Economic development is key to the future prosperity of Alton. Whether you're an existing business or are looking to set up in Alton, we are here to help you. We work closely with all of the other authorities to ensure that your business can thrive - from Hampshire County Council who deal with the roads and pavements, to East Hampshire District Council which deals with the planning applications and most of the town car parks.
The Town Council hosts Open Forums twice a year, the last one being in the Assembly Rooms on 5th October 2017. Julie McLatch, the town’s Business Development Manager, talked about the work in the town over the past year and plans for the future. Julie’s Business Development role is jointly funded by Alton Town Council and East Hampshire District Council, and a focus for this year has been promoting Alton as a visitor destination. Julie was joined by Jim Smith, a director at Shopper Anonymous, who talked about the power of a positive visitor experience.
The plans for the next year include a Retail Improvement Grant Scheme which will tackle shop appearance and customer experience. For more information please contact Julie by email, telephone or by coming into the Town Hall. Click on the link to obtain the explanatory notes, terms and conditions and application form
Press release prior to the Forum:
It’s been a busy year for the team at the Town Hall, and a year into her role Julie McLatch is relishing the challenges to come: “I lived in Alton for 20 years and arriving back as plans were being put in place for the 200th anniversary celebrations for Jane Austen was an opportunity to encourage more visitors into the town to learn of our rich heritage.”
Achievements this year include:
– JA200 events including an art trail across the north of the county which resulted in increased footfall through the town. Over 16,000 people downloaded the Trail App to their phones and over 1200 paper maps were handed out in Alton alone;
– Increased liaison with journalists and television and radio crews resulting in greater coverage for the town;
– Improved signage at bus stops, and providing temporary car and coach parking for tourists;
– Information events about funding opportunities for local businesses, attended by over 60 interested businesses;
– An apprenticeship event resulting in local students being employed in two local businesses, with other companies expressing an interest in the scheme;
– Working with the office of Damian Hinds MP regarding the New Directions Fair – which was hosted by Alton College and attended by over 300 people;
– Formation of a “Town Team” to help fulfil the economic objectives of the town’s Neighbourhood Plan.
Councillor Glynis Watts, EHDC cabinet member and portfolio holder for tourism and economic development commented “it has been a pleasure to welcome Julie to the team. Her focus on tourism for the year has benefited Alton – and more people have been aware of the programme through the publicity and communications that EHDC commissioned and which Julie has been involved in.”
Plans for the next year include facilitating the improvement of the visual appearance of the high street. The Town Council has already invested into this programme with increased summer planting and Christmas lighting, removal of street clutter and an extensive street cleaning initiative. Councillor Dean-Paul Phillips, Alton’s Town Mayor and Chairman of the Town Council said “Julie’s contribution in this first year has been considerable and to increase awareness of the Council’s projects she has added to the award-winning communications programme with additional social media channels, weekly programmes on Wey Valley Radio and regular presentations to local interest groups.”