Wiltshire Publications

Shopkeepers unite to save the High Street

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SHOPKEEPERS in Westbury are joining together to share ideas of how to encourage more visitors to the town, to save the struggling High Street. 

Following the ongoing trend of empty shops in the town centre, a shopkeepers’ forum has been established by the town council for businesses to work together to come up with ideas to attract more residents and tourists to the town. 

Many ideas were shared including a once a month music events on Soisy gardens by the library; a community project to improve the appearance of the town and enter Westbury in the South West in Bloom competition; a town trail or treasure hunt around the town centre; updated noticeboards around the town; and businesses in the town linking with town events – like the Westbury Festival, Christmas market and town’s memorial service – to help with promotion.  There was also the idea to link with national charity events such as Wiltshire Air Ambulance week this coming September. 

The meeting on Tuesday 6th August saw town council representatives cllr Sheila Kimmins, who chaired the meeting, cllr Jane Russ, cllr Barbara Swann and cllr Nick Pyne as well as Chris and Gemma. the new restaurant owners of Cosi; Janie from Miles Apart; Emma from EJ Crafts; Vanessa and Tony of The Woollery and Chris and Claire of CardsPlus. 

Emma Symonds from EJ Crafts on Maristow Street said, “As a way of bringing people into the town, I had the idea of entering Westbury in South West in Bloom. There are loads of amazing gardens in Westbury – Soisy, Victoria Gardens, the church area are all lovely. We could also look to do something with Grassacres park too as that needs some TLC. It could be a community project that links together businesses, Lions and Leos, the freemasons, Westbury Shed and make a huge deal of it. 

“There are also some really nice private gardens in the area that could open  for the day to attract visitors.”

Vanessa Bailey at The Woollery on Warminster Road said, “We also need to try to encompass businesses that aren’t on the High Street too. How about having a treasure hunt, or some form of trail? Each business puts an object in their window display, attach a coloured ribbon to it and people could go around each business and find the items. That way, people get to learn what different businesses there are in the town and where they are.”

Cllr Jane Russ said, “The town council is currently updating the list of town businesses on our website, as well as working on updating noticeboards around the town to help people know where shops are. 

“We are also looking into purchasing a barbecue to lease out for small events to get people interested in being in the Market Place and High Street. Starting next year, we will be looking at holding once a month music events on Soisy gardens by the library to encourage people in. The more little events we do across the year the better.”

If you have any ideas about how business in Westbury could be boosted, email news@whitehorsenews. co.uk with your suggestions.