Shaftesbury is looking cleaner and more welcoming after council staff washed many of the town centre signs, ready for the main visitor season.
Some of the signs have gained an unsightly green coating during the winter, but Andy Dodd and Mike Wakeley soon removed the grime and got the signs gleaming again. “Some of them get worse than the others, especially if they are under trees. Those ones get sticky with sap,” Andy said.
Town councillors backed a request for this cleaning work from the Visitor Experience Advisory Committee. The VEAC group is made up of representatives of the musuems and the tourism sector in Shaftesbury. They advise the Town Council on ways to enhance Shaftesbury’s tourism offer.
Just minutes after the scrubbing started, passers by started praising the improved appearance of the signage. “As it is summer, we’re doing a real tidy up of the town,” Andy said. “We are making Shaftesbury look better for everyone. It is a tourist town so we are putting a bit of effort into it.”
The VEAC group has discussed the town centre signage in some detail. They are going to undertake a survey to find out whether there is additional information which could be offered on signs to help enhance visitors’ experience of Shaftesbury.
VEAC is also listing the signs that could be considered redundant or unnecessary clutter. Some locals have questioned the need to keep the road sign advising of a ‘new road layout’, as that sign has been on the High Street for years!
It’s hoped that locals can help locate a missing marker too. Councillor Tim Cook, who is also a member of the town’s Twinning Association, is looking for the Lindlar sign.
“Four or five years ago, the sign, which was on Park Walk, disappeared,” Tim says. The sign displayed the distance to Shaftesbury’s German twin town, around 670km away.
“The sign is a memory of the beginning of the town twinning, which started in 1981. We have just had our German visitors here. They had a wonderful time and we would love to get that sign back,” Tim added.
If the Lindlar sign can be reinstated, it’s hoped that Shaftesbury’s French twin town can also be featured. “We would like to find a way of funding a similar sign for Brionne so our two twin towns, that we have very good links with, can be signed from Park Walk,” Tim said.
That could mean a few more signs for the Town Council’s team staff to keep clean but Andy says he doesn’t mind. “I always take pride in what I do. This is a nice little town,” Andy said.