Community and stakeholder engagement has been central to shaping the Town Investment Plan, testing with the whole community the core themes and principles behind the mix of intervention, ensuring they are supported by the community and meet local needs. The Town Deal Board reviewed relevant feedback from previous consultations, staged online focus groups and socially-distanced discussions with key stakeholders and invited everyone to take part in the #MyTown national survey and a supplementary local survey. Engagement will continue on individual projects through to delivery.
The local survey was promoted during summer 2020 under the banner of “Our Place is Your Stage”, inviting residents, businesses and other stakeholders to take centre stage in shaping the Town Investment Plan by sharing their own priorities for investment. A total of 387 completed responses were received over three weeks.
Overall, 80% of all respondents agree or strongly agree the Town Deal Board has the right mix of ideas and priorities to help to make our place more attractive as a place to live work, visit, invest and create. Some 28% strongly agree and only 4% strongly disagree with the overall vision. All investment themes score highly for importance with respondents, with Regeneration and Businesses Development, and Skills and Aspiration having essentially the joint highest scores of 88% very important or important.
In September two virtual consultation meetings took place via Zoom. The first of these engaged with the towns businesses and the second with young people. It was key to understand their thoughts and feelings on the town’s strengths and weaknesses and future proposals.