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Henley’s nice however my job is to make it higher

HENLEY’S new city centre supervisor says she’s going to work to create the thriving city its companies and retailers need.

Laurie-Jane Cann began work final month and can be accountable for supporting and enhancing the city centre and its economic system by guaranteeing it’s a vibrant place for companies, residents and guests.

She says that taking the position felt like a privilege and she or he is happy to be a part of the way forward for Henley.

Mrs Cann, 47, mentioned: “My position can be understanding what I believe must be added to the city but it surely’s not my imaginative and prescient that’s going to be applied — it’s the group’s.

“It is going to be a collective imaginative and prescient for Henley. I’m simply right here to assist it take form.”

She has greater than a decade of expertise working in place administration and says she feels optimistic and able to assist the city get better after the coronavirus pandemic.

As a enterprise proprietor herself, she says she desires to spend time with retailers to know their challenges and desires.

Mrs Cann mentioned: “It’s a really tense time for retailers and I need to be on the market talking to them to know what’s going on. Ideally, I want to meet most of them in my first six months.

“I need to begin a ‘speak of the city’ occasion, which can be quarterly, the place enterprise house owners and retailers can meet and discuss points that concern them.

“It might be good to have councillors come alongside too. It’s an effective way to get folks in the identical room and hopefully talk about these issues.

“It might be a chance to return collectively, focus on any challenges and get their opinion, an area to discover new tasks they could have and what I can do to assist.

“I really like the truth that the enterprise group in Henley is so lively and that they share the nice and the dangerous issues with one another. This can be a approach for the council to be concerned in it too.”

Mrs Cann lives in Steventon, close to Abingdon, along with her husband Geoff, 49, who works as a paint sprayer for a automobile enterprise, and their two canines, and has a son, Charlie, 30.

She was born and raised in Oxford, the place she purchased a lease on a pub when she was 20 after which ran it for 4 years.

She ran a second pub in Wheatley and later labored as supervisor of the delinquent behaviour staff at Oxford Metropolis Council.

She was then centre supervisor for Oxford metropolis centre for 10 years, serving to to organise occasions, together with the town’s Christmas pageant.

She then turned chief government of Newbury Enterprise Enchancment District.

Simply earlier than the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, she arrange her personal enterprise, Pink Tiger Magnificence, a magnificence and indoor tanning salon in Abingdon, which she nonetheless owns. Mrs Cann mentioned: “I’ve been in place administration for greater than a decade and I took a few years to deal with my enterprise throughout the pandemic.

“I used to be completely happy to step again to do this and hopefully now we’ve handed the worst of it.

“Opening Pink Tiger Magnificence simply earlier than lockdown and working it by the pandemic was actually robust.

“If it wasn’t for the grants we obtained from the Authorities and, in my case, some sympathetic landlords, it wouldn’t have been achievable and I believe most enterprise house owners would agree with me on that.

“I set the enterprise up in February 2020 after which determined to focus solely on it in August after I realised issues had been severe and that all the pieces was not going to return to regular anytime quickly.

“It was one of many hardest issues I needed to do and I believe that companies which have made it by it actually have so much to be pleased with and have one thing particular about them.

“In my earlier roles I labored to make sure city and metropolis centres had been thriving and what would make buying and selling viable for them by way of accessibility and ensuring native authorities had been concerned in that.

“It was on an even bigger scale however similar to what I can be doing in Henley now.

“It might be silly to take up this position and say ‘that is what must occur’, when it’s essential to perceive the companies and the retailers first, so I’m wanting ahead to spending extra time attending to know them.”

Mrs Cann mentioned Henley ought to be pleased with its profitable unbiased retailers and of its store emptiness fee which is presently lower than 9 per cent, in contrast with the nationwide fee of just about 16 per cent.

Two bakeries, a takeaway restaurant, a wine store and a vacation residence lettings company have opened not too long ago or are within the technique of doing so.

The brand new openings imply that there are three retailers in Market Place promoting contemporary bread following the launch of the delicatessen Pavilion in December.

A wine bar known as Chin Chin Henley! is to open on the former Naughty Mutt Good store in Studying Street, which has been empty for the reason that canine grooming parlour moved to new premises in the identical avenue virtually a yr in the past and vacation residence lettings firm Hostsmart has taken over the previous Tiny Gallery in Hart Road.

Mrs Cann mentioned: “My job can be to boost what Henley already is. The emptiness fee right here is under the nationwide common and that makes Henley a main instance of a thriving excessive avenue.

“I really feel that in a task like this you want to have the ability to put totally different hats on. I want to work with my colleagues on an motion plan, which ought to cowl a minimum of 10 or 15 years into the longer term and be round in order that I can see that taking form, developed and delivered.”

Mrs Cann succeeded Craig Buckby, who resigned on the finish of February after 17 weeks in submit.

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