CAN YOU HELP DEVELOP A BRAND FOR MINEHEAD

Workshops and surveys are being carried out with local residents and visitors this month  in order to develop a new tourism brand for Minehead.

Leading this work is the Minehead Coastal Community Team. Town and district Councillor Roger Thomas, who chairs the team, said: “We are seeking to get a cross-section of views from residents, visitors and businesses on what makes Minehead special and how this can be distilled into a clear message that will help in attracting more visitors to the town.”

A variety of methods is being used to capture these views, including workshops, street and phone interviews in Minehead and Taunton, online surveys and a review of what other seaside towns have achieved.

Roger continued: “We would welcome involvement from anyone who is interested. In particular we would like to hear from people who would be interested in attending one of the two one-hour workshops taking place in Minehead at 1pm and 5.30pm on Thursday 23 November. For those people who can’t make it we would appreciate your time in completing an online survey.”

The development of a new brand for Minehead is being carried out as part of the Enterprising Minehead project, which aims to significantly raise the quality of what’s on offer for visitors. Match funding has been secured by the Regeneration Team at West Somerset Council that will see £1m of investment in improving the seafront, and developing new events, skills and marketing.

A recent procurement exercise to deliver the branding work led to the employment of RH Partners and Flotilla Media. Work will be delivered in two phases, starting with the development of a brand identity for Minehead in November, and then the development of branding designs in December. Local residents will then have a second opportunity to express their views on the potential design options in open events being planned for January 2018.

If you are interested in taking part in one of the workshops at the Beach Hotel on 23 November 2017 or doing one of the online surveys, please contact Robert Downes by email at tourism@westsomerset.gov.uk.

  • Minehead Coastal Communities Team (MCCT) is a partnership group of organisations that are working collectively on projects to improve the town. The team is made up of representatives from business, the community, Minehead Town Council and West Somerset Council.
  • The Enterprising Minehead project takes its lead from the priorities and strategic direction set out in the Minehead Economic Plan which was developed by the Minehead Coastal Communities Team in 2016. The plan can be viewed at westsomersetonline.gov.uk/Business/Economic-Strategies.
  • Further information on Enterprising Minehead project can be found at westsomersetonline.gov.uk/Business/Regeneration-and-Development-Projects.

SOLAR-POWERED TOURISM FOR WATCHET: PLEASE VOTE NOW

A funding application to pay for solar panels on the community-led Visitor Centre and Boat Museum in Watchet has been shortlisted, and is now up for public vote.

The project, which is a Marks and Spencer Energy Fund application, is called ‘Solar Powered Tourism’. Solar panels would save money and create income for the building, so freeing up funds to spend on high quality tourism marketing for the town, which would help to boost its economy. Grant-funded solar panels would also help the boat museum to retain its free entry.

To find out more, and to cast your vote, go to: www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/solar-powered-tourism.

The application has been made by Onion Collective, a community interest company in the town who facilitated the creation of the Watchet Visitor Centre in 2016. The building is an extension to the Watchet Boat Museum, which simultaneously underwent refurbishment. This followed consultation with the people of Watchet to determine what local people felt was needed to give the town a stronger future. The response was almost unanimous: a more buoyant local economy, provided in large part by an increase in the tourist offer.

The Visitor Centre building work was carried out thanks to grant funding from a Hinckley Point Community Impact Mitigation fund and the Trust House Charitable Foundation. A local voluntary group, known as the Watchet Community Makers then carried out much of the internal refurbishment of the boat museum, supporting the town and learning skills along the way.

If the application is successful, the panels will be installed at the end of this year. Planning permission has already been granted. The system will be battery ready, which also leaves scope for a future sustainable community business to be run from the building.

The Marks and Spencer Energy Fund is run annually, and provides UK community organisations with an opportunity to win a share of £300,000 to support their renewable energy projects and technologies.

 

BID FOR A PROSPEROUS MINEHEAD

The launch of the proposed Minehead Business improvement District (BID) is being held at Butlins Village, Warren Road, Minehead tomorrow, Tuesday 5 September.

