Following Hart District Council’s decision to remove the temporary pedestrianisation scheme, the Fleet Business Improvement District calls for all organisations and the wider community to come together to create and deliver a shared vision for regeneration of our town that meets the needs of the local community and enables businesses to thrive.
Hart District Council have announced their decision to remove the temporary pedestrianisation of part of Fleet Road.
The temporary pedestrianisation of Fleet Road was implemented by Hart District Council to allow more shoppers to maintain social distancing and support economic recovery. As the Business Improvement District we know that more people are now shopping online and fewer people visited Fleet in August than before lockdown.
We had reservations about the scheme, particularly the speed with which it was announced and the lack of detail which would show the opportunity this presents for Fleet. In July and August we spoke to businesses in favour and against the scheme and decided to organise COVID safe activities and events to support the economic recovery of the town by encouraging people to come back into Fleet to enjoy the activities and support businesses. Feedback on these events has been overwhelmingly positive and the events have brought people into the town so that business had the opportunity to benefit from the increase in footfall. We have encouraged businesses to get involved and we know that businesses have benefited from these events.
With the country heading into a second lockdown and an uncertain period ahead, focusing on the economic recovery of the town is now more important than ever. Town centres are no longer shopping destinations and we believe that brave decisions need to be made and something needs to change or Fleet will continue to decline. For Fleet to thrive it needs to adapt and become a place that people want to visit and spend time, which in turn benefits shops and businesses. Towns need a broad mix of businesses including retail, cafes and restaurants, health, beauty, wellbeing, entertainment and leisure as well as events and activities to give people a reason to visit.
Fleet Road temporary pedestrianisation was an opportunity to trial something different and we hope this will be a catalyst for all organisations and the wider community to come together to create and deliver a shared vision and regeneration of our town that meets the needs of the local community and enables businesses to thrive.
As the BID we are starting a series of High Street Solutions events. The first is on 12th November and we hope that you will use this opportunity to meet with other local businesses, to share your experiences and ideas to create a vision to ensure Fleet becomes the heart of our community and provides the right environment for businesses to prosper.