One of Britain’s leading town centre experts and a co-author of the Grimsey Review will be supporting a new Town Commission whose aim is to make Worksop a town that people want to go to. Matthew Hopkinson, co-founder of data advisory company Didobi and a co-author of the 2013 and 2018 Grimsey Reviews into Britain’s High Streets, has been working with Bassetlaw District Council on a new evidence based and community led approach to turning around Worksop and the Town Centre.
The new Worksop Town Commission will bring together businesses, employers, transport providers, landlords and retailers to work on a long-term strategy to increase Worksop’s retail, entertainment and experience offers and make it a town that people want to visit.
As part of this process, Bassetlaw District Council will be launching an innovative new online platform, allowing everyone from residents to community groups to access and analyse a vast array of data about Worksop which will help it plan and deliver services.
The Council Data Explorer from Emu Analytics will help the Town Commission set projects and priorities based on sound evidence as well as providing data that can be used to underpin funding bids and efforts to attract retailers, residents and businesses to Worksop.
One of the many challenges that Worksop faces is the impact of online retail and competing retail destinations which has resulted in the number of empty shops increasing and has created a need to repurpose these shops for alternative uses. Nationally, one in ten shops lie empty according to The Local Data Company, which equates to nearly 50,000 empty units.
Councillor Simon Greaves, Leader of Bassetlaw District Council said: “Worksop used to be a vibrant town and there is no doubt that it can be again. We have bought in one of Britain’s foremost town centre experts to shape and support our approach and we are committed to making Worksop a town that people want to go.
“This is a long-term project though, the issues we are dealing with haven’t happened overnight and there might be some hard choices ahead. But we have to recognise that the world has changed, that people want different things from their towns than they did 20 years ago.
“The Worksop Town Commission will use evidence and data to set priorities and drive projects. This will mean looking at things like removing surplus retail and seeing what else can be done with the space in order to make the town more vibrant, attractive and a place people want to visit.”
Matthew Hopkinson of Co-Founder of Didobi said: “Every town across the country is undergoing fundamental changes and Worksop is no different. Each town has its own challenges and is therefore unique. The Worksop Town Commission will leverage the knowledge from the Grimsey Reviews of 2013 and 2018 as well as other leading research and best practice where leadership, vision, having an evidence base(data) and community engagement are the critical ingredients for success.
“Repurposing Worksop will be one of the greatest challenges that Worksop has faced as a community for decades and I call upon everyone to do their bit and support the Worksop Town Commission who will be working hard in support of Worksop and its people. Commission members have been drawn from all key areas of the town — economic, social and environmental. They will work closely with community and business groups to listen, learn and execute the change that is required to make Worksop a town that it deserves to be — a vibrant community hub for all of its people.”