A report from the Town Centre Partnership March 2013
Progress on increasing the number of people visiting Thornbury was the main topic at the Quarterly Meeting in March of Thornbury Town Centre Partnership. There was encouraging news following various recent initiatives which, taken together, have upped the footfall in the Town.
Thornbury Town Centre Partnership brings together representatives from the Town Council, South Gloucestershire Council and the Chamber of Commerce which includes the Peer Group who own St Mary Centre. All have an interest in making sure that Thornbury thrives both commercially and socially.
The Chamber of Commerce reported that their Christmas Food Fair had been the best ever attracting a large number of visitors with more stalls than ever before and there were signs that some of these people were making subsequent visits to the town.
The Chamber of Commerce will shortly try out a new idea - postcards which will be handed out listing a calendar of events in Thornbury, such as the Arts Festival and the Carnival. They hope there will be at least one event every month. "It is essential to get more people into the town in considerable numbers," said the CofC Chairman. "We know local people want a variety of shops including a shoe shop. But traders will only set up business here if they have evidence of rising numbers of shoppers. So advertising all these events is essential."
Improved signs directing people from the A38 will shortly be erected by South Gloucestershire Council. Brown tourist-type signs indicating Thornbury - Historic Market Town, will remind drivers that a very short detour will reach an interesting place with a good variety of shops.
The Town Council hopes that its new properly signed Community Toilet scheme will provide clean, accessible loos outside of the hours of those facilities operated by the Peer Group. This will augment the service already provided by the Peer Group during weekdays and Saturdays. The more welcome people feel, the more likely they are return.
The Partnership knows that there are no quick and easy answers to the problems created by the present economic downturn. Nevertheless, Thornbury is prospering better than most similar towns and if the whole community continues to work together the town will thrive even in these difficult times.
Very soon after this meeting The Sunday Times confirmed that all the work being done in Thornbury really is being noticed. They declared that Thornbury is the Best in the West and among the four top towns in Britain!
Click here to download your copy of Thornbury's Town Centre Strategy [.pdf, 699kB].
It was produced in 2009 by the Town Centre Strategy Group, made up of representatives from Thornbury Town Council, Thornbury Chamber of Commerce, South Gloucestershire Council and the St Mary Centre.
The Town Centre Strategy aims to build upon the natural, historic and cultural assets of Thornbury Town Centre, in order to maintain and further develop social, economic and environmental prosperity.
The document was drafted following extensive consultation with the local community.
The original consultation highlighted a number of issues that local residents and businesses felt could be addressed to improve the vitality and vibrancy of Thornbury Town Centre.
This included feedback from the Thornbury Survey.
Over two hundred comments about the draft consultation document were returned online and on paper.
These comments were analysed and used to shape the final strategy document, and some respondents expressed an interest in helping to deliver the actions set out in strategy.
The photographs on this page and in the consultation document have been taken by Martin Holehouse.