Advances in technology, especially on-line retailing, are creating negative pressures on retail and social centres. These pressures have increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic and will have long term consequences on the way people shop and live their lives.
Brockenhurst is a successful New Forest rural service village with 3,500 inhabitants. It is also a year-round tourist destination and, at times during the summer, the population can double due to the number of people staying in nearby campsites. The village is also enjoyed by many day visitors who help support a thriving local economy based on tourism. The winter season is supported by several high-end hotels, which receive accolades nationally, and bed and breakfast businesses and by the 3,000 local college students who shop there daily. However, despite these benefits, the village is not immune to the pressures of change.
The Parish Council has therefore set up a Village Centre Strategy Working Party to create a brief to be sent to three consultants for tender, setting out the parameters of a project to enhance the village centre in order to ensure that Brockenhurst remains a place where local people and visitors want to live, work and play, with the emphasis on putting local people first. This brief sets out proposed actions to quantitively and qualitatively assess the current situation and plan the way forward, making due allowance for climate change, environmental issues and other threats.
Draft Brief - Village Centre Strategy Group