TO:  ALL WHITCHURCH TOWN COUNCIL MEMBERS

 

 

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

 

1st February 2006

 

PROJECT REPORT

 

Dear Councillors,

 

A slightly modified format of report (to meet a request from WA Committee) is attached for your review and or comment.

 

The updates in the main report are I believe self-explanatory. I would, however, like to expand upon a couple of items to ensure Members are aware of and can comment upon them. I would also like to emphasise that Members are always welcome to attend any of the WA’s Town Action Plan Section/sub group meetings:

 

Christmas in Whitchurch (CIW) initiative – Although this was achieved at something of a gallop (in keeping with Cllr. Turner’s pony!!) the unsolicited reactions from both local residents and retailers has been very positive. The lights switch on ceremony; over 100 entries to the competitions (meaning probably another 300 people in the Town centre), positive press coverage has helped raise the town’s profile and around 40 attendees (retailers and community groups) at the post ‘switch-on’ reception in the Chamber were all testimony to the success and highlights of the three week initiative. Thanks from the WA to the Town Council – especially to the Mayor/Consort and Cllr. Jackman – for their enthusiastic support.

 

Town Centre Revitalisation – CIW was only the first deliverable from the Town Centre Revitalisation Project. A meeting on 22nd February with local retailers will help determine the focus of activity during 2006. This is expected to include:

 

·         Input to the Tourism Project  - it is hoped ‘the spend a day in Whitchurch’ tourism theme will also mean more spending in Whitchurch

·         Two or three events during the year possibly including a summer local food/beers event and a Jazz Festival (Sept)

·         Agreement on the focus of Christmas 2006 (potentially a Victorian theme)

·         Commencement on determining where such as the anticipated HCC CTI and BDBC POPPI (matched by SEEDA) funding might be spent (one proposal is for Whitchurch ‘ancient Market Town’ brown Tourist signs on the A34 that would additionally state ‘narrow winding streets unsuitable for HGVs)

·         Establishment of a traders association (with links to the Business Club)

·         Focus on understanding ‘barriers’ to interest in Whitchurch (e.g. rents) and on getting the empty shop units marketed and occupied (help anticipated from Brockenhurst)

 

Available for your inspection (it needs a little interpretation!) is the survey/analysis done by University of Southampton on the impact of ‘Tesco Express’ in rural towns. There were around 200 respondents in Whitchurch. The analysis suggests an increase in footfall in the town; the main negative impact was on Somerfields (approx 18% downturn) but NOT the independent stores and an increase in what is called ‘relocalisation (e.g. shopping locally/topping up in the Town) versus support for out of town Supermarkets such as those in Andover, Winnall or Basingstoke.

 

 Other Highlights

 

 

·         HGV Survey  – At long last a little bit of progress. The report and analysis has been promised from HCC Traffic Management by end February. In Derek Verran’s absence, I will write a brief foreword including some possible ways forward for WA/WTC to consider. These will be founded on the fact that the HGV volumes in the Town will not trigger HCC investment, nor does the survey evidence much in the way of rat running HGVs.  

·         Town Entry Gateway Signs – WA TAPG debated the latest design suggestions at their 26th Jan meeting. After consultation with Cathy Burt, WA has commented to BDBC on the designs and asked for a final (definitive) document that costs the preferred solution to include details on repair, replacement and maintenance such that WTC can comment/endorse.  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!

·         The Heritage Centre Project – the kick off meeting took place in December. A draft project Proforma is being prepared which will capture the meeting agreed main aims and vision for the initiative. A call for more volunteers from the Community to get involved has also been made via the Parish Magazine, the website and local media. Any suggestions or involvement from WTC would be most welcome

 

Finally, a brief update on the WA Committee. Jim Seamons will act as the link person between the Trustees and the WA’s Town Action Plan Group (TAPG). Marion Woods will be the conduit for all external communications and PR.  The WA Trustees were due to meet on 2nd February.

 

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Kind Regards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Initiative No. (Category)

Project Charter

Sub Group Members

Leader in bold

(= Co opted)

<= WTC Cllr>

Action Plan and Current Status

One:

Local Economy and Environment

Tourism Focus:

 

·         Encourage More Visitors to the Town

·         Increase spend in the Town

·         Raise Town Profile

Susan Flawith

Phil Cooper

Harriet Titcomb

(Derek Verran)

(Stephen Bryer)

John Buckley

Target by end 2006 - Town Guide, Heritage Leaflet and Circular Walks reprint/update all cross-referenced to Whitchurch Web content. 30th Nov. meeting determined priorities, which include identifying sponsor/funding for new Heritage Leaflet and Town Guide. Content for the latter still WIP.

