Category Archives: Wisbech Market
St Georges Day
Today was the first of our Town Council -organised festivals. This is the baby of the bunch, the family fun that is St. Georges day. The weather didn’t let us down and was gorgeous. The event went smoothly with no problems and the turnout, after a slow start, was really good. Lots of families had great fun and the “Live Dragon Hunt” proved as popular as last year. Whoever thought of that silly but hilarious game was a bright spark <ahem>.
Thanks must go to the team of Councillors and volunteers who organised, manned and delivered the whole thing. The Market Place was busy and the event popular and enjoyed. Not a single moan about any aspect of it so far, which must be a record! :)
We also used the opportunity to set up a public consultation booth for the Market Place Project, letting the public look at our ideas for the possible future of the Market Place and to suggest their own. There was a lot of interest, and while different people had different views on some of the individual aspects – we did not encounter a single person who said “no” to the over plan, direction and scheme. This is particularly of note for me because these people who came to the booth are the people who actually use the Market Place. Some work will have to be done before proceeding with any part of the plans to make sure the Market Traders aren’t negatively affected. All in all this project looks popular and innovative – well down to the team of Councillors and members of the public who helped put the ideas together.
I spent most of the morning as DJ. St George is an odd one since it is the Deputy Mayor who has the big role to play. That of The Dragon. Cllr Andew Lynn donned his St George outfit to lead a horde of childen and parents to hunt the dragon, beat it into submission with foam swords, and bring it back to the DJ booth to apologise for trying to eat sections of Wisbech. First they saved Medworth Ward. Then they saved Walsoken. Then those might children saved North Ward (aka Waterlees, but seldom) and the people of those fine areas could sleep soundly in their beds knowing they weren’t going to be a tasty snack for a hungry monster. All in all, a fine days work in Wisbech, the finest town on Earth ™.
Wisbech Town Council have been looking at plans to refresh, rejuvenate and renew Wisbech Market Place for the last six months. This is our vision:
- The first problem we wanted to resolve was that of poor or illegal parking. We propose to pedestrianise the majority of the Market Place using beautiful wrought metal gates to bar entry completely between10am and 4pm, however these times will be addressed as part of the consultation. Cars will be completely removed from the Market Place, including those of Market Traders (who will benefit from arranged parking elsewhere.) This will make the Market Place safer and look much more attractive. Although the High Street / Hill Street route will not be part of the pedestrianisation, it will feature bollards to prevent pavement and poor parking and the only parking allowed there will be disabled parking. There will be no reduction of the number of bays available for disabled use.
- We wanted to introduce an open, light and enjoyable atmosphere to the area and we propose to do this in a number of ways: generous planters positioned around the market surrounding stylised seating, delightful water features and a redesign of the layout to give an airy and continental feel that can be enjoyed by shoppers and pedestrians.
- We will also add a Tidal Clock, as a nod to our town’s historic nautical links and to the plans of designers years ago. This will be an attractive feature.
- At one end of the Market Place we hope to introduce a small Children’s Play Area, nothing too grand, but fun for the youngsters and a chance for a break for busy parents with children in tow.
- The statement piece of our proposed redesign is a high canopy which will cover nearly half of the Market Place. This will created a covered market where stall holders can trade without concern for bad weather, more comfortable and convenient for shoppers using their services.
The overall effect should be a car-free safe area, with a covered market and brightened by lush greenery, water features, a tidal clock and elegant seating. We hope it will look lovely.
This proposal has been the result of public consultation followed by a hard working task group of Councillors and members of the public. It has the support of the Wisbech Society, the Chamber of Commerce and the trustees of the Wisbech Museum.
Tha attached concepts (kindly provided by Peter Humphreys Associates) are now out for public consultation. We would welcome input and suggestions. You can make coments here, but there will be opportunities to meet and talk to councillors about the proposals – dates will be advertised.
- Market Place refurbishment image 1 (PDF, 1 Mb)
Draft proposals illustrated by Peter Humphrey Associates image 1
- Market Place refurbishment image 2 (PDF, 4 Mb)
Draft proposals illustrated by Peter Humphrey Associates image 2
- Market Place refurbishment image 3 (PDF, 1.2 Mb)
Draft proposals illustrated by Peter Humphrey Associates image 3
- Market Place refurbishment image 4 (PDF, 1.3 Mb)
Draft proposals illustrated by Peter Humphrey Associates image 4
A Coyote Comes To Town
Christmas Light Switch-On 2017
It has been a fantastic day, taken up by one of the big events of the Wisbech calendar, the Christmas Light Switch-on.
Up early to help set the event up, then off to “rehearsal” for the part I was going to play later. Back again to help as a steward. Then a quick visit to the Institute as the Mayor, to open the Christmas with Cricket show, featuring the comedian and the awesome and wonderful Nine Lives Theatre Company.
Back to being a steward again for a couple of hours before joining the lovely folk of the Walsoken church for Carol Singing in the Horsefair. At this point I was joined by my Wife and Spiderman (who was acting as my super-bodyguard for the day.) :)
Then I went to meet Bob Dalek (yes, he is a real Dalek) and get him safely into the festivities.
With the big “switch on” fast approaching I made my way to the stage, where I met the other volunteers who were playing a part in the little surprise we had planned.
My friend and colleague, Garry Tibbs, who was last year’s Mayor, had previously battled Darth Vader and I just felt like adding a bit of action was a traditional we shouldn’t end.
So it was that the stage was invaded by the Batman villains; Two Face, The Riddler and the Joker, all intent on preventing the lights from being turned on. I was joined by Gru (from Despicable Me) and Spiderman. Of course, there was a battle. I hope people enjoyed it (because it took hours of practice to choreograph the fairly short scene) and the Good Guys won. Lights Switched on. Job done. :) My sincere thanks to Dave Topgood (Spiderman), Cllr Andy Maul (Gru), James geddis (the Joker), the super-talented Giles Maythan (Two Face and the choreographer/director/stage combat expert), Annie Larkin (The tiny Riddler) and Michele Larkin who took my crazy idea and brought her fantastic team to make it happen.
After the show the Festivals Team have to pack everything away, and it was getting really cold by then, but we still got done in record time.
I think it went very well and was a great day. Thanks to all the usual people who are behind most of our festivals. Cllr Sam Hoy, the Oliver Family, the rest of the Town Councillors and staff, the Town Clerk, Tinfish, Nine Lives Theatre Company (who helped us plan and deliver the supervillain fun), the sound guys, the various acts that performed, Wisbech Lions, the Angles Theatre, Brenda and Tony Barber, and all the friends, volunteers, stewards and helpers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make days like this happen. It gets bigger and better every year.
The House Of Shadows
Town Centre Survey
Please take the time to fill in the survey concerning the Market Place and Town Centre in Wisbech.
Your responses are vital and will play a huge part in the changes and potential refurbishment and improvements to come.