Portas pilot win with Liskeard Town Team

I am delighted to be on the Town Team for my home town Liskeard in Cornwall who celebrated at the weekend with the news that we had won our bid to be one of the first Portas pilot towns. The Liskeard team is a mix of people from the community who have volunteered their time and their experience.  For my part, I have offered my experience in town centre design and regeneration and contributed to the strategy for connecting local communities to the town’s fabric and environment by encouraging novel ideas that work, and in helping the team filter ideas through workshops and wider discussion, avoiding where possible the dampening effects of over-formal bureaucracy.

Brainstorming and dialogue with local businesses and groups showed that our town has a quirky and slightly subversive undercurrent (in the arts, in the environment and business), that we want to harness.  Engaging with the community’s natural enthusiasm and creativity served to add fun, vitality and some ‘heat’ to our offer. Our proposal included the use of guerilla gardening, yarn-bombing, floral toilets (yes…) and the introduction of daytime and evening events to reinvigorate the town and encourage visitors. Business assistance, better systems for communicating community events, information for shoppers and opportunities for volunteering are also needed to help Liskeard get back on its feet. We are looking forward to developing our ideas with the Portas team and the Department of Communities and Local Government.

As an urban designer with experience in town centre regeneration, traffic and public realm projects across the country, I can provide cost effective advice to Town Teams, as well as to town and parish councils and urban authorities.  Please feel free to contact me for a discussion on how I can help.