Groups and organisations with an active interest and involvement in Leamington town centre have worked together to produce a ‘vision and strategy’ which includes ways in which the area could be improved.
The Leamington Town Centre Forum first met to discuss the strategy in the summer of 2016 and then several more times in the months that followed to put together a draft vision and strategy.
It reviewed evidence relating to the town centre, including some that was produced by the district council as it put together its Local Plan, and looked at previous strategies and identified six “big ideas” with the themes of a thriving town centre, a connected town centre, places and spaces to meet, revealing Leamington’s waterways, a hub for creativity and enhancing Old Town.
The forum has now published a document titled a Vision for Leamington Town Centre. It says: “Our vision is to build a welcoming town centre that celebrates its entrepreneurial past, embraces its cultural and creative present and looks forward to innovative future developments.
“A town centre where visitors and residents alike are offered a rich experience, whether working, shopping , eating and drinking or enjoying the town’s cultural and social activities.”
Chandos Street car park has ben listed by the forum as a “prime location” on which a mixture of retail, office, residential and car parking could be developed - an idea that has been mooted many times in the past.
It has also stated that “more needs to be done to integrate the northern and southern parts of the town centre by enhancing River Leam crossings and exploring where new ones can be provided” with the potential for a new footbridge between Spencer Yard and the Pump Room Gardens.
The creation of a “strong and attractive pedestrian and cycle corridor” between Leamington Station and the town centre has also been suggested.
More public spaces to host large events in the town centre are also needed according to the document.
The development of a “Creative Quarter” in Old Town and regenerating the areas along the Grand Union canal corridor are also part of the action plan.
The forum is made up of the following organisations: BID Leamington, The Leamington Society, the Leamington Chamber of Trade, Leamington Town Council, the Royal Priors Shopping Centre, Warwick University and its students union, commercial agents representative Wareing and Company, Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council officers and Warwickshire Police.
*** In November last year Warwick District Council announced it had appointed a development partner to regenerate part of Leamington town centre and Old Town around and south of the River Leam.
The regeneration programme will include the restoration of several key buildings and an overall refurbishment of the appearance of the area.
Complex Development Projects will work with the council to develop a masterplan for the ten-year initiative, identifying how best to grow the diverse range of vibrant creative industries largely around the undeveloped area.