Councillor pens bumper dossier featuring 65 ideas to rescue Honiton’s struggling high street
PUBLISHED: 16:38 17 October 2018
A dossier of ideas to improve the face of Honiton’s high street has been penned by one of its long-serving district councillors.
Cllr Mike Allen, who lives in the town, said the community can manage Honiton’s image better than its currently doing.
He added: “The wealth of commercial destinations available today means it is no longer enough to expect people to turn up on the high street.
“Effort has to go into getting the basics right to make any high street the primary destination for people and business. There are many schemes that can act as the building blocks to constructing a viable place for people to trade, employ and reside.”
Cllr Allen’s dossier comprises 65 ‘options’ which he believes, if taken up, will improve Honiton’s high street.
These options include setting up local business awards - similar schemes are already up and running in Exmouth and Sidmouth - and improving access to the high street.
Cllr Allen said Honiton’s shopping scene would improve should the town’s car parks be reviewed, pay and display ticket machines were replaced with ‘cash-back systems’ and a park and ride facility was introduced.
He added: “Transport considerations are among some of the most important for town centres. With limited amounts of space, busy roads quickly become congested bringing hazards and pollution to open spaces.”
More options floated include the installation of public art displays, such as murals, sculptures and street furniture, and a town ‘trail’ - where tourists follow a route through the town calling at the major visitor attractions and heritage sites.
Cllr Allen said work needs to be done to ‘reverse the decline’ of Honiton’s existing markets, and that French-style set-ups can introduce a ‘harmony of design’.
Further options suggested by Cllr Allen include the introduction of a town loyalty card to encourage shoppers to return to the high street, or turning empty shops into temporary art or fashion pop-ups.
He added: “By creating a partnership often involving agents, landlords and artists, this type of scheme can have a really strong impact in towns of any size by attracting visitors and reducing the gaps in the street.”
Cllr Allen submitted his dossier of idea to Honiton Town Council earlier this month.