HEXHAM business and community representatives met to discuss their vision for the town centre.

Hexham Town Council hosted the session – named ‘Unpacking Your Place’ - at Hexham Community Centre.

It was led by retail consultant Graham Soult, of CannyInsights.com, and attended by representatives from Northumberland County Council, Hexham Community Centre, West Northumberland Food Bank, Hexham Youth Initiative, Hexham Community Partnership, Churches Together, Hexham Civic Society, Hexham Business Group, Hexham Town Council along with business representatives.

Hexham town councillor and owner of Matthias Winter, Alison Smith, said: “Back in January I was reading about the excellent work Graham was doing for Durham Parish Council to reinvigorate Durham city centre.  This set me wondering whether he might be able to do something to help us here in Hexham.

“It was great to simply gather all these people together in one room, face to face and to be able to discuss issues openly. There was a real buzz in the room. There is so much positivity and goodwill in the town and by working together we have a real chance to bring about positive change.”

Graham said: “It was refreshing to spend the day sharing ideas and talking about what people who are passionate about Hexham can achieve by working together.

“Of course there are bigger challenges too – not least the former Beales and old bus station sites which blight the town and where progress appears painfully slow – but small positive interventions can start making a difference straight away.  It’s always better to keep championing and supporting the good stuff you do have – and hopefully attract more of it, rather than letting the lack of progress in other areas get you down.

“Focus on the sometimes small things that you can control, such as the potential for more town centre events to improve football and place brand – and that makes a measurable difference for the town, and the chances of spurring those bigger things into action are surely enhanced. It was interesting to see progress being made in Hexham’s High Street Heritage Action Zone on Priestpopple and Battle Hill.”

A report will now be prepared and made available to view by Hexham Town Council.