12:15PM, Wednesday 09 April 2014
Plans to make Maidenhead a more enticing place for resident and visitors were discussed at a Royal Borough meeting last night.
The leisure, culture and libraries overview and scrutiny panel discussed a variety of upcoming events and plans at the meeting, which took place at Maidenhead Town Hall.
Top of the agenda was the new Midnight Market, which will take place on July 12 from 6.30pm to 11.30pm.
The idea, by Jeff Lloyd, was the winner of the borough's Bright Idea competition and Jeff was at the meeting to discuss his vision.
He said there will be a range of stalls, live music, living statues and other features, all of which will be aimed at encouraging more late night shoppers to visit existing traders in the town centre.
Councillors suggested that – depending on the success of the event – the Midnight Market could become a more permanent feature in Maidenhead.
Head of leisure services Kevin Mist talked about the proposal to build a new school and community leisure facility at Furze Platt Senior School, which hopes to enter the first phase of its development in the summer.
In his report he mentioned the need for the current field to be drained in preparation for an all-weather pitch.
Chairman of the panel, Cllr Alan Mellins (Con, Cox Green) said he would recommend that the cabinet ‘press ahead’ and fully endorse the plans for the facility.
Margaret Lenton spoke about the range of activities going on for the Magna Carta celebrations, including a flotilla which will drift along the River Thames from Boulter’s Lock.
Town manager Steph James spoke briefly about ‘funky public art installations’ which will be intended to increase footfall through the town centre and also celebrate the history of town.
Public art was also on the agenda and Cllr Claire Stretton (Con, Boyn Hill) suggested that projections of public art be used to disguise vast areas of building work which will be going on around Maidenhead.
With regards to the proposed revamp of the Desborough Suite in Maidenhead Town Hall, Cllr Stretton highlighted that the money for the project – which is estimated to cost around £1.5m - will not come from taxpayers money.
The market research company DJS have been appointed to ensure the venue will fulfil certain requirements, and it is hoped a complete plan will be drawn up by the end of summer.
An 'entertainment gaps' survey will pinpoint the kinds of entertainment the improved venue will host to encourage more people in Maidenhead to get involved in the arts by offering a range of different kinds of entertainment.
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