THE TEAM which hopes to see Arbroath High Street rejuvenated received a severe setback at the end of last week when a meeting scheduled to discuss measure which could be put in place was cancelled.
Arbroath and Area Partnership announced that the ‘Hope on the High Street’ event which had been planned for Wednesday in the Webster Memorial Theatre had to be called off due to a low uptake of places.
The partnership is currently working on the regeneration of Arbroath town centre through the Arbroath Town Centre Regeneration Group.
The group - comprising the Arbroath and Area Partnership, the Arbroath and Area Local Community Planning Team, the Royal Burgh of Arbroath Community Council, local businesses and local elected members - is working hard to deliver an innovative package of redevelopment to attract more visitors, help existing traders to flourish, encourage new business to the area and invigorate the town centre for the benefit of the local community.
The event was being held in order to address the all too familiar concerns about the demise of high streets in many of our town centres, and it offered a unique opportunity to participate in planning how we can breathe new life into the High Street and boost business for local traders.
While the meeting was to take place throughout the day - the Wednesday had been decided upon as this was the traditional half-day closing day in the town - in order to allow time for a full and varied programme of both presentations and action planning, the group had offered the opportunity for those who could not manage along on the day to attend a shorter feedback event on the same evening.
However, the uptake of places for the alternative evening event was also low.
Harry Simpson, chair of the Arbroath and Area Partnership, commented: “I am disappointed that there was a low uptake of places at the event, but would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who had booked places.
“Our group will be in touch again in due course as we are now looking at alternative ways to progress this priority. We recognise that the High Street is at the heart of any town and we will be continuing in our efforts to transform Arbroath High Street into a more attractive, vibrant and visitor friendly space.”
Arbroath councillor Alex King echoed Mr Simpson’s sentiments. He said: “I am very disappointed that the ‘Hope on the High Street’ event has had to be cancelled through lack of numbers.
“Arbroath and Area Partnership has been working hard for quite some time to try to give the shopkeepers of Arbroath an opportunity to discuss how shopping in the High Street could be improved.”
And Chic Grant, of Outdoor Action, High Street, a retailer member of the Arbroath Town Centre Regeneration Group, also expressed his disappointment.
He stated: “It is a great shame, after all the effort which has been made to try to do something for the town, that the response was so poor.
“Some retailers had objected to the meeting being held during the day as they said they were owner run and could not afford to close their shops.
“They missed out on various workshops and discussion which might have given them ideas on how they could boost their own businesses. They would also have been asked specifically what they want to see on the High Street.”
Mr Grant concluded: “An opportunity to come back in the evening received no take-up.”
For more information about the work of the Arbroath Town Centre Regeneration Group and how you can get involved, please contact the Arbroath and Area Local Community Planning Team on 01241 433258 or email firstname.lastname@example.org