2020 – a New Year

A New Year and a time to reflect and look forward.

This is list of things the people of Hertford have wished for based on my role as Town Centre Manager from 2001 – 2010.

It is far from complete.

Nearly all of the following were the subject of a response to a survey I undertook during 2008 to 2009.

The survey was commissioned by East Herts Council and funded through the LABGI scheme – or Local Authority Business Growth Initiative.

This was a fund from national Government based on criteria which few understood and was an unknown sum which suddenly appeared in the Council’s accounts. That was how it was explained to me and I looked no further.

Other East Herts market towns were given a similar sum and a guidance as to how it was to be spent. This was a national event and councils up and down the country were able to use this windfall for all sorts of local initiatives.

My brief was to submit five proposals which were relatively inexpensive but provided the greatest environmental benefit. Initially I consulted everybody from local traders to cyclist organisations, residents to County Councillors, street traders to national organisations with a base in Hertford.

I will start with the first round of talks. Many of the following were mentioned by more than one person or organisation; but all I think, are self-explanatory. Some have been implemented, some not. I take no credit for either. It was not my remit to carry the recommendations any further. In no particular order:

  • shoe shop
  • baby shop
  • clothes shops for ladies of a certain age
  • improved signage around town centre and perimeter
  • information and interpretation boards for visitors
  • updated tourist maps and guides
  • control use of A boards for visually impaired people
  • bye-laws to control charity campaigners or ‘chuggers’
  • licensing buskers
  • regular ‘cleaner, greener, tidier Hertford’ campaign using community service
  • more litter bins and recycling pods in town centre
  • collecting and recycling cardboard waste from traders
  • bike sharing scheme
  • more public benches
  • more opportunities for public art and craft markets
  • small scale open air concerts in Parliament and Salisbury Squares
  • community toilet scheme with baby changing facilities
  • improved facilities for river traffic
  • finalise plans for the regeneration of Bircherley Green
  • open and improved toilets and waiting room for bus station
  • widen commercial and industrial town database for all businesses
  • Town Centre Traders organisation
  • Heritage trail

These were reduced to a final five which were:

  • More and improved signage
  • More information boards
  • A full and accessible town centre database
  • More strategically placed salt bins
  • More benches in public spaces

I would like to revisit this page in 2021 but I doubt if it will be any different. That makes me quite sad!

All my previous posts archived here:

By John Barber

John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. He had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder, a hitherto unsolved murder case from 1907.