'Phenomenal response' to consultation on future of Downham Market

Downham Market Town council had cancelled or postponed events in light of government guidelines over

Downham Market Town council had cancelled or postponed events in light of government guidelines over coronavirus. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The response to an ongoing consultation over the future of Downham Market has been described as "phenomenal", after hundreds of people expressed their views.

Businesses, residents and visitors were asked to help shape plans, investments and potential improvements for the west Norfolk town after a three-week consultation was launched on Monday, May 10.

Opportunities Downham Market, which is led by a partnership including Downham Market Town Council and West Norfolk Council, has received 313 responses, with over half of those responding said to be interested in being involved with the project.

More than 106 comments were also posted in response to a Facebook post about it with people calling for improved parking in the town and better play equipment at the Howdale - a call that has seen community members step up in efforts to provide it.

Others suggested facilities for young people such as a roller rink, laser tag, craft clubs or bowling, with one person commenting that teenagers in the town are "bored".

Mayor Jenny Groom said: "This is a phenomenal response and we are absolutely delighted that so many people have taken the time to give us their views.  

"People have submitted a range of ideas for the town and the town hall building, which will be a great basis for discussion as we start to draw plans together.

"We really want to hear from people, to see what they think of the town, what the positives are and where the areas for improvement might be."

She said those involved are looking at ways to encourage people back into the town centre and to "capitalise" on the opportunities presented by people who are now homeworking rather than commuting - something business owner's said they were benefiting from.

Ms Groom said: "We  have a fabulous, historic town hall, which is currently underused.

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"We want to hear people's ideas for how that valuable asset can be put to better use. We need to have plans ready so that we can secure any funding that might be available."

The consultation is still open until midnight on May 28, to take part visit surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QRVSQLS