High Wycombe’s business leaders continue work ‘behind the scenes’ to implement ‘recovery linked projects’ and ensure a positive return to normal for the town.
Following recent government announcements, High Wycombe is excitedly looking ahead to a return to ‘normal’. Whilst there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel for us all, we have been working continuously throughout this latest lockdown ‘behind the scenes’, implementing ‘recovery linked projects’, developing engaging new hub facilities and preparing the town adeptly to embrace a positive future.
Coupling with the government’s ‘Future High Street Fund’ investment, of which High Wycombe is scheduled to be a recipient in 2021, we have put into effect a number of affirmative plans, not only to encourage a growth in visitors, but also increase dwell time & spend within the town.
Visitors to the town centre will now have the opportunity to be more connected than ever, with a FREE Wifi service which has now officially launched – simply click on the ‘HIGH WYCOMBE Free Wifi’ network, register through facebook or by completing a quick registration form and you’ll have google at your fingertips! This addition will not only enable visitors to sign up to the latest town centre news if they want to but will also allow for greater access to the NEW High Wycombe website – www.mywycombe.com promoting the town’s heritage, news and upcoming events – soon to be unveiled at the end of March.
With social-distancing rules due to be relaxed over the coming months, the tentative planning of heritage-linked activities and the return of Town Centre Events has also begun, with the scheduled visit of some popular groups, including the Vegan Market returning Sunday 6th June – details to be released soon!
New shops and businesses are also on the horizon, including the recently opened Rubik’s Café, whilst renovations at Nos. 2-3 High Street, to house the 4-floor public house ‘The Wheatsheaf’, have begun in earnest. Scheduled to open in September, the vibrant new venue will feature a cocktail bar on the ground floor and community spaces above. The building regeneration work has
been made possible thanks to the Buckinghamshire Historic Buildings Trust, with additional grant funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund, and has resulted in the unveiling of numerous architectural treasures, including secret doorways and long-standing waddle and daub partitions, which are testament to the age of the site, with some elements dating back as far as 1399.
The ex-Argos high street unit is set for a makeover as it becomes a temporary Jobcentre, providing a facility for some of the additional 13,500 DWP Work Coaches (nationally) to help support & deliver the full range of Jobcentre services needed for those impacted by Covid19. Town centre hub, Eden Shopping Centre, will also soon be welcoming some additional stores.
Our Chief Executive, Melanie Williams, is confident that the future looks bright for the town, “There’s no denying that Covid will have a long-lasting effect, but we’re committed to looking ahead and enacting positive change for the future of High Wycombe. The town & retailers showed true resilience after the first lockdown in 2020 – we saw a fantastic bounce back in visitor numbers – and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the same in 2021. The lifting of lockdown also presents the town with a great opportunity, to continue engaging with the local community. Since 2019 we have seen an 11% increase in direct local spend against traditional spend in London and other neighbouring towns, and we’re delighted that people are embracing our core message of shop & support local.”
Melanie also commented, “It’s been an incredibly tough year for everyone but as an organisation, HWBIDCo has been working tirelessly to put plans in place for the next few months, and we look forward to sharing more exciting developments & projects with the community soon.”
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