New hospital services and a pedestrianised town centre - is this the Dereham of the future you want?
- Credit: Ian Burt
A community organisation working to highlight all that is good about Dereham has unveiled its vision for the future of the town.
The aboutDereham partnership has developed its own version of what it believes the mid-Norfolk market town could look like in the not too distant future.
The partnership believes that a vision - to be agreed by residents, the town council and other organisations - would create a starting point for positive change.
Chairman Mike Webb said: "The aboutDereham's mission is to ensure that Dereham is a good place to live, a great place to visit.
"We can only achieve that if we work in partnership with the town council and others.
"In order to get the changes we would all like to see, we need to work together with the town, district and county councils to deal with the significant backlog of things that need doing in the town.
"Ultimately, it is the councils that have the resources and the democratic responsibility."
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To create the vision, the aboutDereham partnership looked at what had been achieved in other market towns, such as Cirencester in Gloucestershire.
The document includes proposals such as:
- The pedestrianisation of Market Place.
- Improvements to the town while preserving architectural features and sites of historic interest.
- Successful co-operation in marketing the town and its amenities.
- Re-purposing of retail units into good quality office accommodation and dwellings.
- Monthly farmers markets and quarterly arts and craft fairs in the Market Place, with stalls and canopies in green and white stripes.
- Improvements to schools.
- New services at the town's hospital, including a minor injuries unit.
Currently, there is no published vision for Dereham. The partnership has developed its own with the aim of provoking debate to reach an agreed direction.
Carolyn Coleman, secretary of aboutDereham, said: "Our vision deliberately gives a rosy view of Dereham in the future. Without such a vision, how can we or anyone else, plan what to achieve for the town?"
Vice chairman Ken Hawkins added: "The partnership has already promoted several priorities for action and the vision hopefully explains what we are we aiming at.
"If you agree with our vision please tell us. More importantly, if you disagree please tell us what you think it should be instead."
The aboutDereham partnership is an association of voluntary and community groups with a common aim of raising the profile of the town.
Contact aboutDereham by emailing email@example.com.
· What do you think of the plans? Do you like the proposed vision or do you think other priorities face the town? Email reporter Donna-Louise Bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your comments on the Facebook page .