TO:  2007 WHITCHURCH ASSOCIATION AGM - 2006 PROJECT REPORT

 

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 has retained responsibility, within our limited resources, for progressing the Healthcheck initiated Town Action Plan Projects. Here is a quick summary of the main activities and achievements over the past 12 months:

 

  1. Town Entry Gateway SIgns - we are finally emerging from the very complex legislative processes and 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 Hallowes Church, a River Test Trout and 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 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 (www.thewhitchurchweb.org) especially if you want to 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 our lives.
  4. Town Centre Revitalisation - this has been the major Town Action Plan focus and will continue to be so in 2007/08. The first task after successfully submitting the preliminary bid to the regional development agency SEEDA in September, is, with HCC and BDBC support, to develop and submit our final detailed bid, hopefully in February or March, for matched funding. A successful outcome will enable the proposed visual improvements to the Town centre to be made. It is anticipated that the public consultation will take place in April or May. WA and local retailers are represented on the Steering Group that has been established to oversee the project. In the meantime, the 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 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. We can look forward to some exciting developments and some new events being announced as we go through 2007.

We have been well supported by Hampshire County Council who have provided a Town Project Officer, Tony Corbin, one day per week throughout 2006. That contract is now at an end and in 2007 we will no longer have Tony's direct support. So we have asked Jim Seamons to take on the mantle of WA support to the Town Action Plan Teams. Tony will however be available over the next couple of months to help the WA develop its final bid to SEEDA.