Congleton Partnership Executive Meeting took place online recently, download the full meeting minutes HERE.
Town Centre Report – J.MacArthur.
Town Centre: Not an easy time for the High Street, although there has been some research showing that towns which serve their communities are faring better than cities or large shopping destinations. Of the 218 units that are marketable (unlike Cheshire East, we do not count units that can’t be rented out) 189 are currently occupied, giving an occupancy of 86%. Changes since the March meeting:
New Shops Congleton Mobiles – in the pedestrian area
No 1 Hair and Health Kitchen – High Street
Change of Name – Pappa King has become Congleton Grill – Lawton Street
No 1 West Street to Luke’s Barbers
Recently Closed/ Closing Shops
Pound Stretcher – High Street
Damand – Swan Bank
Ruby’s Fund – Lawton Street
Crusty Cob – Antrobus Street
Not Just Cards – High Street (due to close in September)
E-Cig Congleton – Mill Street (planning app in to convert building in Biddulph)
TSB Bank – October 2020
Not Yet re-opened shops
Carl Christopher – Pedestrian area
Bojangles – Pedestrian area
Argos -Victoria Street
Chronicle – High Street (staff working from home)
Work in Progress opening soon
Former Royal Bank of Scotland – High Ground Coffee and Bar
Former Broken Cross – Arriba – Friday 18th September
Former Fizz and Chips – Crazy Moose Ski Shack – October 2020
Body and Mind MOT 365 – in the pedestrian area
- Great new video of the Town Centre has been produced by ID2 Media https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKQtOP6LWAM
- Cheshire East Council currently consulting on the Share with Care scheme for Bridge Street (cycling in the pedestrian area) and whether it should be made permanent – Currently 317 comments – 204 strongly against, 46 strongly for and low 20s for the three options in between. You can have your say at: https://congletonactivetravel.commonplace.is/schemes/proposals/congleton-town-centre
Cheshire East Vitality Plan
Cushman and Wakefield have been appointed by Cheshire East Council to develop vitality and transport movement plans for the 9 key service centres in Cheshire East. The first meeting should be held soon. My understanding of the brief is that they are developing plans and evidence base materials to make it easier for towns to apply for funding when opportunities present themselves.
Beartown Business Collective
The Town Council is supporting Congleton traders and their new group Beartown Business Collective on a number of initiatives. Active work has started on
- A new Congleton Town Guide which will be delivered to all households in November
- The logistics of Bearmania +10 for 2021
- Introducing year-round festoon lighting in the pedestrian area
- Potential vinyls for empty shop windows
Martha, Jo Money, Bob Edwards, Cllr Russell Chadwick and myself have been looking at adding and boosting the Christmas lights to make Congleton look extra special this year. We are looking to extend the lighting into West Street and Victoria Street and add more wow to the pedestrian area. The Christmas team has also agreed that some of the funds that would have been used to hire a stage and activities will be used to give the shops that usually purchase Christmas trees a free tree this year.
The Congleton App that was mentioned in the March meeting has now been launched and can be downloaded from the App Store for android phones or iphones. The Town Council should soon get access codes to amend, delete and add copy. The App is owned by Canalside Radio and has been created by Fabric. https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Business-Service/Congleton-Town-App-104173474738025/
- SF Where is the funding for the App coming from. A. Initial funding from the marketing budget, ongoing funding by Canalside Radio.
Elizabeth’s Group – S.Munro. (R)
We have had a very successful second year and have been very successful in raising the profile of Elizabeth through our activities, particularly:
– Establishing a professional website to share archive materials, research activity, articles and other materials relating to Elizabeth.
– Setting up a popular social media presence.
– Producing high-quality leaflets, booklets, films and other promotional materials using locally commissioned artwork.
-Running monthly stalls at the local craft, food and ethical fairs dressed as suffragettes. These have been very successful in getting Elizabeth‘s name out there.
-In addition, we have a presence in most of the high-profile community events in the town including Gay Pride International Women’s Day the Christmas lights switch on and the like.
-Attracting pleasing attention for our activities from a range of media particular in The Chronicle which has run regular stories about the group over the year. We have appeared in Cheshire Life, had articles and blogs in Women’s Political Rights, the Working Class Movement Library and Hidden Women. We even made Channel 5 discussing how Elizabeth has been hidden from history and we’ve also been featured several times on local radio.
-Establishing a Heritage Trail in Congleton.
-Setting up an outreach program with schools and other groups in the town with a scheme of work for Primary and Secondary pupils.
-Doing numerous presentations on Elizabeth and her achievements, highlighting the relevance of her work to many of the issues that are still with us today.
-Producing a booklet for young people about Elizabeth‘s life.
-Planning for an annual Elizabeth’s Day and an annual Elizabeth’s lecture – sadly both victims of Lockdown.
-Producing a series of Lockdown videos on aspects of our project.
As to achieving against our set objectives, the objectives we set for our Heritage Lottery activity were met apart from two activities planned for May which had to be curtailed because of Lockdown. Other fundraising activities were on target but have also been disrupted because of Covid19.
Our annual accounts raised no issues about our financial health. Covid19 has halted some of our fundraising activities, the main source of our income – but we have just launched a crowdfunding project and await signs of its efficacy in these strange times. Clearly, the post-Covid19 era will bring uncertain times for us but we have confidence that our store of ideas will help to progress our aims and we have been invited to take part in a national project to increase the number of female statues in the UK headed up by Cllr Andrew Simcock of Manchester City Council.
We recognise the need to recruit some more Trustees. After a year of stalwart work, including running a highly successful fundraising ceilidh, our secretary Lynn has stepped down for deservedly lighter duties – many thanks to her. On a very sad note, Ethel, one of our founder members died very suddenly after a short illness. We will miss her so very much.
We are determined to get a statue of Elizabeth and to have it unveiled on International Women’s Day 2022. It is challenging but the focus of our project, Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, was never daunted by a challenge and we, like her, ‘maybe little (in number) but we are fierce’.
The meeting ended at 6.55pm
Next Meeting is on Tuesday 1st December 2020, 5.30pm, via Zoom – details nearer the time.