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Cllr Pat Marsh: Let's consider a 'Town Team' to improve our town centre

August 10, 2019 9:39 AM
One of the hottest topics of conversation over the summer has been how we can prevent the decline of our town centres and make them attractive destinations for local residents and visitors all year round.
Pat Marsh (Pat Marsh/HBC)
In a letter published in this week's Harrogate Advertiser Cllr Pat Marsh wrote:
"I have noted the concerns of many people, including the newly organised Independent Harrogate Group, they all have grave concerns about our town centre and its vitality and viability. This is something my Group on Council raised at the elections in May 2018. I would ask all concerned to consider the development of a Town Team which could be a proactive organisation that includes businesses, landowners, landlords and residents working collaboratively with the Council to improve our town centre, focusing on building relationships and practical actions. They would be:
  • Independent.
  • Provide a vision and leadership for their place.
  • Be positive and proactive.
  • Non-political in their approach.
  • Get stuck in and have a go rather than waiting for "someone else" to do "something".
  • Run by the community for the community
There would be a need for a SWOT analysis to understand the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the Town Centre. Maybe walking audits to understand the place to help with building the vision. Street stalls to talk to residents and visitors, which again would help in the creation of the vision and an action plan.

I had assumed that the recently formed BID would be leading on this but have been alarmed by the fact that the membership of the Board is maybe not as balanced as it should be to undertake this task. Maybe that needs addressing first.

I just hope that, with the desire to build a vision for the future of our town, a Town Team can be established so that we can make sure our town centre thrives for the benefit of us all."