A HIGH-level meeting aimed at boosting Wetherby’s visitor numbers has been hailed a resounding success.
A delegation of three town dignitaries met government minister Mike Penning yesterday to discuss key ways of improving trade.
The trio – made up of Mayor of Wetherby, Coun Cindy Bentley, Deputy Mayor of Wetherby and Leeds City Councillor Alan Lamb and chairman of Wetherby Business Association Rosemary Nicholson – met with junior Transport Minister Mr Penning in the House of Commons to address issues they feel are having a detrimental impact on the town’s trade.
The group called for the reinstatement of the brown tourist signs on the A1 to direct people into the town and for Wetherby Services to be renamed because they believe it takes trade away from the town. The suggested new name is Deighton Bar Services.
Coun Alan Lamb said: “The meeting with the transport minister was really positive and constructive - we’ve got excellent news.
“Mr Penning had clearly been very well briefed and done his research because really understood the Wetherby situation. He took it very seriously.
“There is a big national review of signage on our roads at the moment but Mr Penning felt he didn’t need to wait for that review to end before he made a decision about the Wetherby situation. The government had been in contact with Leeds City Council about it.
“The minister gave us a very strong commitment that he will personally be involved in trying to resolve the signposting issue.
“We are now very hopeful that something will be done in the coming weeks to resolve the situation.
“I am extremely happy about the outcome of the meeting because I made a personal commitment a few years ago to make sure Wetherby got its brown signs back because I believe very strongly that having them taken away has had a detrimental impact on our town - local people and traders have told me they think the same.
“Mr Penning also gave us a commitment that he will look at changing the name of Wetherby Services. We strongly pressed that we want the name changed to Deighton Bar Services. He seems very supportive and sympathetic to this.”
Local MPs Alec Shelbrooke and Nigel Adams – whose constituency the services is in – are going to write a letter to Mr Penning outlining the case for changing the name of the services.
Mr Penning told the delegation he needed to investigate the legalities of a name change before any final decision is made.
Coun Lamb said that a full announcement on the outcome of the meeting would be made at Tuesday’s Wetherby Town Council meeting.
The Wetherby News will cover this in next Friday’s newspaper.