BUSINESSES are working in partnership to put the ‘wow factor’ into their town centre.
The Liskeard Traders Association has envisioned hanging gardens, a bandstand, arches to draw the eye into town centre streets, and a covered galleria-type area in Fore Street as part of an ambitious project to attract more shoppers.
They’re working together with the Chamber of Commerce to take the plans forward, with the aim of improving the experience for those who live in and near the town, as well as drawing in more visitors, businesses and investment.
Earlier this year the Liskeard Traders Town Projects company was formed as an offshoot of the Traders Association, and the company has applied for £39,000 from the Good Growth Shared Prosperity Fund.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce has applied for £20,000 from Cornwall’s Community Capacity Fund, to which it will add £1,000 of its own. If the bids are successful, the money will be used for a feasibility study into the installations that are planned.
“It’s all designed to make Liskeard a destination town, and it’s really building on the good work Liskeard in Bloom have been doing over the past few years,” said chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Julian Smith.
Wrought-iron arches, perhaps embellished with flowers or lights, will act as a welcome and a signpost into the shopping areas, while living walls will cover some of the drab bare walls, giving a greener look and attracting pollinators. A canopy over part of Fore Street would provide a central focus as well as shelter from the rain, and a small bandstand in Bay Tree Hill would be a place for pop up music or other entertainment.
“It would probably mean losing one or two parking spaces but we feel the benefits to the retail businesses in attracting more footfall would outweigh this. But we’d actually be looking to find ways to replace the lost spaces elsewhere, and our Highways consultant will be advising about this,” said Mr Smith.
“There’ll be full consultation of course and we’ll listen to what the retailers say, but so far the response has been that it’s a great idea, we need to bring footfall into Liskeard.”
As well as being the owner of the business consultancy company Hemmick Services, Julian Smith is also a town councillor and has been on Cornwall Council’s working party for the Cattle Market regeneration plans. He could be said to occupy an ideal - if not easy - position between the different groups all wanting to see Liskeard thrive.
With the Workshed building and covered market area about to come to completion, and the Liskeard Traders Town Projects bid hopefully to receive news in early July, “things are all coming together” said Mr Smith.
“The Workshed and the Services Hub will bring more people into the shops, we think it will be hugely beneficial to the town.”