Ideas to help reinvigorate Haverhill’s Queen Street were debated at a full meeting of the Town Council. on Tuesday (29).
A drive to improve the area is part of One Haverhill’s masterplan and is considered instrumental to the town’s future prosperity.
“Representatives from shops come to Haverhill and will hopefully say it’s a nice place,” said town clerk, Colin Poole. “To an extent, we have to speculate to encourage businesses to come.”
John Mayhew of the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce had a number of suggestions, including placing attractive placards in empty shop windows with inspiring images of Haverhill’s future.
Mr Mayhew also drew attention to the need for stronger visual elements in the area.
“We should have some sort of a brand in the town,” he said. “Much more than the Haverhill CB9.”
Councillor Betty McLatchy also had suggestions for improving the area.
She noted that a lot of shops have been left vacant for some time and that, if the owners of the properties could be tracked down, they may be persuaded to let them out to small start up businesses at a favourable rate in the short term.
This, she argued, would re-invigorate the area and create value in a part of town that is currently overlooked.
Cllr McLatchy also suggested a covered walkway between the Tesco supermarket and the town centre, which would help to encourage people to use local shops as well as the supermarket.
She also noted that the opening of the supermarket may have detracted from smaller shops in the area.
But this was refuted by Paul Donno, chairman of the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.
It was also suggested that art students could be brought in to provide exterior decoration for boarded up or vacant shops.
Ideas were discussed for improving the footfall in the area by taking advantage of the popularity of the High Street market.
“It doesn’t have to be the way it is down there,” said Cllr Tony Brown. “If we work together, we can do it.”