Wotton traders meet to boost high street's fortunes

Wotton-under-Edge Chamber of Trade held a meeting of Wotton businesses to see how town's fortunes could be improved (5190642)

Wotton-under-Edge Chamber of Trade held a meeting of Wotton businesses to see how town's fortunes could be improved (5190642)

First published in News

TRADERS in Wotton-under-Edge (WUE) are making renewed efforts to revitalise the town and encourage more shoppers and business into the area.

Spearheaded by a reinvigorated WUE Chamber of Trade, the town’s businesses met on Thursday, April 3 to discuss ideas and plans to boost Wotton’s attractiveness.

Despite initially seeming to throw cold water on the plan, the chamber is looking at the introduction of a new market in the town, as well as pushing the farmers’ market.

To show the level of support, a vote was held for the introduction of a market, with the meeting’s visitors voting 20 for it, three against and around 20 abstaining.

Reservations were made about where and when the market could be but many showed optimism for holding it in conjunction with Wotton Auction Room’s sales.

Other issues raised at the meeting included the amount of rubbish being found in the town and the amount of dog poo found on the streets.

Litter bins and benches were also said to be in short supply, as well as recycling points, while others highlighted the state of the town’s public toilets, describing them as “disgusting”.

One suggestion to encourage visitors was a window dressing competition between the stores, suggested by Wotton Town Council clerk Sue Bailey.

Another suggestion was an initiative where visitors could go on a “trail” to find certain figurines, like the Gromits seen recently in Bristol and hares in Cirencester.

The chamber of trade is looking to publish new leaflets and a town map, highlighting where customers could find the various independent stores, and is to place them in surrounding towns.

The possibility of updating the town guide was also mentioned as it was now 15-years-old.

In addition, members were told about a promotional video that Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School students were currently making.

A survey was also raised as a good way to find out shoppers’ needs, what they liked and didn’t like and what they would like to see more of in the town.

After some discussion it was decided not to look at seeing if stores would extend opening hours as WUE Chamber of Trade president, Alex Wilkinson, said it was entirely up to traders when they opened.

The chamber has seen its membership boosted by 15 paid members to 65 in only a few months and Mr Wilkinson is confident there will be over 100 by the end of the year and is encouraging every Wotton business to become a member.

“We’re proud of what we have achieved over the last couple of years,” he said.

“The chamber of trade is here to help you guys, we want to push things in the town and we really want to make things work. We’re all on the same team."

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