Markets idea to fill Cinderford's trade gaps
Bold plans to ignite "real" regeneration in Cinderford are taking shape.
Feelers are being put out in the town in a bid to set up a community shops project to "fill the gaps".
It's being treated as a deliberate departure from the town's Asda debate, an increasingly bitter war of words brewing over the supermarket's plans for a store in Steam Mills Road.
Gail Richardson, one of those behind the community shops idea, said: "Whether Asda comes or not, we are unanimous in believing that Cinderford needs help. 'We want REAL Regeneration in Cinderford' is currently in the form of an open Facebook page, though the possibilities are endless. It aims to provide a forum for debate away from the Asda issue and bounce ideas, try to find solutions to the problems here and even create pressure groups.
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"The most popular idea for Cinderford is to run regular community-owned markets in the Triangle, including craft and seasonal ones, and there are also ideas blossoming for Parkend and Coleford.
"Community shops fill the gaps that other independent retailers leave, and are owned by local people via shareholding, therefore keeping mark-up costs down. There are funding schemes available, and we will also be approaching the Regeneration Board with regards to the project in Cinderford."
The Forest Community Shops Project will hold its first general meeting in the second half of January.
Councillor Graham Morgan, chairman of the Cinderford Regeneration Board, said: "I am absolutely in favour of that, it sounds like a fantastic idea.
"How the Regeneration Board can help I'm not so sure because there are very stringent rules on just what the money can be spent on.
"But the Triangle was put there with the idea of people running markets and things so I'm fully in favour of what they are planning."
Search for the group on Facebook to find out more.