COMMUNITY events, signage and vacant units were among items raised at a meeting which discussed the future of Malmesbury's town centre.

Business owners and town councillors gathered at Malmesbury Town Hall to think about different ways to improve the high street's offering.

The workshop was organised by Malmesbury Town Team and Malmesbury Town Council.

Retail consultant Graham Soult, well known for his expertise in revitalising high streets, led the session on Monday, February 19.  

He praised the town centre's offering and said Malmesbury had remarkable heritage, a great mix of independent businesses and a growing programme of events throughout the year.

The consultant then asked attendees - which included David and Karen Drake (Caerbladon), Chris Brooks (Brooks Independent Funeral Directors), Jenny Brady (Bertie B’s) and Amanda Wallis (Barn Owl Books).- to break out into small groups to brainstorm different ways the town could be improved. 

Participants came out with a range of ideas including more community events to increase footfall in the town centre, improving sign-posting to key locations and working with owners and landlords to speed up the process of reletting of vacant units.

They also stressed the importance of engaging with residents as well as tourists to support the longevity of Malmesbury's businesses.

Independent traders and business owners also mentioned that a business networking group would be beneficial.

Town mayor Gavin Grant said: “It is important that whatever the challenges we face as a town, we must work together so our high street continues to thrive. 

"We would encourage retailers and other local businesses to come together to meet regularly to build relationships, share ideas and create collaborations with each other and with other organisations including the town team, the town council and others.” 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Chair of Malmesbury Town Team Campbell RitchieChair of Malmesbury Town Team Campbell Ritchie (Image: Handout)

Chair of Malmesbury Town Team Campbell Ritchie said: "It is important to collect and pool our local information so that our retailers, businesses the town council and the town team can make the best decisions on how to promote our town to residents, neighbouring communities and further afield.  

“This will be a priority and we are encouraged by the willingness of all participants at the workshop, including Athelstan Museum, Malmesbury Abbey, the town council and businesses themselves to work together on this objective. 

"This meeting was an important next step in developing an increased sense of shared business purpose across the town.

"More activity will follow and we will actively support all the additional networking and collaboration that will result.”

Email to contribute an idea or be part of the high street networking group.