Dear Mr Mayor & Town Councillors
Tonight you are discussing lots of things but of special interest to me is the Town Team governance & your plans to start markets.
It is with sadness that I note there was an omission in minutes when I attended the Amenities meeting on 1st May and raised that the Town Team wished to find out more about your market plans and ways we could work together. If required, I can provide tonights words to accompany the minutes.
Going to London yesterday with Roger Holmes to represent Liskeard’s successful bid to be a Portas Pilot was a great honour. The support from external bodies like the Arts Council, etc will make a profound difference to Liskeard’s fortunes. These are exciting times! It was particularly encouraging that Mary Portas herself spoke about the importance of thinking bigger than retail when looking at the ways to drive up footfall and that local people should be at the core of decision making.
Today her right hand man Peter Cross and others from Mary’s team, visited the town to discuss Optomen TV making a programme that includes Liskeard. There was strong support from shopkeepers for this to happen. It was also reassuring to hear that they are keen to work in harmony with the Town Team’s plans so that we can take full advantage of her expertise.
Peter Cross spoke today about the need to end the working in silos that can happen in towns. And yesterday DCLG made it clear they and the country are looking for us to progress the ideas in Liskeard’s bid. Our govt officer, Hilary Paxman, has a special interest in our Evening Market idea and introduced us to representatives from NABMA who gave Roger and I some ideas about the ways this can be achieved and the help they could offer.
Everyone (CC officers, DCLG, Markets specialists) are recommending I make this approach to the Town Council to see if they can find a way to enjoy their part in these exciting new developments as Town Team partners rather than continue to work on market plans on a separate track. I understand your thoughts have been for a daytime food market. There should be room for this & something new in the late afternoon or evening. The experts are recommending we think carefully too about the niche markets that are enjoying success – Vintage Markets, Fashion Markets & particularly Teen Markets – with links to colleges & schools where young people run stalls for other young people. See Stockport pilot for more about their successful Teen Market.
I appeal to the Town Council to work as part of the Town Team to make Liskeard’s pilot as stunning as it can be and particularly to develop thoughts about Markets together to the benefit of the whole town.
On the matter of governance discussed on Friday. As posted at the weekend on the Town Team blog, the decisions reached by the public will be brought back to the Forum on 11th July. It will be important that the Town Council chooses someone who can join the board of the Town Team and help progress the bid. The country is watching us for models of strong partnership working for the benefit of the town centre. Let’s show them our small Cornish market town can lead the way here.