Friday market day in Downham earlier this year. Picture: Ian Burt

Businesses, residents and visitors are urged to have their say on the future of Downham Market as part of a major drive to revitalise the town.

An initial three-week consultation has been launched to gather general views and ideas about future uses of the historic town hall.

Under the umbrella of Opportunities Downham Market,  there will be consultation and engagement  to explore investment and potential improvement opportunities.

The aim is to tap into funding programmes and schemes to help boost the town such as the Welcome Back Fund, the Community Renewal Fund/UK Prosperity Fund and the Levelling-up Fund.

The major drive involves partners working together  including the town, borough and county councils, businesses, health representatives and young people.

Downham Mayor Jenny Groom, said: “I am delighted to say that we have been working in conjunction with the borough council and other partners to give the people and businesses of Downham Market a chance to have their say on the way Downham Market develops in the future, particularly in response to the impact of Covid.

 “It has been so refreshing to work with the borough council and we hope to come up with some great initiatives and ideas that will not only attract funding into the area, but will benefit Downham Market and its economy.”

A Downham Opportunities Partnership will be established to pull together plans for the future development of the town as a place to live, work, visit and invest.  

A borough council spokesman said the survey results will help develop a plan to address the long-term impacts of the pandemic, particularly the impact on the high street and town centre. 

A website will also be developed to allow for ongoing engagement.

The initial phase of consultation will be funded through the government’s Welcome Back Fund.  

In urging people to take part, Ms Groom said: “There are lots of opportunities to explore as we look for ways to encourage people back to the town centre, to capitalise on the opportunities presented by people who are now home-working rather than commuting and, of course, to develop our tourism offer as more people are likely to be holidaying in this country for a while. 

“We also have a fabulous, historic town hall, which is currently underused. We want to hear people’s ideas for how that valuable asset can be put to better use.” 

The survey closes at midnight on Friday, May 28. See www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QRVSQLS.