nov. JD expects to be able to put forward a new proposal within the next few days

7 Community

Local History ‘Display area

·         Accessible display and Learning centre for local artefacts

TBC <Gill Nethercott>

Harriet Titcomb

Tony Corbin

<Cllr. A Wall>

History Soc TBC)

(B&DBC TBC)

Meeting held 11th Oct with HCC (Russell Cleaver- Heritage/recreation ) . Plan is to make an LHI bid.  A kick off meeting involving local stakeholders is scheduled for 14th Dec. (N.B. Cllr. Alison Wall plans to attend)

8 Community

IT/Internet Public access:

·         Individual Learning and Information Points

Janet Palmer

Phil Cooper

(Linda Cowley)

<Gill Nethercott>

Longer term initiative. Planning permission for new Library and Community Hall granted (May 05)

 

9 Community

Young People’s Facilities:

·         Youth Suite Refurbishment

·         Young people’s amenities

Acting Leader

Harriet Titcomb

Janet Palmer TBC

Susan Flawith TBC

<Alison Wall>

Liz Dermody

<P. Turner>

Derek Verran

Keith Watts

HT, SF & JP have all attended/supported meetings initiated by Cllr. Jackman related to the Whitchurch Youth Project including the ‘Chill to this’ initiative.

 

Still appears to be some dispute between Testbourne School and HCC Building Regs re extent of work needed to make the room compliant. However Testbourne do now plan to obtain quotes for the refurbishment work in order to secure the BDBC funds. 

Newbury Building Soc has shown a willingness to support youth initiatives.

 

10 Transport

Community Bus

(Cathy Burt)

Project Closed – Jan 05 – as apparently working satisfactorily.

11. Comms

Communications Project:

·         House Style for WTA materials

·         Web site inc open forum for feedback

·         Internal/external and stakeholder comms model

 

Phil Cooper

John Buckley

(Steve Hoffmann)

(? Cathy Burt)

Tony Corbin

Website launched – Community Magazine (quarterly) will potentially launch in Spring 06, but introductory flyer - the ‘Christmas in Whitchurch (CIW) feature – issued 25th Nov.

 

Local press already using the website to trawl for their ‘what’s on’ pages. Good coverage of CIW based on WA press releases

12.

Whitchurch Association Committee

Susan Flawith

Chair; Harriet Titcomb Co Chair;

Jean Watts (Sec)

The 11-strong committee has held its first meeting.  Initial focus is on terms of reference, communication and procedural matters.