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From My Perspective: June 2022

Councillor Tony Holden Published: 26 May 2022

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Tony Holden

Way back in August 2021 I put a proposal to Wymondham Town Council. It was to establish a working group, rather snappily called Bright Future. Its purpose was simply to establish a very necessary, but until then lacking link between the Town Council, our high street traders, community groups, South Norfolk Council and residents. Rather naively I expected all of my fellow councillors to want to be a part of this initiative. What’s not to like about the idea of establishing a dialogue with the folks who have elected us and whose interests we are there to serve? Although the proposal was passed, support from councillors was less forthcoming than I had hoped. I’ve even heard the suggestion that this was just a ‘talking shop’ that would amount to nothing. I was lucky to have the backing of a few forward-thinking colleagues who helped to take the project from an idea to reality.

So, after a rather difficult beginning the Bright Future working group was born. Our initial meeting was addressed by the leader of South Norfolk Council John Fuller. He saw the merit of the group and wished us well in our efforts to shape the town.

At that first meeting I will admit to being more than a bit nervous. I was concerned that we were raising expectations, and that when push came to shove, we wouldn’t be able to deliver. Less than a year has gone by, and already what was being hailed as a talking shop is well on the way to producing results that we could not have predicted 12 months ago. So far the council has begun working towards better communications by creating a list of email addresses for our all-important high street traders. It has agreed to fund a Town Coordinator for a trial period of a year, a role which will deliver tailored support for a wide range of businesses and town stakeholders and promote the attributes of the town to residents and visitors.

Further exciting conversations are ongoing regarding improving the town centre experience for pedestrians, hosting themed Summer Saturday Markets, developing community infrastructure projects and more. Each meeting works like a brainstorming session which the Councillors use to formulate proposals for the full Council to consider.

Being a town councillor can be soul destroying. If you ask anyone why they stood for election they will probably say ‘because I want to make a difference’. Believe me, that’s much easier said than done, which is why I am immensely proud of what we have achieved so far, and what we will achieve in the future. We are definitely making a difference, and by working together we will create a bright future for Wymondham.

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