Encouraging repeat visitors
12:54pm Wed Oct 17, 2012
Talks will be held about forming a town-centre development group in Southwell to encourage more shoppers and repeat visitors.
Traders and businesses will be approached to see if there is interest in forming a group to capitalise on the popularity of the town’s events and attractions.
The idea was suggested at a town council finance and policy committee meeting.
Committee chairman Mr Peter Harris said although the town was economically vibrant with only one shop empty, he felt more could be done to encourage tourists.
“We are doing well but we need to help the town maintain its economic vigour,” he said.
“As a town council we could work with retail, professional and commercial businesses to act as a catalyst. I am anxious we make visitors to events repeat visitors.”
He said there had been occasions, such as the closure of King Street for water works, when he felt businesses could have been more effective in making their concerns known by speaking as one voice.
Town clerk Carol Standish said: “One thing that we can consider is how the town is viewed from the outside. How do we market it as a shopping centre as well as a tourism centre?”
Other councillors said while they supported the principle, they were not sure how extensive the council’s involvement should be.
Mr Andy Gregory thought it could be discussed as part of the development of a neighbourhood plan for Southwell.
“The idea is sound but it is perhaps a bit premature,” he said.
“I don’t think it is something worth kicking off now. The traders’ side of things is important and we need to include business groups and the public in that discussion on how to improve the town.
“It can come under the umbrella of the neighbourhood plan.”
He suggested the town centre could be promoted on flyers and promotions for other events.
Mrs Beryl Prentice said the council needed to find out who to correspond with and how it could help.
She thought the town centre was lively and active and was not sure what form the council’s involvement could take.
She said summer events were successful and that businesses were being approached about plans for Christmas.
Mr Paul Handley said it would be a good idea to contact the Southwell Business Club to gauge opinion.
Mrs Kate Ashworth agreed she would sound out traders.
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