Summer has truly arrived with gorgeous weather and spectacular sunsets. The town council has further lifted the summery feel with this year’s floral displays on roundabouts main roads and the High Street. With costs forever on the rise, we have had to increase the amount spent on these displays but have only received positive feedback on these splashes of colour throughout the town.
In mid-Summer it seems bizarre to be planning for the end of the year, but on 1st December we will be celebrating “Small Business Saturday”. It will be a chance to showcase our excellent pluckyentrepreneurs since Shepton seems to be bucking the national trend in retail. We have fewer empty premises than we’ve had for many years.
As large retailers, like House of Fraser and even M&S, retreatfrom town centres across the whole of the UK, fostering and developing small independent retailers has become the best and maybe only way to stop the death of the High Street. Certainly, Shepton is bouncing back, and we should celebrate and continue to support this.
With quality floral displays, greater effort to keep the town clean and tidy, and support for a wider range of events in town, we are starting to make a difference working in partnership with the community. We also need to make long term commitments to help resurface Town Street and Market Place, and replace and renew the confusing signage in the centre.
We live in a peaceful town but on occasion there is off-putting anti-social behaviour. The town council invests £9000 a year on CCTV, but we need to use this recorded evidence in combination with information from local people to identify when and where the trouble happens. Please use the 101 helpline to tell the Police if you see or hear of an incident.
I believe it is essential that your local councillors keep their skills and knowledge up to date for you have confidence in our abilities. For that reason, last week I attended a training session in Somerton on how to be a successful Parish Chairman. Most of our town councillors live in Shepton and want the town to flourish and grow. They do not receive payment for their time, and I have not claimed for petrol or other expenses while representing you. I can only hope that this column, week-after-week demonstrates that we are working positively on your behalf, and perhaps even doing more than you might have imagined!
Chris Inchley, Chairman, Shepton Mallet Town Council