Parish Councillors were left in no doubt about how passionately Ruddingtonians care about the future of our unique village centre after people packed into their specially called meeting.
Around 140 residents and traders turned up to have their say tonight (Thursday 12th April) and to hear what help the Parish Council and the community might be able to offer local businesses during tough times for traditional shops.
Over recent years, as in many towns and villages, Ruddington’s banks have shut down – inevitably reducing footfall for other traders – whilst other very long established and valued businesses such as Horspool’s Bakery, Grice’s of Ruddington and Barclay & Cook have also been lost. But it was the sudden closure over Easter of sixty year old family greengrocer’s Glyn Thomas Ltd – which many saw as the life and soul of our High Street – which prompted Ruddington Parish Council to call this extraordinary meeting.
The session at St Peter’s Rooms opened with Chairman Allen Wood explaining that the purpose of the meeting was to talk about what businesses, residents and the Parish Council can do together to ensure Ruddington had a thriving village centre. He said he believes anything involving the Parish Council on its own would fail to achieve the desired outcomes. Councillor Mark Pinks then opened the discussion saying that, in his opinion, the best way forward would be to create a forum or sub-committee to discuss ideas. He now has a list of at least 50 ideas that have been put together by he and various people – although too large to go through in detail at the meeting.
During the adjournment, members of the public spoke passionately about various ideas including a farmers’ market, making more use of the media available, and not just relying on passing trade. Our village’s problem exists in society as a whole – with people working long hours and shopping online. By engaging with the landlords of the buildings it was suggested businesses should work together as a group – reminding villagers to “use it or lose it”. To support the local shops, villagers should be prepared to spend just a little more money.
Inevitably the thorny issue of a lack of parking came up – with calls for people to walk instead of driving to the village centre. Other ideas included renting private driveways for parking spaces – and perhaps using the village green to provide car parking, too?
Back in session, Councillors noted a lack of representation from younger people at the meeting – and also from residents of the newer estates in our village. It was suggested that The Parish Council should try to reach out to engage with these people and find out what they wanted.
Before the meeting ended, RPC resolved to start a “business forum” comprising businesses, residents and Councillors. Attendees were asked to fill out a contact form if they wished to be part of it – after which 30 residents and businesses left their details.
If you couldn’t attend the meeting – but would also like to be involved – you’re asked to contact the Parish Council on 0115 914 6660 or by emailing email@example.com.
Our grateful thanks to Parish clerk Claire Dorans and Councillor Paul Reedman for the information and photographs from the meeting.
UPDATE 14th APRIL 2018:
Courtesy of Ruddington Post Office, a pop-up greengrocer’s and plant stall appeared on High Street today with help from former Thomas’s manager Ian Whittaker! One of those supporting it was villager Cathy Brown who told us: “Following the enthusiastic support for local shops at the EGM on 12th April, I only hope that people will now show support for Soham`s venture at the Post Office. The loss of our Post Office would be terrible. Despite a comment made on Thursday night, there are those among us who still have the ability & inclination write cards & letters! Don`t forget – use it or lose it!!”
We’ll keep you posted on further developments…