Town Centre Praised at AGM

ROYSTON First held its first annual general meeting last week (Thursday), and was praised for its development throughout its first year.

The company, which is geared towards forming a Business Improvement District (BID) in Royston, drew praise for improvements in the vitality of the town centre, after an audit was recently carried out.

Royston First Chairman John Gourd, of Johnson Matthey, said: “The recent operational audit provides us with an independent view of the company’s progress.

“It highlighted the excellent delivery against the timetabled projects and the progress made against those scheduled for subsequent years.

Two specific elements of Royston First’s work were singled out by the audit, with Mr Gourd saying: “The work done to improve the look and vitality of the town centre was praised.

“We should be proud that there has been a marked improvement in the number of previously empty shops now occupied, and that there are an encouraging number of on-going negotiations relating to the remaining empty units.”

“The audit rightly praised Project Artemis, which is the provision of extra police presence in the whole town, including the industrial areas.”

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Work on the Royston BID began in 2007 and Royston First was formed in 2009 to spearhead it

It is now in a “strong position” to deliver its future targets, according to Mr Gourd.

Mr Gourd praised the individual work by individuals and bodies in over the first year of Royston First, by saying: “None of this would be possible without an extraordinary amount of hard work and support.

“Key to the success of the first 17 months, and the year of preparation beforehand, has been Geraint Burnell’s exceptional dedication to the role of Town Manager.

“We have been nobly supported by a large number of people and organisations – principally the Advisory Council, Royston Town Council, North Herts District Council, our MP Oliver Heald, the local press and Johnson Matthey, who have allowed me to continue as Chairman for the remainder of this financial year.”