Plans progress to revitalise Devizes Market Place
This transfer of assets and services will empower Devizes to be able to attract more people into the town through events and improved experiencesSimon Jacobs, chair of Devizes Area Board
Short stay on-street parking and ambitious plans to make Devizes Market Place a focal point for visitors are on the cards.
The town council will take over a number of assets and services from Wiltshire Council on 1 April this year.
Already the town council has a range of ideas including plans to reclaim the market place as a community focal point and inject fresh ideas into other parts of the town.
Although free parking in the Market Place was removed as part of a parking review a year ago, the changes were not implemented straight away to allow talks with the town council. Under the plans for the Market Place some blue badge parking and taxi rank provision will remain but the rest of the space will be used for community events.
To offset these changes there are plans to change the longer stay parking around the Market Place to free 30-minute spaces for short-stay shoppers. The plans will be subject to consultation as part of a Traffic Regulation Order.
Simon Jacobs, chair of Devizes Area Board said: "This transfer of assets and services will empower Devizes to be able to attract more people into the town through events and improved experiences. Towns need to find new ways to bring people into their centres and new ways to keep them there. Those are based around experiences and leisure, as well as the retail offer.
"Free parking in the Market Place was removed as part of a parking review over a year ago. We did not implement this change at the time to enable discussions with Devizes Town Council. To assist very short stay shoppers we are working with Devizes Town Council to ensure that there are free 30-minute on-street parking places in the centre of Devizes around the market place alongside the other parking available in the town."
Under the transfer package, Shambles Market and the outdoor market will be part of the transfer which will also include:
- Grounds maintenance
- Responsibility for amenities including parks
- Street scene assets on the highways
- Management of the weekly market
- Management of the Shambles indoor market
- Management of the woodland parks/nature reserves
Devizes will also benefit from Section 106 money for developments in the area.
Devizes Town Clerk, Simon Fisher said "We are contacting local businesses and residents and soon we will be sharing ideas which we believe will breathe new life into our town and reclaim the Market Place as a community venue which can offer markets, events and entertainment.
"We know there are concerns on parking which is why we are looking at the options which will encourage shoppers while ensuring we provide a valuable community space in the heart of our town."
Business owner Richard Jaggs believes the conversion of the Market Place to community use is a "bold and exciting step."
Richard is the founder and director of Resolution Design, Design and Marketing Agency based in central Devizes. He is a previous president of the Devizes Chamber of Commerce and current executive committee member.
He said: "Whilst this change certainly has challenges, there is a great opportunity in the longer term to transform the centre of the town, to create an attractive, people-friendly space that will make Devizes a more attractive destination and bring benefit to businesses."