Independent Commissioners have today ( Nov 16 ) published a report to assist the West Bridgford Growth Board’s efforts to drive the economy in its town centre.
Mick Burrows, Kim Cassidy and Tim Richmond OBE, three independent Commissioners appointed by the Board, have released six key themes that focus on ways the Board could enhance the town centre’s retail and leisure offer through a more integrated and future-proof approach.
It follows four months of questionnaires, interviews, presentations and consultations that saw over 450 individuals’ views captured, including those of over 150 young people from across the community.
Their proposals reflect stakeholders’ opinions on how to enhance and develop Central Avenue, Tudor Square and Gordon Road in the town.
Their findings are based around themes that will build the proposal of an overarching ‘West Bridgford Way’.
This also suggests production of a map of the ‘West Bridgford Way’ streetscape, connected to a heritage trail, cycle routes and landmarks in the town.
Commissioner Mick Burrows said: “We want to reflect the great place West Bridgford is and the report highlights the spirit and ambitions of local people and businesses.
“It’s important to stress our findings are suggestions to the West Bridgford Growth Board and they will decide over time if, how and when any of these findings are implemented.
“The West Bridgford Growth Board and Rushcliffe Borough Council’s priority is to develop business growth. We hope as many of these findings can prompt action in the short, medium and long term or provide further food for thought on how residents and businesses wish the town to develop.”
Copy of the report below:RBC_WB_Commissioners_Report_WEB
Postcards prompting feedback on the report’s findings are also available at the library and Rushcliffe Community Contact Centre in the town.
Feedback is also invited from residents and local businesses by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
More about the work
The three Independent Commissioners were appointed in November 2016 to lead the consultation exercise and to report to the Growth Board.
Their brief was to focus on the Central Avenue, Tudor Square and Gordon Road areas and seek views of local residents, businesses, partners and community groups.
Additionally the remit was to assess current opinion on the street scene, atmosphere and ambiance, and to identify different options for improving the target area.
The Commissioners were appointed in a voluntary capacity. Mick Burrows is a former Nottinghamshire County Council Chief Executive and local resident. Kim Cassidy is Professor of Retail Marketing and a retail specialist from Nottingham Trent University. Tim Richmond is an experienced entrepreneur, chartered accountant and local businessman.
Their six key findings under the overarching remit of ‘The West Bridgford Way’ include:
- Accessibility: Provide solutions to parking problems, traffic congestion, cycling access routes and stations and address digitisation of promotion of retail services in West Bridgford.
- Balance and blend: Restaurants and bars were found to be positive but there is a need to attract more high-end businesses and to expand the successful markets in line with the desire for independent, local businesses rather than chains.
- Local and level: A need was identified to tackle unfair business rates and rents for independent retailers, encourage residents to further support local businesses and create a strong interest in community initiatives utilising the library as the community hub.
- Green space: Maintain the ‘green’ areas within West Bridgford and highlight how further landscaping would enhance the town centre.
- Town centre co-ordination: Improve the physical appearance of buildings, co- ordinate street cleaning and enhance shop fronts with professional standards. Ensure communications about events are clear and reach their targeted audience.
- Strategic considerations: Create a strategic plan to capture the distinctive identity and strengths of West Bridgford. Ensure there are clear planning protocols and use of land policies that support desired retail developments. Introduce plans to improve traffic management and create of a ‘centre’ around the Tudor Square area.