At the heart of Dunmow

PUBLISHED: 13:52 13 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:31 20 February 2013

Entrance to car park

Entrance to car park

With a £133,000 facelift for Dunmow's town centre set to be completed within the coming weeks, Jo Jarvis learns what's in store for shoppers and tourists

GREAT DUNMOWS charming town centre is set for an historic transformation within the next few weeks. After 20 years of residents and councillors envisaging a regenerated town square, the dream is close to becoming a reality as four months of construction work nears completion giving the town a 133,000 facelift.

Time had taken its toll on parts of the town centre with areas suffering from poor road surfaces, broken fences and cycle racks and unsightly steel security barriers. But, by the end of August you will discover a transformed space providing a welcoming meeting point for shoppers and tourists.

After 20 years of envisaging a new town square, the dream is close to becoming a reality

Once the work has been completed there will be a permanent closure of White Street to vehicles from the High Street. Bollards will allow pedestrian access and composite stone paving with granite setts will define the roadway, which is at the same level as the rest of the square. In addition, The Boars Heads fence will be replaced and additional fencing will be erected to prevent access to the rear of the public toilets.

The town council will also be installing five metal benches as well as planters to make the area more attractive and useable. Installing an electricity supply in the square is also part of the scheme and it is hoped that this will enable the town to have a Christmas tree for the first time.
These improvements, which are being carried out by Taylor Wimpey and the town councils contractors Brooks and Wood, have been paid for by a series of grants worth 88,000 and a 45,000 loan from the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) and the latest redevelopment of the town centre is in addition to the construction of new homes and the library.

Revitalising this part of the town, which is now in the ownership of Dunmow Town Council, will give the whole of Dunmow a lift and there is now a strong emphasis on ensuring that the area becomes the heart of the town.

Caroline Fuller, Dunmows town clerk, explained: It is believed that this scheme will bring significant environmental and community gain to the town. It was previously somewhere for people to drive through to get to the car park. There were recycling bins, an entrance to a pub and the backs of some shops, but the redevelopment will smarten up the area and it would be wonderful if it could become a catalyst for future improvements and regeneration in the town.

The full potential of this area has not yet been realised, but this will make it look better and make it more user friendly and I would like to see more people choosing to use the space and staying there in the future.

Another area for opportunity is a derelict building in the town centre owned by the Co-op which Caroline would like to see redeveloped so it is brought into the square.

It would be nice if the Co-op building could open as a cafe or Tourist Information Centre, she adds. Dunmow is famous for a number of events including the Flitch Trials and its annual carnival which this year is due to be held on September 18. A Tourist Information Centre in the new town square could help to promote these events and draw more people into the town

Dunmow is a vibrant market town with so much to offer. I have only been here a few months and something that has struck me is the vast range of activities, clubs and organisations here. Theres a lot of people working in the town for the community and I hope this continues.
Wendy Barron, Dunmows town mayor, hopes that these developments will enable the town square to host the weekly market. The market is currently held in the Market Square, but in the future I would like to see it held in the square, Wendy explained. The work that is being carried out will make a big improvement and I hope it will bring more people in to the town. Dunmow has a lot to offer and I hope people appreciate what is being done to improve the local environment.

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