Town Team seeks business backing

Bridge Street, Morpeth.'REF 0303158036
Bridge Street, Morpeth.'REF 0303158036

Businesses have been urged to add their weight to the Morpeth Town Team to help deliver a thriving local economy.

About 80 business and community representatives attended a meeting at Morpeth Town Hall last week to hear about the team’s work to date and its development plans for the future.

“We are all geared towards enhancing or maintaining Morpeth’s position as a modern, vibrant market town.”

Ken Brown Morpeth Town Team

The group was formed by Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade, Morpeth Town Council, the Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT), Sanderson Arcade and Inside Morpeth magazine after the town received £10,000 from the Government’s Portas Pilot scheme, which aimed to revitalise town centres.

Chamber spokesman John Beynon said: “We were all working for Morpeth doing different things, but didn’t seem to be working together so four or five years ago the chamber started working more with GMDT, and later the town council.

“At one stage there was a bit of mistrust between the organisations, but that has all gone now and we are all working very well together.

“Sanderson Arcade and Inside Morpeth came on board and as a result of the Portas scheme a formal partnership was made.”

Since then, the Town Team has organised events such as a world championship qualifying duathlon, food and drink festival and music in the Market Place, produced thousands of leaflets to promote the town across the region, carried out benchmarking surveys to analyse Morpeth’s economy, and taken over the running of the More In Morpeth website.

But it is keen to do even more and is putting together a five-year plan, which will include the roll-out of a loyalty card scheme, a bigger events programme and an empty shops initiative.

Town councillor Ken Brown said: “Morpeth has a very good town centre, but it can be better — that is why we are here. We know that the town isn’t perfect so we want to try to move it forward.

“Having spent the £10,000 Portas money, all of the partner organisations have made a financial contribution to the Town Team to create a budget so we can deliver a wide range of projects.

“We have a number of objectives. We, as a partnership, are committed to developing trading opportunities in the town, marketing Morpeth, and we want to use the town centre for more than shopping – to have events and recreational activities and so on.

“We are all geared towards enhancing or maintaining Morpeth’s position as a modern, vibrant market town.”

However, the team says it needs local business support if it is to succeed.

Inside Morpeth Editor Ian Leech said: “What we want to do is hear from you guys, from businesses. We haven’t got exclusive rights on this.

“We would love you to give us ideas for new events that nobody else is doing in the region and what we need to do to bring people into Morpeth.

“There is so much that can be done and the more people who are involved, the greater we can be. Morpeth is a fantastic town, but we can always make it better.”