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Collaboration is the key to Reimagining Our Towns
Cornwall Chamber of Commerce helmed a conference in Cornwall Business Week centred around the theme of what can be done to reimagine and revitalise towns and town centres in Cornwall
The Reimagining Our Towns conference was the beginning of a year-long campaign to urge businesses, town planning departments, town chambers and BIDs to consider the various ways in which towns can be enhanced to meet the needs of the 21st century.
The next steps are for Cornwall Chamber to use the energy and insight created at their conference to ask the various local groups to contact their networks and gather as much feedback as possible on what can be done to breathe new life into our towns. Whilst there is a lot of positive news in Cornwall, there is still work to be done, and Cornwall Chamber of Commerce will use feedback from the series of surveys and workshops campaign to inform initiatives to make change happen.
An emerging theme from the conference was the need to place people at the centre of towns, using them as community spaces, and creating experiences. Something that goes far beyond simply retail.
Speaking at the conference, Anthony Shapland from Colliers International said, “We have to use our towns better. There are some good news stories of towns having turned the corner. It is happening. St Austell was a failing town six years ago. It certainly isn't now. Going from ghost town to boom town can be done. In fact, all towns in Cornwall are doing it."
Victoria Clark from Fowey Chamber of Commerce said, “The speakers were really inspiring and the two key themes across all presentations of ‘people’ and ‘collaboration’ when it comes reimagining our high streets really resonated with us. We immediately came away with new ideas and new strategies and are really looking forward to the next round of events.”
CEO of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and initiator of the campaign, Kim Conchie said, “‘Reimagining our Towns’ is one of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce’s major themes for 2019-20 and has really caught the public mood. Over 100 delegates attended the opening conference from Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), Town Chambers, Cornwall Council, retail, construction and design businesses, community leaders and academia. It is the issue of our times and some of Cornwall’s lovely town communities felt the downturn in retail early and are already coming up with 21st Century solutions. We care about our place; so it’s great we’re taking a lead on rethinking how it will best work for the future.”