Task force unveiled to spearhead Cheltenham’s economic recovery
An Economic Recovery Task Force has been formed to spearhead Cheltenham’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic – and its challenges became apparent immediately.
Bringing together senior leaders from across the public, private, charity and voluntary sectors its aim is “to help drive forward the town’s economic recovery”.
It met for the first time yesterday (September 9), shortly after which the landscape was changing again, underlining the challenges ahead for everyone, as the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, introduced the nation to a new ‘rule of six’ on gatherings and dreams of a ‘moonshot’ testing plan.
None of which affects the general thrust of the Cheltenham task force - to seek to support the continued safe reopening of the town and use of public spaces in line with government advice.
And the Task Force will also be looking forward, “recognising the need for a bold and brave approach to help secure the future vitality and the wider economic growth of the town” and will be ready to pounce on funding opportunities.
“The future of our high streets and town centres is a fundamental challenge facing our towns and cities. It requires a similarly bold response with strong local leadership and partnership working - which is exactly what the Cheltenham Economic Recovery Task Force provides,” said Diane Savory OBE, chair of The Task Force and also of GFirst LEP, who was also recently appointed to the national High Streets Task Force and ministerial-chaired Economic Recovery Workgroup (MHCLG).
Cllr Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “The vital importance of Cheltenham’s town centre as a driver of economic recovery was strongly recognised throughout our recovery strategy, which we published in July.
“With this kind of shared commitment and partnership approach, I’m confident that Cheltenham will be ready – and will emerge stronger for the benefit of both our economy and our community.”
Nigel Jobson, Director of Cheltenham-based social media platform Maybe*, one of the 10 companies that form part of the Government’s High Streets Task Force, said: “The importance of digital communication in supporting the future of Cheltenham town centre could not be more important.
“Only 35 per cent of businesses with the Cheltenham Local Authority area have social media accounts and of those only 35 per cent of these are active on a daily basis.
“By comparison half of the planet, or 3.6bn people, use social media for three hrs per day. Our data shows that those businesses that master digital communication trade better.
“Upskilling businesses and encouraging them to become more active on social media has proven to deliver increased engagement, footfall and sales.”
Task Force meetings will take place on a six-week cycle, with summarised notes prepared and published via Cheltenham Borough Council.
Representation on the Task Force
Diane Savory OBE (Chair) GFirst LEP
Steve Jordan CBC Leader
Gareth Edmundson CBC CEX
Tracey Crews CBC Director of Planning
Nigel Moore / Patrick Molyneux GCC Cabinet
Dorian Wragg Bruton Knowles
Darren Stevens Prestbury Marketing
Nigel Jobson Maybe
Antonia Shield BPE Solicitors LLP
Joe Roberts Robert Limbrick Architects
Madeline Howard Cygenta/Young people
Nicola Inchbald Cheltine
Ian George Cheltenham Festivals / Cheltenham Culture Board
Tim Atkins Golden Valley Development/CBC
TBC Voluntary/community partnerships