Thursday, 1 March 2012

Lighting Up Whitton

Whitton’s high street will soon be lit up by new retro-style lamp columns now that the biggest phase of the Council’s Uplift programme is swinging into action.

Around £200,000 will be spent replacing all 32 lamp columns with 1930s-style columns that will use energy efficient lighting and which will be able to host banners, hanging baskets and festive lighting displays. Work has just begun and is due to be completed by the end of March. An improvement project for shop fronts on the High Street has also just started.

Whitton ward Councillor Gareth Elliott said: "The new lamp columns represent the start of Richmond Council's uplift and regeneration strategy in Whitton. I am very happy that Whitton is being prioritised by this administration unlike the previous Liberal Democrats who were happy to allow our town to fall into ruin. We have listened to our residents and over the next couple of years we will see more improvements to Whitton including upgrading the frontages of the most unsightly shop."

The project is funded through money secured by the Council from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund and from the Council’s own Uplift budget. The decision to replace street lights and improve shop fronts was taken after more than 1,000 local people said in the Council’s All in One survey that supporting business, shopping in the High Street and improving the condition of the pavements was important to them.

Cllr Chris Harrison, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene, said: “We’ve listened to what people in Whitton overwhelmingly said was important to them. By replacing the older street lights in favour of new ones, we hope to create a better atmosphere in the street. Together with the improvements to the shop fronts, it should lead to the High Street becoming a more enjoyable place to shop for residents, which means better trade for the businesses themselves.

“The All in One gave us a strong idea of what people actually wanted for Whitton, and where we can, we’re acting on what they said. We have this great body of evidence which shows what people believe are the priorities, so the more we can deliver, the better.”

The All in One results showed respondents felt more was needed to be done to encourage shoppers, including making the high street more attractive and improvements to parking, public transport and feelings of safety around Whitton High Street.
The new street lights are based upon a 1930s design, which are intended to assist in recreating the original look of the High Street of Whitton.

As well as replacing lamp columns and improving shop fronts, the Council will also use the Outer London Fund to support minor improvements for other small businesses in the High Street.

New high quality signage will be introduced to replace damaged signs to direct people around the town centre and into car parks.

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