A LONG-RUNNING campaign to get Wetherby ‘back on the map’ has been victorious.
The Wetherby News Signpost out town campaign was launched more than three years ago to push for brown tourist signs to be reinstated.
It was officially announced that the signs will be back in a matter of weeks at Wetherby Town Council on Tuesday.
The campaign success has been met with joy with business owners hoping it will bring more trade back into the town.
Deputy Mayor of Wetherby, Coun Alan Lamb, who made the announcement, told the Wetherby News: “In the current climate it is very difficult to attract new trade here, but I think it is important to let people know what a lovely town Wetherby is.”
The Wetherby News launched the Signpost our town campaign in 2008 after growing concerns over a decrease in trade following major changes to access into Wetherby from the A1.
The signs were given the go-ahead by the government at a meeting organised by Wetherby MP Alec Shelbrooke in Westminster, attended by Coun Lamb, Mayor of Wetherby Cindy Bentley and chairman of Wetherby Business Association Rosemary Nicholson.
The trio also called for the Wetherby Services to be renamed because they believe the name takes away trade from the town. The suggested new name is Deighton Bar Services.
Mrs Nicholson said: “This is a major success for us, and will have a positive impact on our local economy.
“I think since the signs have been taken down it has had a massive impact on the loss of business in Wetherby. Currently there are no visual signs and I feel the town has lost its impetus as a result.”
Wetherby Mayor Cindy Bentley said it was a victory for the town but urged there was work to still be done.
“This is a huge step in the right direction for us. It won’t solve all of Wetherby’s problems but it will help us out a lot. People currently see the Wetherby service station sign and no other signs and don’t even see Wetherby signposted on the roads, so who can blame them for not stopping here?”
The signs, which will read Historic Market Town of Wetherby are expected to be placed on the A1(M) motorway in both directions.
Wetherby MP Alec Shelbrooke said: “Getting the brown signs back for Wetherby is great news. We put a strong argument to the minister.”
Coun Alan Lamb added: “I and several others have worked extremely hard to get these signs back over the last few months.
“I didn’t realise what a challenge it would be at first and I am thrilled we have done this, we will have to fund the money for the signs ourselves locally, but it is not really about the money.
“I personally would rather come into Wetherby town centre for a cup of tea, where we have free parking and a great range of independent shops, than head elsewhere.”