Council plans to improve Thame

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IMPROVED shop fronts and a bigger food festival are all part of a renewed plan by the district council to boost Thame.

The South Oxfordshire market towns action plan has been updated to bring new ideas together with ongoing projects, as the council continues to work with Henley Partnership, 21st Century Thame and the Wallingford Partnership, as well as the three respective town councils and various local groups, to help strengthen the local economy and bring more people to the towns.

The action plan is designed to support the council’s objectives of supporting economic growth, creating vibrant market towns, and promoting business growth and job creation; and endorses the vision for the three towns outlined in the 2009 distinctiveness reports.

Actions in the plan are divided between generic projects that will benefit all three market towns and those tailored for individual towns, and are separated in terms of the contribution they will make to the area through retail and tourism, culture and events, infrastructure, or marketing.

Among the actions identified to boost all towns in the district are: organising events to encourage business involvement and joint tourism work in the towns, producing information sheets to encourage inward investment, and supporting locally-led initiatives to help promote towns in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.

In Thame the town centre will see a number of shops improve their appearance thanks to the introduction of the shop front grant scheme, while the town’s annual food festival is set to become a commercial venture. Thame’s partnership, 21st Century Thame, will also continue to improve the town’s online offering as well as working to bring more facilities and equipment to the town to support events and promotion.

To see the complete list of actions for South Oxfordshire’s market towns go to http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/business/economic-development/towns.

Cllr Judith Nimmo-Smith, cabinet member for Economic Development in South Oxfordshire, said: “We pride ourselves on our vibrant market towns and have enjoyed some fantastic success in recent years to help bring more people in and boost the local economy. We will continue to work with the partnerships and groups in Henley, Thame and Wallingford to ensure they continue to be places that people want to visit and live in.