How would you spend £100,000 to improve our High Street?

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has been awarded £100,000 by the Government to help bring empty high street properties back into use.

Our borough is one of 100 which will share the £10 million ‘High Street Innovation Fund’, part of the Government’s response to the report by retail guru Mary Portas on how to breathe life back into struggling high streets.

Vague intentions

The Council has so far been vague about how it plans to spend this money.  Council leader Joan Speirs said, “We are already doing a number of the things suggested in the Portas Review, like working with businesses to help our borough prosper and working to create a more vibrant daytime and evening economy through our regeneration work in Redhill and Horley.

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The results are in

Actually, the results have been in for a while, but other demands on our time have delayed this post.

At our public event last month we received over 200 comments on post-it notes, and nearly 40 people filled in our feedback forms. These were all transcribed and combined into a response to the Redhill Town Centre Area Action Plan (RTCAAP), which was submitted to the Council just before the end of the consultation period.

The feedback included strong support for the idea that Redhill needs investment. Many people have negative perceptions of Redhill, are not proud of living here, and would like a more vibrant town centre, with good public facilities as well as a wider range of shops.

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Hundreds have their say at Love Redhill event

Our Love Redhill consultation event in the old Kandootoo shop yesterday was very well attended.

Hundreds of people visited our exhibition about the Council’s Redhill regeneration plans. Most had a good look around – many staying for  20 minutes or longer – looking at our displays and reading the many comments and ideas other visitors had added on post-it notes.

As well as the post-its, many visitors left longer comments on our feedback sheets. We are now collating all the feedback, ready for submission to the Council before the consultation period finishes on Friday.

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Making an exhibition of ourselves

Come to an exhibition on Saturday 18th February in Redhill town centre to discuss the future of our town.

The Council has just published the impressively titled Redhill Town Centre Area Action Plan.

At 167 pages, this bulky document describes what they want for our town centre over the next 15 years. Big shops, tall offices and expensive new homes mainly, plus a hotel and a cinema – but with the same road layout. Redhill clearly needs some of these things, but the document reads like a wish list for developers.

Where are the community facilities, social housing, small low-rent units for specialist shops and new local enterprises, and the understanding that a vibrant town centre needs more than places to work and shop?

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Images of Redhill

Plans are afoot to regenerate Redhill town centre (the plans are available online here). Currently they just seem to involve more shops, offices and housing. Surely a town centre is more than this?

Local people should have more say in the planning process. What do you love about Redhill? What do you hate? How can it be improved?

We have created a public flickr group for pictures of Redhill: http://www.flickr.com/groups/imagesofredhill/ . Any pictures added to the group will automatically be displayed below. (Please add a caption to let us know what you like – or don’t like – about the place pictured.)

(Click a picture to see its caption)

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