Kate writes a bi-weekly column for the Uttoxeter Echo. This column was originally featured in the 29th April print edition.
Just over a week ago residents in Burton and Uttoxeter, and across England, had many of their freedoms restored as coronavirus restrictions were further eased. It has been great to see our community sensibly enjoying a pint in the pub garden, going out for a meal or visiting our town centre once again to shop.
Uttoxeter town centre, like others across the UK, has had a difficult year with the pandemic but High Streets were experiencing a difficult time beforehand, trying to adapt to meet the challenges of 21st century and competing with online retailers.
However, those of us who know Uttoxeter well, a historic market town with a unique character, can say with confidence that it has something particularly special and must be protected. This is why it must be preserved and enhanced to ensure it is there for future generations of residents and visitors to enjoy.
To support this effort, I produced my Uttoxeter Regeneration Survey to ask residents what they wanted to see improved about the town and changes they would suggest if given the opportunity. The survey, which went out to every household across the town, has had a phenomenal response with over 1,500 returned already with many more completing the questions online via my website.
I am currently analysing the results and collating all the information which residents included to provide a comprehensive overview of responses which I hope to share soon. I will also be using this data in my meetings with the leadership of East Staffordshire Borough Council and in their upcoming consultation on the Masterplan proposals put together by the Council.
In addition to this, I recently spoke in the House of Commons about the Government’s Levelling Up Fund which is designed to regenerate town centres, secure new infrastructure, and improve existing roads and community spaces. This would be an ideal pot of money for us to bid for to deliver on some of the improvements residents have called for and I will be pushing for the Council to put together a strong and positive case for Uttoxeter. I am grateful to all residents who took the time to respond to the survey. Now is the time, and the opportunity, to secure funding for improvements and new facilities for Uttoxeter.