The Alton Society’s Committee has established the Sustainability, Greening and Environmental Group – known for brevity as the ‘Sustainability Group’ – to take a direct interest in these policy areas.  Its terms of reference have intentionally been set widely and the Group will choose specific areas on which to focus at any one time.

It acts as a formal sub-committee to the Alton Society’s main Committee which receive reports on a regular basis.  The Group also considers suggestions from the wider membership.

The Group currently comprises Bob Booker, Rod Eckles, David Simpkins, Simon Stoodley, James Willis, Charlotte Wigzel, Ginny Boxall and Martyn Dell – they are current or past Committee members, longstanding Alton Society members and a new member. All care passionately about our Town and the surrounding areas.

In 2016, under the leadership of Rod Eckles, it conducted the wide ranging Shaping Alton’s Future Survey Results survey which was completed by over 180 individuals in the Alton area.

The Group has recently determined that its major priority is to follow up on aspects of particular concern and, accordingly, will focus on town/High Street ‘vitality’.  Rather than act in isolation, it will actively collaborate with other individuals and organisations working in the same area.

Sustainability Group update by Martyn Dell – February 2017

The Group confirmed that town/High Street ‘vitality’ should be a main focus for work; it was clearly a matter of great concern to many residents in the survey. It was noted that the Alton Society had previously done considerable work on this and that currently many people within the town were taking a keen interest, often through social media.

This should be viewed positively, ‘talking Alton up’. It was vital that any actions taken should dovetail with others, particularly Julie McLatch, Business Development Manager, with whom Bob Booker and others met regularly.

Specific suggestions included –

  • Recognising that the town’s population is going to increase, to develop some kind of ‘welcome pack to Alton’ to residents in new developments. This could take the form of a targeted mail-shot which introduced the Alton Society as well as commending the town and area to recipients.
  • Holding a special ‘Backing Alton Day’ which would celebrate the qualities of the town.
  • Some work to be done on ‘what makes some businesses successful’; The Alton Society had done some earlier work involving interviews with many High Street businesses.
  • Recognising that the Mary Portas report on the future of the High Street published in 2011 was still very relevant.

The Group also discussed the ‘greening’ dimension of its brief. It has a close relationship with ‘Energy Alton’ with some overlap of membership. It was agreed that the issue of developing more solar panels on business buildings should be pursued in conjunction with “Energy Alton”.