Destination Management Plan: Developing a Common Vision for Wells
The challenges facing coastal communities today in maintaining their identities, their communities and their economies have been recognised at the highest level and Government has put in place funding and appointed a Minister to oversee a process of community-led regeneration.
At the heart of this national process is the belief that each coastal community should build a team that has a deep understanding of what makes the place tick and, in February 2015, the Government announced a programme of Coastal Community Teams. Wells Coastal Communities Team (WCCT) was formed in October 2015 by a group of local residents and business owners, following an approach to the Wells Business Forum by NNDC. Each team has been tasked with developing a common vision and plans for their area.
WCCT commissioned a consultant, Helen Mitchell, to prepare research for a Destination Management Plan, which is the official name for a community-led plan of this type. Her research included a survey of residents’ and visitors’ opinions in the summer of 2017. She has delivered an extraordinary document, full of observations and ideas, packed with research, organised with insight into the ways to implement it and offering great hope. The report can sound a bit abrupt in places, but this is the essential nature of an objective report. It is re-produced in full as an attachment here, together with a summary of the findings of the survey.
To develop a common vision for Wells, we are going to need everyone’s help and, in order for it to work, it needs to be something that the whole community is happy with. We are now in the process of setting up the working parties that will be required to make sure that we are able to include thoughts and ideas from the whole community. This will identify the unique assets of the town; agree what are the good bits that we need to protect; what are the threats; what are the opportunities. It will seek to understand the needs of all our residents and businesses and endeavour to create opportunities for each and every one. It will recognise that we need the income and the employment that tourism brings and will devise ways to bring together into a single vision the provision for residents, businesses and visitors alike.