THE results of a new survey has been published with the goal of boosting Wotton.

Businesses were asked what had changed since 2019, prior to the pandemic, as well as their thoughts on the current state of the town centre.

Concerns were raised about the closure of Lloyds Bank, business closures, the lack of a reliable bus service and delays in the delivery of the new car park.

Other respondents expressed concerns about excessive scaffolding, insufficient parking, anti-social behaviour, and a lack of diversity in types of businesses in the town.

Comments also suggested new toilets are needed at the War Memorial bus stop.

The survey was organised by the Stroud & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce in collaboration with Wotton Town Council.

Approximately 24 businesses took part in the survey, which ran between December 5, 2023 and January 2, 2024.

According to the chamber, many businesses previously expressed high levels of confidence in trading within the town and the view today is “less certain”. 

However, the survey has been described as “the first step” by the chamber in helping drive footfall and raising the appeal of the town.

Wotton has seen a period of 'uncertainty and change' says chamber 

Tony Davey, chair of the Stroud & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce said: "Wotton, as in many towns of its size across the country, has seen a period of both uncertainty and change in recent times. 

"Current economic instability, coupled with lower consumer confidence than we would like, impacts our high streets and those who use them. 

“Businesses often open and close, but at times like these the movements seem more noticeable. 

“That the trading confidence level has dropped is no surprise at all, but understanding the direction of travel and setting a benchmark is essential. 

“We were also keen to understand where the business pain points were and to help the businesses look to mitigate them, where possible."
The survey report was officially launched last month at the Civic Centre to an audience of traders as well as representatives from the town council and Stroud District Council.

The document covers a range of topics, including sentiment analysis and target demographics, as well as common problems and who can address or influence their resolution.

Gazette Series: Wotton Town Council

Mr Davey added: "The fact-gathering was the essential first step. We now have a benchmark upon which to measure the success of our actions. 

“We are now looking to work with stakeholders to establish how Wotton can be supported to further grow and thrive; empowering the businesses to move forward and continue to provide value to the communities around them. 

“Measures from increased marketing of the town and improving its digital footprint, to where potential grant investment could make the most difference to the town, are all on the table. 

“I expect we will also be looking to understand more from the communities around the town who rely on the town centre. 

“The launch briefing and discussions went very well and from the feedback I received I believe the town's traders are keen to continue to move forward. 

“If the communities in and around Wotton continue to support their businesses, I strongly believe we have a bright future ahead."

You can view the full report here -