Town Centre News
A second public consultation to help shape a Masterplan for Great Yarmouth town centre gets underway this month.
GREAT Yarmouth Borough Council's economic development committee has agreed to consult in January on a new vision for the town's central area, which aims to make it more attractive for residents, visitors and investors.
The draft Masterplan, developed through an initial consultation last summer, illustrates how Great Yarmouth's unique and historic central spaces can evolve over the coming years to strengthen the whole town centre as a commercial and cultural hub, meeting the needs and aspirations of communities and the challenges all town centres face.
This is the longer term element of the borough council's Town Centre Initiative, which has already achieved much in just one year to boost footfall, spend and the local economy, including enhanced town centre events, better marketing, visual and environmental improvements, and a shopfront improvement grant scheme.
The economic development committee agreed plans to hold a three-week public consultation, from Monday, January 9 to Monday, January 30. People's views will help shape the vision, which includes aspirations and opportunities to lift the town centre's overall offer, including shopping and leisure, housing, transport links and visual appearance.
In a joint statement, the council's political group leaders, Cllr Graham Plant, Cllr Kay Grey, Cllr Trevor Wainwright and Cllr Adrian Myers, said: "The public have identified Great Yarmouth town centre as a top priority, and the borough council has responded with the Town Centre Initiative, which has already helped to boost the town centre.
"In the longer term, we know from studying successful town centres that having a Masterplan is vital to boosting investor confidence and securing investment, providing a clear, coherent compelling vision to transform the central area, which is led by the local authority and supported by the community and key stakeholders.
"The council will take the lead on the bigger things, using its assets and influence, helping to secure funding and bringing people together, but the Masterplan does require a wide range of partners, including businesses and other statutory authorities, to co-ordinate their collective efforts for the vision to be fully achieved.
"The Masterplan has been developed in draft using valuable feedback from an initial public consultation last summer and from key individuals and organisations, and it has been soft tested to ensure it is deliverable and economically viable.
"While the Masterplan is a high-level, flexible guide for long-term plans and ambitions, further public consultation is vital to ensure the vision meets the needs and aspirations of communities and is therefore supported by the community. We think the draft is about right, but it is by no means finalised and we are keen to hear the views of as many people and organisations as possible to help shape the vision."
The consultation will run from Monday, January 9 to Monday, January 30. The public will be able to take part by:
· Completing a consultation form online at www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/have-your-say
· Completing the paper version of the consultation form, which will be available in the Town Hall's Foyer, Neighbourhood Offices and Housing Offices.
· Visiting a staffed drop-in exhibition stand in Market Gates shopping centre on Wednesday, January 18 and Wednesday, January 25 from 10am to 3pm each day.
In addition, the staffed exhibition stand will also pay visits to Great Yarmouth College and East Norfolk Sixth Form College to encourage young people to take part. When the stand is not at Market Gates or the colleges, it will be displayed in the Town Hall's foyer.
There will also be invitee-only workshops for key stakeholders, including councillors, market traders, business groups, commercial property agents, statutory authorities and voluntary organisations.
The draft Masterplan can be read in full at www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/have-your-say
The six key project areas in the draft Masterplan
· Strengthening the Heart of the Town Centre
Objective: The heart of the town centre - around the junction of King Street and Regent Street/Regent Road - has regained its vitality with a range of new occupiers and operators including a leisure-based anchor, cafes, bars and restaurants
· Improving the market and Market Place
Objective: Trade and custom in the 6- & 2-day markets is greatly improved, supported by new stalls and service facilities and by the newly-paved Market Place, which has created a beautiful setting for an expanded programme of outdoor events and for the improved frontages.
· Transforming the Conge
Objective: The Conge is transformed, with new mixed-use development lining both sides of the lower half of the street, and the next phase ready for delivery connecting it to the renewed Marketplace.
· Creating a sense of arrival at the train station
Objective: The setting of the train station creates a new sense of arrival and departure, and the first phase of new development around the station is ready for delivery, connecting it to The Conge.
· Unlocking the potential of Hall Plain
Objective: With the 3rd river crossing near completion, there is significant commercial interest in refurbishment and new development on Hall Plain, and the council has already put in place guidance to ensure that existing buildings are conserved and enhanced.
· Linking it all together
Objective: Wayfinding is improved across the town through key parts of the network of Rows, with footfall significantly increased and commercial vacancies significantly reduced