Minehead Chamber of Commerce has invited businesses in the proposed BID area to attend this event when they will outline ideas about how a BID scheme in Minehead could increase the vitality and viability of the town centre.

Guest speaker, Paul Batt, Chairman of Weston BID, will share his experiences of their BID, and what the scheme has meant for his business and Weston super Mare over the past six years.

Graham Sizer, Vice-Chairman of Minehead Chamber of Commerce, said: “The proposed BID will help us to deliver projects and initiatives to support the town centre, helping business to thrive. This is about the business community taking a leading role in how our town develops in the future. We need the town’s business community to get involved in helping us to decide the priorities and actions that a BID could bring to our town. When we carried out interviews for the Feasibility Study earlier this year, we were delighted by the positive reception that this proposed scheme received from a wide range of business people in town. I do hope as many of those who received invitations will join me to hear about this great opportunity for business to work together to create a prosperous future for Minehead.”

Lucy Ball from Destination Management & Marketing, who carried out the feasibility study for a Minehead BID, will explain to guests how BIDs work and how such a scheme could benefit Minehead. She will also outline the next steps in the process of developing a BID for Minehead. Lucy commented, “The crucial element of all successful BIDs, is the involvement of local businesses from the outset of the scheme. We hope that representatives from across a broad spectrum of the Minehead town, business community will want to join the BID Steering Group to help us to get this scheme right for the town.”

Of more than 270 BID schemes nationally that have gone to ballot, the great majority have voted in favour of these schemes. Businesses involved in BIDs have found they have been given a voice to influence how the towns they operate within are managed, and are able to deliver projects and have the influence necessary to survive and flourish.

BLENHEIM GARDENS VOLUNTEERS

Going back to grass roots help is bringing Blenheim Gardens in Minehead back to its blooming best.

Volunteers, working with West Somerset Council’s open spaces staff, have put in countless hours – gaining recognition from Britain in Bloom and the heartfelt thanks of West Somerset Council during Love Parks Week.

The national initiative, running from July 14-23, is encouraging people to use their parks and enjoy the experience.

Blenheim Gardens is West Somerset’s flagship park and covers six acres in the centre of Minehead. Created in the 1920s, the gardens are mature with spring and summer bedding displays, a wide range of trees, shrubs and perennials that thrive in the mild maritime climate.

The park has its own bandstand for summer concerts and brass bands – always a family favourite – as well as a seasonal putting course, a Burma Star Memorial Garden which provides an area for quiet reflection, and seating.

There are plans to make Blenheim Gardens more sustainable with a greater emphasis on perennials and shrubs rather than thirsty annual bedding plants.

Cllr Martin Dewdney, the council’s Lead Member for the environment, said: “Blenheim Gardens is quite simply beautiful. The park is a wonderful oasis close to the beach and the centre of Minehead and I know it is well loved by residents and visitors.

“The volunteers do so much for the park and I would like to take this chance to thank them on behalf of the community and the council. Blenheim Gardens is a place to treasure, thanks to our volunteers.

“There is something for everyone in the park – plants to enjoy, a pitch and putt course, grass for the children to play on and the very popular café. In the summer, there’s a programme of music in the Bandstand featuring traditional brass and silver bands as well as local groups.”

Blenheim Gardens has a Facebook page, where you keep up to date with the latest events.

This photo is thought to date back to the 1930s.

 

 

 

REGENERATION PLANS FOR BUTCHERS ROW, BARNSTAPLE

Plans are on the table to regenerate one of Barnstaple’s most iconic streets.

North Devon Council is setting aside some of its planned maintenance budget to spruce up Butchers Row in the coming months. It is also in talks with Barnstaple Town Centre Management to understand customer needs and changing shopping habits and to discuss plans to regenerate the historic street.

Last year the council refurbished Barnstaple Pannier Market, which runs the length of Butchers Row. Attention is now being turned to the historic units that the council lets to local businesses and work is likely to begin in the next couple of months.

Head of Resources at North Devon Council, Jon Triggs, says: “Butchers Row is probably one of the most photographed streets in Barnstaple and is an important historical feature of the town. Over the next couple of months we will be looking in detail at what can be done to improve and regenerate the Row, which is Grade II listed and, as such, needs extra care.”

