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Plan to brighten up town centre's empty shop windows

Thursday, 23rd October 2014.

ONE Haverhill, led by the Chamber of Commerce, is to take up the cudgels against property owners in the town's high street who neglect their empty premises.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has failed in all efforts to interact with owners of shop premises in the street, most of whom are absentee.

But John Mayhew, the Chamber of Commerce representative on the board of ONE Haverhill, said they had now managed to trace all the owners via freedon of information legislation, and were getting ready to write to them.

This was the first part of a new project which he was leading as part of attempts to improve the town centre now, rather than waiting for the proposed masterplan to be drawn up.

He told ONE Haverhill's public forum on Wednesday about the Mary Portas project, from which the borough council had received 10,000 which it had passed on to the Chamber of Commerce to spend as it saw fit for Haverhill town centre.

Members had fixed on a plan to brighten up all empty shop windows with posters giving town signage, information, what's on details and historical background to the town.

To do this they needed to get the sanction of the property owners, so they were now going to write to them all in the hope they would let them go into the premises and put the postees on the insides of windows to limit vandalism.

He hinted they may have alternative methods in mind if property-owners ignored their communications, when he said how impressed he was by a story from Exmouth where town clerk Colin Poole was previously employed.

In that case a suggestion to paint dilapidated railings had run into a snag when it was discovered they didn't own the railings, but it had been decided to go ahead and paint them anyway.

This was the sort of 'can do' attitude that was needed in Haverhill, Mr Mayhew said.

Property-owners were to be asked why it was necessary that the rear of their premises, regularly viewed by visitors from car parks, should 'look like Dakar'.

"We can't expect quick results," he said, "but empty shop windows are often interpreted as decline."

Teresa Foddering of ARevolution, who is the retail representative on the Chamber of Commerce had come up with the project, working with Haverhill partnership The Design Office to design the posters and Haverhill printers Stylise to print them.

Haverhill Online News

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