Town Centre Focus:

·         Revitalisation of Town centre

·         Improved appearance of Town Centre

·         More Events

·         Traders Association

·         Skills Development

·         Marketing/Business Development

Stewart Parrington

Tony Corbin

Derek Verran

Keith Watts

(By Mid 2006 - Bid for HCC Country Towns Initiative (circa £40-50k) and B&DBC POPPI circa £20k (Pride of Place Partnership Initiative) and possible SEEDA RTP matched funds potentially available for built environment enhancement & conservation related improvement projects. ‘Christmas in Whitchurch – successfully delivered as kick of project. 22nd February meeting with retailers will map out activities, priorities  and actions for the coming year

TWO

Community

One Stop Shop:

·         Town Hall utilisation for Community group usage

·         Tourist Information point

 

(Cathy Burt)

Liz Dermody

Tony Corbin

Ongoing - Increase utilisation of Town Hall for business and community use. 

 

Relate is the latest organisation to regularly use the Town Hall for it’s meetings.

THREE Economy

Commercial 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)

 

Start Jan 05 – ongoing Establish BLWx 1 to 1 one-hour business advice clinics and local Business Club.

 

This project is being increasingly merged with 2 above.

 

Clinics are being run bi-weekly and Testbourne Business Club is now becoming well established

 

 

 

FOUR Transport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOUR (cont’d)

Traffic Mgmt

a)       Reduced HGV through traffic volumes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b)       Distinctive

Town Gateway Entry Signs and associated BDBC funded traffic calming scheme

Derek Verran

Tony Corbin

(Reg Kimpton)

(Keith Pauw HCC)

(Cathy Burt)

(John Wall)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Harris

Susan Flawith

<Cllr B. Jackman>

Harriet Titcomb

Tony Corbin

(Jamie Daly B&DBC)

Start Jan 05, Survey April 05; Report Presentation Sep 05; Actions agreed Jan 06

 

 Major issues with HCC report quality/clarity. Meetings with HCC have resulted in revised report delivery by end Feb. Preliminary version available in file.

 

 

 

 

Start Jan 05; Agree design Apr 05

 

HCC Highways could, not maintain original competition winning design plus too expensive to make. Much Time lost on alternative designs. Latest proposals from BDBC commented on – request made for final definitive solution/costs/assurances re repair/replace and maintain by end Feb.

FIVE Community

 

Local Heritage Centre

·         Accessible display and educative centre for local artefacts

(Harriet Titcomb)

Deborah Woodland

Dr. Alison Deveson

Tony Corbin

<Cllr. A Wall>

John Mariner (History Soc)

Russell Cleaver (HCC R&H)

 

Start Dec 05 Finish Jan 07 (opening of Ctty Centre). Agree aims; recruit volunteers; agree and cost solution; develop lottery bid

 

 

A kick off meeting 14th Dec. agreed the overall aim and focus for the initiative. More community involvement is being sought prior to follow up meeting. Project Proforma to be produced

IT/Internet Public access:

·         Increase number of individual Learning and Information access points

Janet Palmer

Phil Cooper

(Linda Cowley)

 

Start date TBD

 

SIX

Community

Whitchurch Youth Project

·         Testbourne Youth Suite Refurbishment

·         Establish diversionary activities and amenities  for young people

<Cllr. B. Jackman>

Janet Palmer

Susan Flawith

Harriet Titcomb

Liz Dermody

<P. Turner>

Derek Verran

Keith Watts

Start Jun 05 – ongoing Cllr Jackman led/inspired supported by WA (HT, SF & JP)

Friday and Tuesday activities now established (Parish Hall and Testbourne respectively). Still appears to be some dispute between Testbourne School and HCC Building Regs re extent of work needed to make the room compliant.

 

SEVEN

Transport

Community Bus

(Cathy Burt)

Project Closed – Jan 05 – as apparently working satisfactorily.

EIGHT

Comms

Communications Project:

·         House Style for WA materials

·         Web site inc open forum for feedback

·         Internal/external and stakeholder comms model

 

Phil Cooper

John Buckley

(Steve Hoffmann)

(Cathy Burt)

Tony Corbin

Marion Woods

Start Jun 05; Launch website Oct 05. Launch Magazine Spring 06

 

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

 

JB aiming to launch magazine by Easter, approaches to advertisers/sponsors Feb.

NINE

Whitchurch Association Committee

Susan Flawith

Chair; Harriet Titcomb Co Chair;

Jean Watts (Sec)

START FEB 05; LAUNCH OCT 05; Terms of Reference to be agreed Feb 06.