Louis Barker, Simon Prior, Nina Narramore, Amanda Prior, Sarah Cox and Jamie McGuffog with Jenny Groom. Picture: Ian Burt

“Friendly, pretty and quaint” but also “boring and dated” – some of the words used to describe Downham Market in a recent survey. 

A total of 401 people responded to the Opportunities Downham Market survey, part of plans to help shape the town, make it a better place to live and attract funding.

Its friendliness and a warm welcome made the town special, the survey revealed, and also its status as a market town.

The survey found food shopping, hospitality and personal care were the top reasons for visiting and  respondents said they would like to see a greater vibrancy and variety, including a better choice of retail outlets, an expanded, improved market, and more of a café culture.

The survey also asked for views on the use of the town hall. Improving career and business prospects were the key responses, wellbeing workshops and life skills training were other suggestions along with an internet café, bistro or specialist café.

Downham Mayor Jenny Groom said the feedback was “interesting and insightful”.

She said: “It’s really fantastic to learn people think that Downham Market is a friendly, welcoming town – and that is something that I certainly recognise. 

“But, we know too that there are things that could be made better, and there were some brilliant ideas and suggestions offered to do just that.” 

A new Opportunities Downham Market Partnership has now been launched, made up of representatives from the town and borough councils, local businesses and organisations.

The group aims to come up with plans, ideas and improvements to hopefully attract funding. It will also consider the survey feedback.

Cllr Groom said the partnership was an “important step forward for the town”.

“Through working together, the partnership will identify ideas and plans that could help us to bring investment and improvements. The partnership gives the town a real opportunity to make a difference,” she said.

She added the survey was just the start. “We want to continue hearing what matters to Downham Market residents so that any improvements can reflect local needs and wants.

“This is a really exciting time for Downham Market and we look forward to shaping a bright future for the town, not least as we emerge from Covid-19.”

A website www.opportunitiesdm.co.uk is set to launch next week with more information. 

What do you think? Send your letters to news@yourlocalpaper.co.uk