Since October 2022, we’ve been finding out what matters to locals about their town and asking what they’d like to see happen here, using the Place Plan as the driver for change.

On 24 January, we brought this phase of engagement to a close at another lively Listening & Visioning meeting – this time in the Rugby Club. It happened to fall on the same night as a meeting about medical practice changes in the town – typical! This is what happens in a town where things are changing. Some were conflicted about which meeting to attend, so we offered a Zoom Live alternative on 25 January to for folk who wanted to do both.

Our previous meetings had been held in the Millennium Centre so we hoped using the Rugby Club this time might attract some new faces – and it definitely did.

Maybe the George Hotel cupcakes helped too – baked with images of the hotel on top to celebrate the arts hub, bunkhouse and climbing/caving centre securing £15 million funding recently.

Locals had to work for their supper – kindly provided by the Fed Up Cafe – and were rewarded with a bit of entertainment from Stacey Joy to close the night.

The main chunk of the night was sharing information about the Place Plan and asking locals to talk at their tables about issues and come up with solutions. Then they had to do the trickier job of prioritising ideas.

Each table fed back their thoughts and there was plenty of common ground as well as a good range of ideas.

Folk used red and green hearts to signal ‘for’ or ‘against’ discussions around one hot topic… transport. Buses and trains, routes and paths, parking and pedestrianisation were all discussed. Definitely one area for the Place Plan to focus.