A town on the up – that was the message from town manager Chris West for councillors. Mr West said Herne Bay was enjoying notable retail successes, including the opening of independent shop Berries Cake-Away and the arrival of clothing chain Peacocks.
At a meeting of the town's area member panel last week he also reported that the Bay had one of Kent's lowest numbers of empty shops at 5.4 per cent. This is in stark contrast to Margate with 37 per cent. Peter Lee, councillor for West Bay, spoke about the recent departure of Currys from the town centre. He said:
"I understand that Currys moved out even earlier than their lease required as Peacocks were so eager to get in. I think that's encouraging for the town."
Herne Bay in Bloom was also on the agenda. Councillor for Heron, Ron Flaherty suggested that tall weeds being allowed to grow in the town detracted from the Herne Bay in Bloom effort. He said:
"What are the judges going to think when they turn up and see huge weeds all over the place."
Mr West responded by saying that weed spraying would take place before judging of the competition took place. Volunteers for the Big Clean in Herne Bay were thanked for their efforts. Many gave up their lunch to collect litter, pull out weeds and generally clean up the town. Mr West also outlined plans for a marketing campaign to promote the Bay as a tourist destination. He said:
"We've got a great opportunity, with the Turner in Margate people can be drawn to Herne Bay as well."
An advertising campaign involving train station billboards within an hour radius, bus adverts and social networking aims to encourage day trippers and tourists on longer breaks. It will start at the beginning of July and continue until mid August.
HB Times 23rd Jun 2011
Herne Bay Matters home page