7:20pm Wednesday 22nd February 2012
A group of passionate Hatfield folk took up Cllr Lynne Sparks' invitation last night, to help with an entry into the £1million 'Portas Pilot' competition to improve flagging town centres. Lynne, with support from Cllr Dean Archer,was greatly encouraged by the resolve and imagination of the attendees who had come to suggest ways that the Market could be much improved. The ideas came thick and fast with particular emphasis on the existing market being moved to White Lion Square.
The group included Town Council Clerk, Carrie Lloyd, Cllrs Mick and Linda Clark, shopkeepers, a market stall holder, a market manager,two University film students and, impressively, three Year 9 Bishops Hatfield Girls School pupils. The girls, accompanied by their teacher, Ms Ruffhead, had already made a study of the town centre and had plenty to say about how to improve matters. The group reached general agreement that the area could do with a lick of paint and benefit by having many more varied stalls - including hot 'international' cusine - and the provision of lively entertainment to draw the crowds and entice students, tourists and the community alike. The group thought that stallholders should also be given incentives to come to Hatfield for a suggested three month trial period.
And, today, Melissa Tanti and Leigh Nichols began filming backdrops for their film that will accompany Hatfield's bid for the Mary Portas cash prizes.
Lynne Sparks told the group that she believed getting people together to suggest their ideas will help stimulate interest in upgrading the market whether they are one of the lucky twelve towns to receive cash or not. "It is a very worthwhile thing we are doing here, win, lose or draw" she said.
Tomorrow night Borough Council leader John Dean and Rupert Wood of town centre developer St.Modwens will be meeting another group to discuss progress of the redevelopment.
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