Potton's Market Town Regeneration Fund initiatives
Market Square improvements
The Market Square is the historic, picturesque and vibrant heart of the town so a number of initiatives will have a big impact on the overall ambiance and aesthetic. These improvements will encourage a sustainable street culture, boost the evening economy and enhance the square’s prominence as the commercial and civic centre, they include:
- installation of 15 new planters around the square; these will be manufactured locally using sustainable materials and will be maintained by Potton Town Council. Seasonal plants will be used to provide colour all year round with an eye on reducing watering needs to save water and costs
- an architectural lighting installation will highlight notable buildings and frontages, enhancing their appearance and providing emotional impact after dark. Particularly at the entrances to the square
- the infrastructure for Christmas lights will also be enhanced to maintain this December tradition. Demountable lighting poles will be installed on the west side of the square where the properties are residential and are not suitable for attaching the lighting strings
Creation of approximately 60 new car parking spaces
Potton has a growing population to serve and, as a picturesque market town, it could be a popular destination for visitors. Currently a lack of parking space discourages shoppers, so this will be addressed sympathetically with an increase in parking close by the Market Square in Brook End but not affecting its architectural appeal.
Establishment of a chamber of commerce and business networks
This will be done in partnership with traders.
Promotion and advertising for heritage tourism
A trader’s section will be launched on the town council's website (link opens in new window), fully linked to each individual traders own social media and online presence. The library in the centre of town will also be able to provide this information in leaflet form.
An advertising campaign will encourage the residents of Potton to appreciate their facilities and make them aware of the town’s facilities and shops. This will be in the form of a welcome pack in the new housing developments and a reminder for those established houses.
While a Sandy Town Council initiative, The Story in Stone mosaic trail will route around the town and enhance awareness and understanding of the history of the Potton, starting and ending in the Market Square.
Improvement to cycle ways and new cycle racks
Better access for visitors to the town centre is required with sustainable and attractive cycle routes needed. We are engaged with the town council in jointly developing a cycle way which will start from the Market Square. Here the number of cycle racks will be increased to provide secure cycle parking for users of the trail and others. As the town grows we will work with the town council to ensure cycle friendly routes from the new developments lead to the square. The existing 20 mph zone is soon to be extended giving cyclists a greater sense of security and safety whilst on the roads.
The cycle way will connect the community through the countryside with the station at Sandy and the RSPB headquarters en route. It will, as part of the National Cycle Network, attract a whole new section of visitors. When completed eastwards, it is anticipated that it will connect to Cambridge, linking Bedford to Cambridge by traffic free, calmed and quiet roads.
Potton is only 15 miles from Cambridge City Centre – the closest town in Bedfordshire – so it is well-placed to attract visitors and commuters into the town from the UK’s fastest growing economic centre.
Potton has a long and colourful history stretching over millennia. First noted in Saxon times and subsequently in the Doomsday Book of 1066 fame. A fire which devastated large parts of the town in 1783 gave the opportunity for some Georgian buildings around the Market Square, which have survived to the current day.
New developments are bringing more housing, more residents and in the next few years, Potton’s population will grow by close to 15%. A vibrant town centre is needed to attract residents and visitors alike. Faced with competition from out-of-town shopping centres and the Internet, a thriving Market Square, with currently has a 100% commercial occupancy rate of largely independent businesses and supporting infrastructure is essential for this as is publicising what’s on offer.