FROM: Tony Corbin – Town Project Officer HCC (for and on behalf of WA/TAPT) 1st December 2006
Dear Councillors and WA Trustees
This month it is only a brief report concentrating on Christmas in Whitchurch and then the progress related to the Town Centre Project and in particular the SEEDA bid. A detailed status report will be provided at the time of handover e.g. at the end of the year.
1. CIW 2006 – As you have probably seen for yourselves, the final preparations ahead of the ‘Lights Switch on’ (9th December) are in hand. Indeed you may have seen either Barry or Stewart (Parrington) at one or other end of a ladder affixing brackets or Christmas Trees! Thanks to everyone who has offered their help to date. It is really important that WA Trustees and Council Members lead by example and I know the CIW team will really appreciate your presence at the key events on 9th and 16th December (Christmas Market, Kiddies Funfair in the White Hart Car Park) and that you will personally ‘shop locally’ this Christmas. Please note that it is expected that both Sir George Young and Cllr. Maxwell will attend on 9th (the former will also be cutting the tape to formally open the new Brockenhurst office immediately after the switch-on). Our grateful thanks to WTC for agreeing to host the ‘reception’ after the switch-on in the Town Hall for retailers and those directly involved in CIW 2006.
There has already been some good PR. Some of you will have seen the CIW flavoured Community Magazine (produced by John Buckley) or maybe read articles in the local papers or on www.thewhitchurchweb.org. Coverage in the HCC ‘Hampshire Now’ has led to a visit from Meridian TV to the Town on Wed 6th December. They are doing a programme on Hampshire’s Market Town’s – don’t yet know the broadcast plans – and will interview Stewart related to CIW and the Town Centre project. I hope you will agree that this all helps raise a positive profile for the Town.
Finally, if we can please have a time when we can brief the Mayor (Best Shop Window trophy presentation, and other prompts, points for speech etc) that would be most helpful. In case you are not aware it is proposed the judging this year will be split between nominations from members of the public and the votes of a judging panel. The latter it is proposed will comprise Jenny James, Cathy Burt, Cllr. Jackman, Pauline Parrington and Harriet Titcomb and will require each to have judged their personal ‘top three’ windows. This will be compared with the public’s overall ‘top three’ and the most voted for shop wins!
2. SEEDA Rural Towns Programme Bid – Although BDBC has requested a brief ‘time-out’ (related to statutory service delivery) work on the bid is progressing. There has been a 2nd meeting with Tourism SE, initial enquiries are being made re impacts of changed legislation related to A34 ‘brown tourism signs’ meetings are scheduled with Business Link and BDBC Business team re local support programmes. On 6th Dec an HCC officers meeting will include the Highways Maintenance people for the first time – evidencing that the concerns expressed by members are now being acted upon. This meeting will review the steering group voted list of schemes and include debate upon surface dressing options. We are moving towards a possible preliminary ‘exhibition’ early next year which is a required part of the SEEDA process. We need the community view on the final list of ‘schemes’ and will probably be able to have a few ‘image boards’ showing what a revitalised Town Centre or Bell Street car park area might look like. (The normal statutory consultation processes would follow later in the year). I conclude by mentioning that I have formally been allowed a further 10 days to work on the preparation of the SEEDA bid during January and February.