There are currently some vacant units along the Row available to let. Contact Wright Commercial for more information on 01271 377333 or www.thewrightproperty.co.uk.

 

MINEHEAD WINS MAJOR SEAFRONT BOOST

Minehead’s “Enterprising Esplanade” has won a significant financial boost thanks to the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

The project that aims to breathe new life into The Esplanade – the mile-long stretch of seafront – has been awarded £130,696.

The project is being led by the Minehead Coastal Communities Team, and is designed to give the resort an economic boost and make the most of its spectacular stretch of seafront.

The initiative aims to create new trading opportunities on The Esplanade and will restore six Edwardian shelters that are a reminder of past glories.

There are plans to convert one shelter into a trading post as a pilot project. The team is planning to encourage more seafront tourism attractions to make sure visitors thoroughly enjoy their time at the seaside, while a festival and Harbour market are also in the pipeline.

The initiatives will stretch the best part of a mile along the Esplanade, complementing and celebrating the best of the past and present – and looking to the future to help boost Minehead’s economy.

The Minehead Coastal Community Team comprises representatives from Minehead Town Council, West Somerset Council, Minehead Chamber of Trade, Minehead Development Trust, Minehead Eye, Engage West Somerset, West Somerset Railway, and others.

 

COMING UP AT REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

The Regal Theatre, Minehead have been very lucky to book the  European Union Chamber Orchestra for Wednesday 5 April.  Directed by Eva Stegemann, the programme will comprise three Mozart works:– Serenade in D K.185, Oboe Concerto K.314, and Adagio for Cor Anglais, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

Soloist Nicholas Daniel (Oboe And Cor Anglais) has played on every continent  and appeared  with leading orchestras across the globe and in the BBC Proms.

EUCO has performed in 73 countries  in major concert halls and Festivals, broadcast on television and radio across  Europe and the USA and had several UK concerts broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £18 are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am-3pm Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm Saturday.

Also coming up:

Friday 31 March at 7.30pm
THE DEANE BIG BAND

On Friday 31 March the ever popular Deane Big Band returns to the Regal Theatre with a good time for all as they bring in some toe-tapping big band classics from the swing era. The band will be playing lots of Glenn Miller hits, as well as some by Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich and Duke Ellington.

Chris Franks will sing songs like ‘Come fly with me’ and ‘ Let’s face the music and dance’; Chris does not have blue eyes like Mr Sinatra – but he does sound just like him!

Hannah Deason-Barrow will sing about that ‘Old Devil Called Love’ but don’t worry – everyone will end up ‘Feeling Good’.

With two great singers as well as a full 17 piece big band – it will be a big sound and joyful evening.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £9 are now available from the Regal Box Office.

 

EASTER AT BARNSTAPLE PANNIER MARKET

Spring is in the air at Barnstaple Pannier Market with the return of Monday markets and an Easter eggstravaganza.

Monday markets make a return on Monday 3 April, offering even more opportunity to visit the town’s unique indoor market. With a wide variety of stalls, including fresh local produce, books, gifts, clothing, crafts and antiques, the market will be open six days a week from April until Christmas, with many Sunday events throughout the year.

On Saturday 15 April, the Easter bunny will be making a special visit to hand out mini chocolate eggs to our young visitors, and there will be an eggciting Easter Egg hunt around the market. Then, between 11am and 1pm, Borderline morris dancers will be performing and Dave Hendy will be doing magic around the market.

Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Spring has definitely sprung at the market with the return of Monday markets and the annual egg hunt.  Please do come along and support the market and enjoy the free family entertainment on Easter Saturday.”

Local ward member for Barnstaple (central town), Councillor Adam Bradford says, “I am delighted that there are now even more opportunities and reasons for us all to enjoy this lively and unique space. We are all looking forward to Easter!”

