Even before the pandemic footfall has been down in the town. Online shopping has had a big impact, but town centres need to encourage people to visit… a new approach is needed. One of the reasons for this is that shops, especially small independent shops cannot afford the sky-high rents that have been charged – action is needed on this and the Council could play a part.
A new approach is needed. What we are seeing as a result of our Council’s lack of strategy is boarded up shops especially at the top of town. Our Tory Council’s “master plan” for the Top of Town has been costly, unimaginative and seems to have been about little more than grants for new signs. We know high rents can be a problem, especially for small independent shops. This needs action! We need fresh innovative ideas to breathe life into the town. We DON’T need more out-of-town retail. Many towns have created popular shopping experiences in their older parts of town using the town’s history to its advantage. Did you know Burberry’s first-ever shop was in Basingstoke? With a little imagination, we could do so much better.
- We’ve been asking people for their ideas for the town. Some are really exciting. Here are some of their ideas:
- A farmers markets complete with animal pens for children to see and interact with animals and learn where food comes from. This could be turned it in to a real event with live music, and could be a regular feature every month. Interspersed with this could be French/Italian/Spanish etc food week that could operate in a similar way.
- Chill Out zones with free wifi supported by local businesses
- Art gallery space where local artists can display and sell their work
- A video game arcade machine hall (not gambling fruit machines) coupled together with pool tables – table football/tennis and small scale bowling machines as part of a wider leisure environment.
- Lazer quest – made family-friendly, but in the centre of town.
What not add your own ideas – use the form below: