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FEATHERSTONE MASTER PLAN

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Author Topic: FEATHERSTONE MASTER PLAN  (Read 5985 times)
yetion1
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2009, 08:41:42 pm »

3 years ago and only for 3 years WMDC launched a shop front grant improvement scheme. The grant offers 50% of the total cost of refurbishment. A great offer but still out of the reach of many businesses in Featherstone as they have not got even the 50%.
The Featherstone chamber of trade met with WMDC to discuss promoting the grant and to talk about any ideas. The first comment from the WMDC regeneration team was if there had been any interest from any businesses in the precinct? There had been very little as the repairs needed went beyond just shop fronts. It was agreed to contact all the businesses and inform them of the grant. This was done by holding a meeting with all concerned. The results were that the businessís wished to apply but the nature of the works needed went beyond just paint on a shop the front. The canopies and roofs are in major disrepair. Some shop owners had requested permission to fully remove them only to be told they must stay or battle away in court. Any cost spent on repairs was feared to be a waste of money as the roofs were walked on and vandalized daily due to the nature of the entire sites original bad design/ present day youths attitude to property.
 The results of this first meeting revealed a different approach was needed. Further talks were held with WMDC and the chamber of trade where it was decided that a plan should be created around the issues raised. WMDC offered that if all the people concerned could be brought together as 1 project then funding would be made available for restoration of the council owned area and for works on the canopies. Over the next 4 months a plan was created that addressed the problems front, top and back. This was put forward to the businesses who agreed to a selection of ideas and that they would all work together as one. It was also agreed that the chamber of trade would continue to work for FREE on their behalf to pull a project together.
Unfortunately then due to the closure of the Kwiksave and a company called DTZ (the master plan writers) for the next 10 months the possibility of the business being bought up by a supermarket hung over the precinct. The situation ended with the Kwiksave site being sold to a developer who did not wish to try and buy up as part of their plans.
Back on track a final plan was worked up by the chamber of trade. This was agreed by all involved apart from the costs. Even with a 50% grant the proposed costs were beyond some business reach. A further 4 months was spent seeking quotes and the possibility of FREE labour. A difficult task on its own made even more difficult as the brief was to use local resources where possible.
A final project was submitted summer 2008 that included

1.   8 business and 4 flats working together
2.   both canopies refurbished
3.   flat roofs converted to sloping
4.   sofits and fascia replacement
5.   8 shop fronts and 4 flats re-decorated and 1 re-opened and restored that is now shut including a community notice board
6.   ornate security rails to prevent roof trespass
7.   ornate hand rails
8.   various fenced bin storage
9.   graffiti removed and stained walls cleaned
10.   rear dusk to dawn lighting, Bt cables and YEDL cables made not an eye sore
11.   100% of work carried out by Featherstone trades men, 28% of materials found with in Featherstone
12.   a risk assessment and work plan for every stage of repairs although not requested
13.   some FREE voluntary labour
14.   WMDC to replace broken flag stones, corner stones and repair surfaces


You would have thought it would be plain sailing from there on. Up until December 2008 various documents repeatedly went a stray a number of times until the application was finally passed and the go ahead given that all was in place, complete and that works could start. A formal and official letter was received.
As the works involved various trades men and materials that would need to be ordered or booked a start date was given for the beginning of March 2009.
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