‘Town team’ group must win fight against apathy

A BATTLE against apathy needs to be won if a bid to regenerate Hucknall town centre is to prove successful, it was claimed at a public meeting.

The chairman of Hucknall Partnership Group, Brenda Shelbourne, said so many people felt ‘Why bother? It is not going to happen.”

A lack of bunting and Union flags in the town for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee — highlighted by a letter-writer to the Dispatch’s ‘Have Your Say’ pages last week — was given as an example of the indifferent attitude.

However, the meeting finished on a positive note with plans to form a ‘town team’ in Hucknall, comprising representatives of businesses and the local community.

Hucknall’s town-centre manager Mark Armstrong said: “There is a lot of passion here and we need to harness it. We want all the major players involved, including the police and Notts County Council.

“We have got to get cracking with the ‘town team’ so that it will come up with strategic proposals.”

‘Town teams’ have been recommended by retail expert Mary Portas to put the heart back into high streets and make them accessible, attractive and safe.

A suggestion was made to build the ‘town team’ from the currently inactive Hucknall Business Voice, which was formed to provide representation, unity and support for the town’s shops. It was pointed out that the organisation has funds and its own constitution.

An idea put forward at the meeting by Colleen Smee, who works for Kerry’s the florists on Watnall Road, Hucknall, was warmly welcomed.

She called for the setting-up of small business units, such as people wanting to sell cupcakes, in large empty shops.

Coun Lachlan Morrison, a Hucknall Labour member of Ashfield District Council, said: “Nobody knows better than the traders what needs to be done to encourage people to use the local shops. The council needs to take on board what has come from this meeting.”