NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ACTION: SIGNAGE AND WAY FINDING
A new project to bring more visitors to Halesworth to enjoy the many great things we have to offer and encourage them to spend more in the shops and cafes is an aim of the Town Council. The Connectivity Report commissioned from We Made That has given us many ideas which we will work on over the next few years but one of their suggestions is about to become reality. The Neighbourhood Plan gives the town council the following action - Halesworth Town Council, with partner organisations in the People and Places action group, to take a lead on setting up a design team, including professional input where necessary, to scope, propose and implement improvements to the signage and wayfinding for Halesworth. Consultation with businesses and residents will be essential.
After the meeting held on the 13th September...
Peter McGrail, from Streetwise the signage design company, spent a week in town from the 12 September. He was spotted by many walking around with his notebook! He addressed the public meeting in St Mary's and did a workshop with the Stakeholder Group, made up of people from key organisations and businesses in Halesworth. Members of the Steering Group met him several times. This all helped him to get an understand the town and what it has to offer visitors. He has sent us a Preliminary Thoughts report and the Steering Group will be meeting on zoom in a few weeks time to hear more as to where his thoughts are taking him in terms of design of signs and possible locations. Some of his general thoughts are below:
High on the list of factors in the decision to visit a destination, and on how much we will enjoy it when there, is the ambience of the town. Is there a pleasing environment and atmosphere in the town centre? I believe Halesworth does offer what a lot of visitors are looking for. I was able to experience a good buzz from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. This stemmed from the pavement side cafes and people going in and out of the shops. There is a reasonable level of animation, people bumping into those they know, and it feels friendly and inviting, I saw smiles on many faces. I observed those who were more likely to be visitors, based on how they were looking around and taking in the scenes before them, they were clearly enjoying their experience.
Having considered all of the things the town has to offer and thinking whether Halesworth can compete in attracting visitors his conclusion was Halesworth does offer a number of good reasons for visitors to come to the Town and that it can be justified in having ambitions to attract and satisfy more. The significance of this to a wayfinding system is to ensure that when the visitor arrives, for whatever reason they came, we do our best to make them aware of all the key things that they could enjoy in the town
When grants to support economic activity in town centres became available we applied for money to design a wayfinding strategy - information boards, maps, finger posts. We successfully obtained a grant to fund a professional survey and consultation. In June 2022, a steering group made up of people from Halesworth Town Council, East Suffolk Council, Halesworth Tourism Group, the Museum and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, interviewed three signage companies. Streetwise was then appointed. You might be interested in their view of what good wayfinding can do in the article below.