Ron Simpson: Plenty to keep you busy in Uppingham

eyebrook walk EMN-150216-105521001
eyebrook walk EMN-150216-105521001

Once again, close working in partnership has the potential to reap great economic and social benefit for the community.

The town’s democratic forums and their working groups have all had their first meetings of the year and a lot is being planned for 2015.

At the May AGMs of both Business and Neighbourhood Forums, residents and local businesses will be able to have their first view of an artist’s impressions of a re-modelled centre of Uppingham. The intention is to set everyone thinking about what changes they would and would not like to see in the town centre. The impressions will be part of a visioning exercise being conducted by the Task Group working on the Uppingham Town Centre and Business Zone Plan. This follows on from the publications ‘Uppingham 2025’ and the ‘Uppingham Neighbourhood Plan’. The Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis MP took a great interest in the new plan during his recent visit to the town. The work of the Task Group will be informed by a number of resident, trader and visitor surveys currently under preparation. Some significant and exciting possible changes are up for debate. The outcomes will be shared with town and county councils.

On Wednesday, March 4, Uppingham Town Council will debate whether they are willing to fund a six-month trial of an Uppingham Hopper Bus. Rutland County Council has agreed to pay the cost of providing a minibus. Following a long-standing campaign by Uppingham Town Councillor Christine Edwards, it is the Town Mayor’s aspiration that the Town Council funds the operating costs of the trial period if community partnership Uppingham First (UF) is willing to act as the commercial operator. The whole venture is required to be non-profit making. UF will consider the outcome of the Town Council debate at their board meeting on March 12. Once again, close working in partnership has the potential to reap great economic and social benefit for the community. Given the significance of the issue, particularly for the elderly of the town, it is hoped to record the debate for later public transmission.

Following Town Council support for a new art gallery attached to the nearly completed café at the Welland Vale Nursery, plans are in place to create a new arts/crafts gallery trail with supporting literature, linking established galleries in the town to the new site. The aim is to attract more visitors into the town centre and encourage them to explore the extraordinary range of antiques, art and craft skills now on display in Uppingham. It is also hoped to link the Glaston Road site visually to the town centre using the outputs of the Uppingham Webcam.

The new ‘Women in the High Street’ network has some excellent plans to boost footfall in the town centre this year with a fashion show planned soon at Sycamore Harley-Davidson. Did you know that a huge number of women visit the dealership just to look at their clothes? The group has also announced it is to organise a summer event called ‘The Big Shop’ in Uppingham which will be widely marketed around the region. The day will feature women-owned businesses, offer skill demonstrations and tours, provide crèche facilities to allow parents to shop unhindered and offer many other attractions. Significantly, if shoppers put their signed receipts from participating shops and businesses into the Big Shop Tub, £500 of expenditure will be reimbursed on the day via a public draw. Sounds to me like a day to be in town!

Fancy some exercise? Nothing too strenuous? Want to mix that with offering to help those less fortunate than yourself? Why not put the morning of Sunday, March 8, in your diary to complete the 2015 Eyebrook Walk. Accompanied children and pets are welcome. Organised by the Rotary Club of Uppingham in aid of LOROS and other Rotary charities, this event is now a well-established part of the county diary. Call 01572 822568 to register.

There is certainly plenty to do in and around Uppingham.