Market Towns – A special interest group –
By Chris Windridge
Market Towns have traditionally been at the heart of rural areas, with a heritage of market spaces, heritage architecture, a mix of food production, residential, retail, economic, social and public sector functions. Some have acted as significant employment hubs too, with the additions of significant light industrial businesses As places with historic infrastructure many continue to thrive, and others have been challenged as technology and the economics of the legacy model has changed dramatically.
Within the Revive & Thrive membership are several Market or “ex Market” Towns and many small towns that whilst they may not have a significant market function, still act as local hubs in wider areas. Several national or regional bodies previously existed as market or small town membership organisations, promoting the vitality of these towns through various schemes, typically looking at place making, economic sustainability, creating “Town Teams” and blending business & community interests in a variety of ways.
Many of the market towns have launched BIDs, or where size justifies have town centre managers, or are significantly engaged in a variety of place making initiatives. These of course are the same as Revive and Thrive and their involvement is very welcome.
So, we are interested to hear from any of the current membership who are either small towns with up to populations of 35,000, or indeed a classic “Market Town” to see, if a half page every now and again with topics linked to this segment is of interest.
By way of background I acted as a regional coordinator for these types of towns for both AMT and in the South East from 2007 to 2011, when government funding ceased.
I am now engaged in Place Making, a BID, Neighbourhood Plan and a Town Design Statement/Masterplan for a town in Surrey called Caterham, with a population of around 28,000 and have found Revive & Thrive a very helpful organisation for those types of interests.
Do let us know if some elements of Market Town’s needs and interests would be a good area to concentrate on