To keep up to date with the Pannier Market’s news and events, head over to Facebook and like their page: www.facebook.com/BarnstaplePannierMarket/?fref=ts

 

WATCHET’S STREET FAIRS START ON 2 APRIL

Watchet’s second year of colourful Street Fairs begins on 2 April, with music from the Dark Town Strutters, kids’ trapeze and silk and rope drop in workshops from incredible local performer, Lyn Routledge, mouth-watering street food from Broomsquire and Little Van Rouge, fruit and veg, art, craft, local produce and more, all spread across the Esplanade.

The committee is also excited to announce that it has reggae band, Dojo, booked for the May event. Their new single, ‘Bethel’ has been championed by David Rodigan on Radio 1 Extra.

The Street Fairs are run by Watchet Coastal Community Team, who are working to develop tourism and economic growth in the town. They will run on the first Sunday of every month from April through to October.

Last year’s inaugural Street Fairs were a huge success, and led to a threefold increase in the number of visitors to the town.

Cllr Rosemary Woods said, “We’re really excited to be embarking on the second year of Street Fairs. They were a lot of fun last year, and made a big difference to the town, bringing in plenty of visitors. We also aim to support local start-ups, and the evidence is that last year’s events were a real boost for people.”

The Fairs are funded by the central government national initiative, Coastal Communities, which aims to boost Britain’s coastal towns. 118 Coastal Community Teams were created last year and given a share of £1.18m to help drive forward coastal areas growth.

Watchet Coastal Communities Team, which is the organisation behind the Street Fairs, is made up of local people, businesses and organisations in Watchet and includes Town Council, District Council, Watchet Chamber of Trade, Onion Collective CIC, Conservation Society, Market House Museum, West Somerset Railway, Watchet Boat Owners Association and other local business representatives.

Pitches are priced £15- £20. To book a pitch contact Molly Quint on 01984 632592 or email: quint407@btinternet.com

For more information go to the Watchet Street Fair Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/watchetstreetfairs.

ROPE WALK IN WATCHET GETS MAKEOVER

The bank between Harbour Road car park and the train platform in Watchet, known as Rope Walk, is getting a makeover, with weekly community gardening sessions and a commemorative art installation, preserving and celebrating the contribution Wansborough Paper Mill made to the town, both planned for the next month.

Community gardeners will be meeting from 9-12 each Saturday, and ask that if anyone wants to join them, they bring forks, gloves and enthusiasm. Any expert knowledge would also be welcome. The sessions are being run by the Onion Collective CIC, who manage this plot of land between the rail crossing and the visitor centre. Money for the plants has been donated by Watchet’s Community Bookshop.

Sally Lowndes of the Onion Collective said: “We’re hoping to brighten up the bank between the car park and the train platform. The ground is full of ivy and brambles at the moment, so it’s quite heavy work clearing it, but we hope to plant lavender, rosemary and other bee-friendly, fragrant flowering plants there. It’s one of the first sights people have when they arrive in Watchet, so it’s important it looks loved.”

An art installation by Watchet’s Dot Kuzniar, which commemorates the town’s historic paper mill, and was made in collaboration with some of the last workers at the mill is also planned for the fencing behind the bank, and should be in place within the next month, thanks to help from the Watchet Community Makers.

Jon Barrett of Watchet’s Contains Art said: “The closure of Watchet Paper Mill saw the end of 250 years of paper making in this small coastal town. Its decommissioning at the end of 2015 had been quick, though its impact was huge. Long defining the identity of the town there was a real risk that along with the end of its operation the personal memories would be lost forever. Dot is one of several local artists who worked fast to record, preserve and celebrate the story of this Mill, and by installing her work in such a prominent position we aim to commemorate the important contribution the mill made to Watchet.”

If you would like to get involved with the gardening, come along on Saturday mornings, between 9 and 12. For any more information, contact the Onion Collective on 01984 633496 / info@onioncollective.co.uk.

For more information on the Wansborough Paper Mill heritage project, contact Jon Barrett at Contains Art 07583 368072 / jon@containsart.co.uk.

PHOTO:  From left to right, Jess Prendergrast, Sally Lowndes, Georgie Grant, Jenny Barron and Rosemary Woods, clearing brambles.