aboutDereham makes successful bid to Market Town Initiative

December 5, 2018

The aboutDereham Partnership has been awarded up to £4,900 from Breckland Council’s Market Towns Initiative for a study to improve the pedestrian signs in the town centre.

The group, formed in January, is an association of voluntary and community groups based in and near Dereham with a common aim of raising the profile of the town and informing visitors and residents of its many activities and attractions.

Cllrs Claussen and Webb with aboutDereham Chair, Mike Webb

Mike Webb, the chairman of the aboutDereham Partnership Board, said that the existing signs are out of date and that there are no signs at all to some key destinations.

“The science and art of wayfinding has moved on a long way since the existing signs were installed,” he said. “We want to welcome visitors to our town with bright, attractive and informative signs and maps that clearly show them the various attractions and amenities that exist.

“We already have a website, aboutdereham.org, listing attractions and events that are going on in Dereham – the town has a lot more to offer than people think. Next we plan to link our website to tourist information sites and encourage more visitors to the town.”

Cllr Paul Claussen, Breckland Executive Member for Place, commented: “I’m very pleased we are able to support this project. The scheme will consider pedestrian footfall in the town, the signposting in place, and how the image and identity of the town can be enhanced so it is a destination of choice for visitors.”

District Councillor Alison Webb, who is a ward member for Dereham, backed the application and said she was delighted that the group had secured the funding for the study. She said: “At last we can start to improve the town centre and attract more visitors. The shops, cafés and restaurants in Dereham need more people to visit the town, and this initiative, together with promotion in tourist information centres, will help the town to do this.”

The aboutDereham Partnership was formed in January 2018 in order to promote Dereham town and to support and promote the many community groups and clubs which are such an important part of our community life. At an early the stage, the group identified many issues that had been of concern to residents for some time. These included improvements needed in the town centre, issues to do with car parking and, a long-standing bugbear – the lack of adequate signs welcoming visitors in our town centre.

Spokesperson Ken Hawkins explains that community groups, including Dereham Walkers are Welcome and Dementia Friendly Dereham, had identified that pedestrian signs in the town were out of date in 2016.

The aboutDereham Partnership built on this base as well as work undertaken by the Friends of the Dereham Memorial Hall and submitted a bid to Breckland Council requesting funding to employ consultants to design a signage solution for the town. The group heard that their bid had been successful at the end of November.

The funding proposal that was submitted by the aboutDereham Partnership contained a detailed study of existing signs and locations without signs and also included background research in the future of retail which suggests that town centres need to provide more leisure experiences to attract visitors. It is part of a wider vision for the future of Dereham which the group hopes will bring together public, private and the voluntary sector all working toward one overarching plan.

You can contact the aboutDereham partnership by clicking here.