Councillor Jane Evison recently visited Driffield to meet with the business community and learn more about the impact of recent projects delivered in the town centre.
The portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism at the council met with Councillor Felicity Temple, Councillor Michael Lee, Councillor Matt Rogers, Paul Bell, head of economic development & communications and Claire Binnington, clerk to the Town council, to visit local businesses and discuss a range of initiatives that are supporting a resurgence of the town centre in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Local Growth team coordinated a walkabout that included visits to the Driffield & Wolds Food Bank, Rafters greengrocers, and Molly & Jean cafÃ©, in addition to recent arrivals to the high street, Roberto's gelato and coffee shop, Kinship. Local businesses have shown great commitment and ingenuity to adapt to the challenges of the last 18 months, supported by Driffield Town Council who have sought to maximise available funding opportunities to introduce new street furniture, a high street loyalty card and the appointment of a town centre officer.
In total, 14 organisations in Driffield have secured grants from the Council's 'Love Your High Street Fund' to secure premises, fund refurbishments or invest in high street initiatives. A combination of new businesses opening in the town centre and progress with long-awaited redevelopment works have helped to reduce the town centre vacancy rate to 10.6%, which is significantly below the Great Britain average.
Councillor Jane Evison, said: "I really welcomed the opportunity to meet with fellow councillors and business owners in Driffield recently to discuss and hear about the future aspirations for the town."
"The Town Council, local businesses and stakeholders should be commended for their commitment to work with East Riding of Yorkshire Council to maximise the funding opportunities to support the high street."
"The Local Growth team have completed recovery plans for other towns in the East Riding and we encourage stakeholders to work together to deliver the recommendations of their local report."
Claire Binnington, Driffield Town clerk, said: "Driffield Town Council are delighted with the impact of the Love Your High Street Funding, as not only has it funded our Discover Driffield Loyalty Card Scheme in partnership with the Driffield Town Centre Steering Group, but also part funded our newly recruited town centre officer. There is no better resource to ensure a vibrant and healthy high street than a person with time to devote to projects to help bring this about."
The walkabout also combined visits to the Umbrella Plaza installed during the summer, which has significantly increased use of the outdoor seating area, supported by regular weekly entertainment. Recent consultation with town centre users showed that over 90% of respondents were 'very happy' with the changes made in Market Place. The visit finished at North End Park to meet council officers to discuss an imminent consultation and the scope for improvements.
Claire Binnington added, "It is a beautiful park, donated to the children of Driffield of 1922 by local benefactor, Robert Holtby, and we are very happy to work with East Riding of Yorkshire Council to secure its place in the affections of the town and to see it evolve and adapt to provide more recreational activities and space for the people of Driffield."
For further information about the Love Your High Street Fund, please visit the website: https://loveyourhighstreet.co.uk/