A WISBECH trouble-shooting town team is being put together to try to win a place as one of the pilot projects being suggested by Mary Portas to help rejuvenate town centres.
Co-ordinated by top Fenland businesswoman Jaqui Fairfax, the aim is to ask the people of Wisbech for ideas on how to regenerate the town centre and submit one of these to television guru Mary in the hope she will choose it as one of 12 pilot schemes to test her ‘high street’ concept.
Known as “Mary Queen of Shops”, Mary Portas unveiled her vision for town centres last year. This includes creating Town Teams to help to fight high street decline.
Jaqui, who is the managing director of award-winning March business CUB (UK) Ltd and chairman of the Fenland Chamber of Commerce, will be a non-political co-ordinator.
She will head a meeting on February 20 at 7.30pm at the North Brink Council Chamber which will be open to the public.
Jaqui, who is one of the Fenland Citizen’s mentors as part of our Local Business Accelerators scheme launched last year and who recently appeared on the ITV Business Club, put the idea out on Twitter and local councillors Samantha Hoy and Steve Tierney responded to help take it forward.
Said Jaqui: “We want to join together for Wisbech. To do this we need ideas from Wisbech people about what they think would rejuvenate Wisbech.
“People are quick to moan about the town but now we need to do something positive.”
This dovetails well with a similar idea being sounded out already in the town and the first meeting will include representatives from Wisbech Area Regeneration and Development Trust (WisARD), the Chamber of Commerce, Wisbech Society, Wisbech Tourism Group and the Town Council as well as other local people.
Time is of the essence and the team needs to hear from Citizen readers YOUR ideas on how the town centre can be made more viable and vibrant.
This could be ideas for empty shops, ways to develop vacant high street sites, community use of empty properties or buildings such as the Wisbech Institute and Corn Exchange.
The emphasis must be on the town centre and the team wants positive ideas.
The team is also looking for townsfolk to come on board. Send your ideas/details to Town Council clerk Erbie Murat at: firstname.lastname@example.org or post/drop them into Wisbech Town Council Chamber, 1 North Brink, Wisbech, PE13 1JR before noon on February 20. The team welcomes illustrations and videos of potential ideas.
Mr Murat explained moves are already afoot to create a Wisbech information centre, for which funding is in place.
A number of tourism specialists have volunteered their time to ensure the centre, which will be in Post Office Lane, provides a professional service.
Mr Murat, who has met with Jaqui to discuss her Town Team idea, said: “Wisbech does have a lot of potential.
“While its town centre has not suffered as much as others, there is a lot of potential for Wisbech to benefit from a project such as this.”
l Wisbech Society speaks out see page 8 and more of your letters are on page 11.