HEDON TOWN COUNCIL has appealed to local businesses to help in improving the appearance and special character of the town, and enhance civic pride – particularly in the town centre.
As well as catering for local residents shopping needs, the town’s central thoroughfare, of St Augustine’s Gate, Market Place and Souttergate, is also a visitor attraction. Visitors find Hedon a charming place to visit: They come, and are pleased with the town’s unique charms; they also buy from the local shops; eat and drink locally, use and pay for local facilities.
And therein lies the issue: – Local businesses want to attract residents and visitors into their premises. By doing so they advertise their premises in ways that ‘stand out’ from the crowd. Over a period of time a series of bright, modern advertising logos and signs dominate a town centre – and it begins to look like any other town centre in the country! The ‘local’ charm and uniqueness is lost!
So how do we encourage a thriving commercial centre, whilst preserving a town’s unique character?
The Town Council is charged with preserving the Hedon Conservation Area (pdf) (although it is the East Riding Council that is responsible for implementing this). This is all about maintaining those parts of the town which are ‘special’, unique or of historical significance. This is not an easy task considering the points made above. However, conservation has its own unique selling points.
Our significance as a “market town” should not be underestimated with Wednesdays – the town’s market day – being the busiest of the week and attracting visitors from across the region. But neither should the town’s historic and architectural charm be undervalued either. A visit to Hedon is a step back in time with views of St Augustine’s Church – the 800 year old “King of Holderness” – dominating the skyline. The history of the place is discoverable at every turn – if only people knew where to look! This historic charm is apparent in the town’s buildings, streets and shops. Hedon is a unique place to live and visit! – Or at least perhaps that is how it could and should be!?
Hedon’s heritage, history and character is also one of its greatest unique selling points. If modern commercial development, advertising and practice work with this heritage, preserve and promote it – rather than unconsciously act against it – then the town, its residents, businesses and visitors will all surely win?
What do you think?