TO:  ALL WHITCHURCH TOWN COUNCIL MEMBERS - PROJECT REPORT

 

FROM: Tony Corbin – Town Project Officer HCC (for and on behalf of WA/TAPT) 1st February 2007  

 

Dear Councillors and WA Trustees

 

Town Action Plan Project News

 

Most of you will be aware that in addition to WA Trustees focus and preparations for the opening of the new Community Hall, the WA retains responsibility, within its  limited resources, for progressing the Healthcheck initiated Town Action Plan Projects.

 

On the other hand the contract, resulting in my appointment in 2005 and my subsequent rewarding, at times challenging, but enjoyable term as the Whitchurch Town Project Officer concluded on 31st December. I have learnt much during my time in Whitchurch and have become very fond of the town and it’s people. Accordingly, I wish the town all good fortune for the future.

 

I truly believe that with the WA now well established, the continued commitment of Stewart Parrington and his Town Centre team, the imminent opening of the new Community Hall plus the hoped for injection of monies from HCC, BDBC and SEEDA to make the town centre more vibrant and visually attractive, the future for Whitchurch looks bright. Getting the town involved in the Healthcheck process initially and the vision of a unified successful community came from the much missed Cllr. Gill Nethercott. That said, a large part of the progress to date would not have been possible without the various endeavours and support for the Town Action Plan, community and local businesses of the Town’s elected members and officers.. May I thank you all for your support.

 

My focus will now shift to completing the work on the SEEDA bid and helping the WA to win the much needed matched funding. So, although the support in terms of days is limited, you should see me around once or twice a week in the town over the next couple of months. (Assuming the back and disks behave!)

 

I will finish with a quick summary of the main activities and the current status of the active Town Action Plan projects. In future, I understand, status will be updated for you by Jim Seamons on behalf of the WA Trustees.

 

  1. Town Entry Gateway SIgns – BDBC tell us they are finally emerging from the very complex legislative processes and we can expect to see the 5 new Gateway signs being implemented by Summer 2007. The design is based on Greg Harris's winning entry to a competition we held 2 years ago and the signs will depict All Hallows Church, a River Test Trout and also show the first charter date for the Town
  2. Heritage Display - Plans are progressing for a 'rolling' display of items of local historical significance at the new Library. There are a number of ideas and contributions, but I know the team, supported by Cllr. Alison Wall, would welcome additional contributions from any of you here present today.
  3. The Whitchurch Web - The Community website has gone from strength to strength thanks to Phil Cooper's wizardry and the regular contributions from Church and Community Groups plus local Businesses in the Town. I do encourage you to take a look and use the facility (www.thewhitchurchweb.org) especially if you want to promote or find out about 'forthcoming events and what's happening generally in and around the town. Many of you will also have received the first issue of the whitchurchweb magazine before Christmas thanks to the design skills and investment of John Buckley and the team. Again I urge you to support the magazine in terms of both editorial and advertising as it will have to pay its way in order to become a regular feature of Whitchurch resident lives.
  4. Town Centre Revitalisation - this has been the major Town Action Plan focus and will continue to be so in 2007/08. The next task after successfully submitting the preliminary bid to the regional development agency SEEDA in September, is, with WTC, HCC and BDBC support, for WA to agree, develop and submit the  final detailed bid, hopefully by the end of April, for £120,000 of matched funding. A successful outcome will enable all the proposed visual improvements to the Town centre and improved infrastructure to be achieved. to be.  It is anticipated that the public consultation will take place in April or May.

In the meantime, the Town Centre project team, led by Stewart Parrington, has already successfully delivered Christmas in Whitchurch 2005 and 2006 - the former winning a Community and Social award from the South East Rural Towns Partnership - won funds for the retail survey and subsequent training programmes and with the support of local businesses, notably Brockenhurst, developed the Whitchurch Welcome Pack for new residents. Stewart's team has also been working with Tourism South East to try and get Whitchurch more firmly recognised as an attractive Tourist destination. The town can look forward to some exciting developments and some new events which will be announced as we go through 2007.

Last, but by no means least. January saw the ceremony that saw the time capsule inserted into the walls of the new Community Centre. Just what will life be like in 2107 when, in theory, the capsule and its contents will be opened and examined by the then residents of Whitchurch?

 

Kind Regards

 

Tony Corbin