It started as a public town crisis meeting to discuss the controversial question: Can Harleston Survive?
Nine months on from the gathering in the town’s Swan Hotel, in response to the closure of two of the town’s high street banks, the resultant Harleston’s Future and Town Team has come up with an action plan for a more prosperous future.
The Town Team is a mix of residents, community workers, councillors and local business owners. The new document’s stated aim is: ‘To ensure the continued prosperity and well-being of Harleston, for the benefit of local businesses, the local economy, residents and visitors.’
Paul Stephen, chairman of the Harleston’s Future and Town Team, said the town was actually in a good position, and the work of the group was simply to boost it still further. He said: “There is a very strong community spirit in Harleston. There are so many people willing to stop and help and we want to supplement what is already happening.”
Already the work of the group - which is split into four areas; events, marketing, funding and environment - has flipped into action with a pancake race event through the town on Tuesday. Further events planned include an Easter bonnets parade in conjunction with local schools, and a showpiece ‘antiques and village street market’, which will shut the main Thoroughfare high street, on June 15. As well as stalls to browse, there will also be early evening musical entertainment.
Mr Stephen said aspects of the plan were being implemented now, and has also been timed to coincide with South Norfolk Council’s Market Towns Initiative which will focus on growing the district’s market towns. The town council is also working closely with the group.
Better signage directing people into town off the A143 and Harleston tourism leaflets delivered to seasonal tourist sites, including Norwich and the east coast are also planned.
To view the document visit, www.facebook.com/HarlestonsFuture. The group is also looking for help with applications for funding bids. Call Mr Stephen, 07867 531817 if you can help.