OBSERVER: Looking for the positives in funding announcement


In these times of austerity I suppose we should be grateful that money is being made available to fund yet another ‘improvement’ of the Market Place – although the money is not coming from government but hopefully via the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In case I give the wrong impression I am not against the proposed plan which would encourage the conservation of the area by restoring ‘the most attractive aspects of some of our most historic town centre properties’. In other words helping shops to look like they used to, which I presume would mean in some cases reverting shop fronts to what they looked like originally.

Unfortunately, it might be that some of the current shops – especially those belonging to national chains, for example – might not be particularly keen to change their ‘corporate’ image and revert to their old style. Having said that, and in the spirit of not being negative, it is to be hoped that this proposed injection of money won’t go the way of other similar suggestions to improve the town which were subsequently not followed through.

I know it’s lottery money that is hoped to materialise but isn’t it strange that the town can always seem to attract money for things which don’t always appear ‘necessary’ but not get money for projects which actually improve the chances of the town becoming more vibrant - such as a bypass or, perish the thought, free parking.

As for the allied scheme – to improve signage in the town – again, I have nothing against that but do we not have enough signs about as it is? I mean it’s not exactly the case that we have too much to show after visitors have been in the Market Place and seen the Stump or visited the Guildhall, is it?

After all the negative publicity surrounding the Pilgrim Hospital over recent years how pleasing it is to see that, for the second year in a row, it has been named the best in the country for the way it treats patients with hip fractures. In addition it was top for best medical practice criteria in that area and also had one of the lowest times for patient stay. Congratulations to all concerned.